Thursday, July 9, 2009
Pastor's Perspective - Just One Promise
Fifteen years ago God called me into the full-time ministry.
For the first thirty years of my existence, I had no idea what the Lord wanted me to do with my life; but the summer of 1994 He made it abundantly clear. I remember the first few days after the calling. I was filled with relief and excitement yes, but also with some fear and anxiety.
For the hundreds who have heard my testimony over the years, I share that Michelle and I were newlyweds, only six months married. We had just bought our little “dream house”, had good jobs, lived close to family and friends, were extremely active in our home church, and were excited to start a family. Then one day, like any other day, God made an unanticipated, strong and sudden impression in me that set me on this white-knuckle ride of faith.
As mentioned, there were many fears and anxieties initially, like telling and leaving our family and friends (ie. ‘going public’), quitting our jobs, selling our house, college tuition and living expenses, and the toll this new chapter would have on a brand-new marriage.
One day while reading my Bible, I read something Jesus shared - a promise - “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29). I remember being seized by that verse, unable to read on. Following God’s voice for us meant giving up ever single one of those things! Taking my open Bible to Michelle, I read it to her and said, “We either believe what Jesus promised here or we don’t. And if we don’t, we shouldn’t go into the full-time ministry.” My beautiful bride shook her head in agreement, and our adventure of releasing and expecting began.
I share this with you my readers, not to paint myself as some spiritual superhero. I am far from that. Though I’m a pastor, I’m a man who faces challenges and struggles like everyone else. The reason I shared a chapter of my story with you is because of something I have tested repeatedly and have found to be true - Jesus never fails! He made good on every single one of those things we surrendered to follow Him. By far the hardest part was parting with our family. Listen, the family we said goodbye to venturing into the unknown, God over the years has multiplied a hundred-fold all around the planet! How about that dream house we put on the market? God has literally given us houses and other supernatural housing opportunities since saying “yes” to Him! Everything we put in His hand, came back – multiplied and way better than anything we initially gave Him.
So what am I saying?
Friends, Matthew 19:29 is just one small verse of promise in the Bible, among thousands of such promises! Take it from me, His Word is strong and reliable. You can trust Him. He will not and cannot let you fall. Jesus never fails!
So when it comes to life, the choice is ultimately ours, ‘Will we stand on the promises, or sit on the premises?’ One is boring and fruitless, but the other is an adventure of a lifetime!