Monday, April 24, 2017

But I Wanted It

As I've said before, I'm looking for a new place to do youth ministry. Job searching in itself can be a full time task. Unfortunately, no one is paying me to look for a job.

And when you haven't had to find a job in 15 years, the whole experience can feel brand new. And nerve-wracking. And quiet. So very, very quiet.

I may spend a few hours here and there sending out my resumes and writing cover letters. But the churches I'm sending my information to have their own timeline. And sometimes that timeline does not involve acknowledging my presence. Which is fine, especially if one of the churches I've applied to is reading this right now.

I understand those looking for youth pastors will have their own agenda and their own timeline. But it leaves me sitting here with a deafening quiet around me.

I am choosing to walk by faith through these days, picturing God working behind the scenes (always behind the scenes) and holding His voice very still, until He is ready to reveal to me His master plan.

Ultimately, I choose to see Him as a good Father in this situation. The truth is that I have heard from a few churches that they are going in a different direction. Since all I had invested was a few emails, it was easy to keep looking elsewhere.

But there was one place where I visited and thought it might end up being the next place for my family. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted it to be the place. But it's not the place.

But I wanted it. 

From my perspective, it would have been a good fit. The staff, the people, the location, the set-up. All of it would have worked, at least in my opinion. But it's not the place...even if I wanted it to be.

Life is like this sometimes. We have our opinions about what would be good for us, but like any parent knows, God has a wider perspective. The child may want ice cream late at night, but a wise parent knows that won't be good for the child.

Perhaps, in this situation, we can even say that this might be a time where God has something better for me. It can be hard for us, as mortals, to see life this way, especially when our sight is so limited. But this is where we lift our eyes towards Heaven, and trust in the One who can see all.

So what are you after right now? Have you been waiting a long time? Are you wondering why God's voice has been fairly quiet?

You're not alone. And I don't mean me. I mean God. He hasn't left you alone.

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. ~Deuteronomy 31:6

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Sunday and the Smell that Wasn't Gas

Warnings were given. Then warnings were ignored. I was even among those who shared the warning. Then I promptly ignored my own warning. 

Yes, I know how that sounds.

I was in my office, while children from our church's childcare, played happily downstairs. Then a teacher suggested that the weird smell coming from parts of the building might be a gas leak. 

A phone call to the gas company and an escorting of the children out of the building, I went back to my office. After all, it was Friday and Sunday was on the way. As I attempted to jump back into my task list, I had the operator's words running through my head. 

Wait outside the building for one of our technicians. 

I imagined the technician showing up and scolding me for waiting inside the building. 

Him: Why are you inside the building?
Me: Well, I have this to-do list.
Him: You smelled gas?
Me: Yes, but it's Easter Sunday this weekend and I'm not ready yet.

At that point I imagined him making exploding noises with his mouth. So I took a few things outside and worked there until he showed up. Because....you know... I couldn't finish my task list if the building exploded with me in it. 

And I did need to finish that task list. 

It got me pondering how much I live out what I say I believe. After all, I believed there was at least a possibility of a gas leak. Otherwise, I wouldn't have called. And shouldn't my beliefs determine my actions?

As a pastor, on the weekend of Easter, shouldn't I be modeling a belief-turns-into-action kind of lifestyle? If I don't practice at least a small amount of common sense over a minor inconvenience, how can anyone possibly expect me to shape my entire life around a belief that the God of the universe came to Earth, lived, died and rose again? 

The reality is that many people don't actually expect Christians to live their life based on these beliefs in the miraculous. And why? Because Christians don't tend to live their lives based on said beliefs. 

So maybe it was a small step of growth for me. I did leave the building. The smell wasn't gas, but feel free to guess what it might have been. I returned to the building and finished my task list. I was ready for Easter Sunday. More importantly, I am ready for my actions to reflect what I believe. 

Are you?