It's been a while since my last blog post, mainly because I've been waiting for something powerful to share. However, lately my days have been filled with meetings and various administrative tasks, and I realize that nobody wants to read about budgets, organizational policy, or growth strategies. However, I'm incredibly excited to share what God has placed on my heart today. I hope it encourages, and convicts all who read it. I apologize, as this is a little longer than normal. Thank you, in advance, for caring enough to read it:
Yesterday, I was sitting on top of the mission team house in Costa Rica. It was a beautiful day, and I found myself closing my eyes to feel the combination of warm sunshine and cool breeze on my face. As I opened my eyes, I found myself gazing across the San Jose valley. I was struck by the natural beauty of God's creation, and also saddened by the presence of so much pain and death. I began to pray and ask God to stir my heart and renew my passion for Him and His work through me.
I had spent the past week living out the gospel at break-neck speed, long days and late nights; but somehow the hustle and bustle was transformed into a scared calm. I found myself alone in the presence of God, and as I continued to pray and recall the events of this past week, a flood of emotion overwhelmed me. This was a strange and rare experience for me, as I've always worked hard to keep my emotions in check, but there was no fighting or holding it back. I could feel His presence, and I'm confident I heard Him speaking directly to my heart. "I love you perfectly just as you are, can you love me where I have you?" It's hard to explain, but it was like a comforting rebuke, as only God can do. A perfect love, accompanied with perfect truth.
Please allow me to explain what led me to this place. As I mentioned before, this past week I was serving on a short-term mission project in Costa Rica. My son's youth group sent a mission team, and I volunteered to serve as an adult leader. It was such an incredible joy to witness God moving in and through my son, as well as the rest of the mission team.
For me, personally, this past week was truly life changing. To have the opportunity to get back into the trenches, roll-up my sleeves, and get my hands dirty for Jesus! It was so exciting to be part of such a fruitful week. For example our very first day we had the opportunity to deliver food, and pray for little Jose Antonio! He is truly a walking miracle of God. He is also a powerful reminder that God still heals and works miracles through the prayers of His people! What an awesome encouragement to see how God can use the prayers of frail and broken people.
On Friday, I was able to eat lunch with many of my homeless friends at the feeding center. Though I haven't seen some of them for months, we still had a bond and friendship. We encouraged one another as we broke bread together. One of the men named Tony was excited to tell me how God was changing him in some very powerful ways. He went on to explain that he had been sober for fifteen months, and was no longer living on the streets. He is back home and once again living with his family.
On Saturday, we joined a group of people to hike through the wilderness to a small mountain steam to celebrate baptisms. I couldn't help but to think that this may have been similar to the way it was for John the Baptist. It was an amazing experience to have the privilege to baptize these people.
On Sunday, we attended the thriving local church plant. We had the privilege to teach the children's Sunday school classes. It was awesome to witness the packed out services, authentic worship, and awesome message. After church we conducted the final day of the children's VBS, where God brought twenty-three children into His family. It was fantastic to watch these little ones come forward and pray to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. Not to mention the countless opportunities God gave through out the week to love and pray for the local people. Now, I realize how much I've missed it...and that is part of the problem.
Viewing this past week, it's not surprising that this past year has been a difficult transition for me. However, it's not what you may suspect. It's really not the challenge of moving my family back into the American culture. It's not the stress of championing the children's ranch project, or the challenge of establishing an administrative headquarters in the United States. It's not my family's struggling personal support, or the challenges of defining and transitioning into my new role and function within 6:8 Ministries. It's the lack of exciting and tangible ministry.
I think the true challenge is that at this time last year, I spent most of my day walking the streets of Alajuelita, and living out the gospel of Jesus Christ in exciting and tangible ways. My days were filled with loving and serving people trapped in hopeless despair. I had the privilege to try and combat injustice, and empower and free those enslaved by poverty. Days filled leading mission teams, visiting feeding centers, praying for the sick, building church plants, and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. I awoke most days with an excitement expecting and anticipating God to use me in powerful ways.
Now it feels as though my days are filled with boring administrative tasks. Most days it feels as though I've gone from the miraculous to the mundane. I've gone from praying with prostitutes to pushing pencils, from casting out demons to clearing desktops. I once was praying for God to heal the sick, and I almost expected to witness yet another miraculous healing! Now it feels that I'm praying for traffic patterns, and shorter lines at the bank. Lately it's been hard to find the excitement in what God is doing through me.
Intellectually, I understand that God is still working through me to strengthen and expand His kingdom here on earth. I'm absolutely positive that He has called me to lead and steward 6:8 Ministries, and He continues to grow and strengthen His ministry in powerful ways! It is a humbling honor and privilege that He would allow me to be a part of His ministry, let alone lead it. I seriously know at least a dozen men who are smarter, wiser, more talented, more experienced, and much more compassionate. Yet, for some reason He has called me to lead! This is a mystery that I don't think I'll ever truly understand the mystery of His call.
Furthermore, I understand that my role and functions are incredibly important, and aren't any less valuable than what I was doing before the transition. Actually, it's quite the opposite. In many ways I can recognize that my current function is critical to the life and health of the ministry. I know very well that without vision and leadership the ministry will suffer and become less effective.
Therefore, the problem must be something else, and I believe God revealed it to me this morning. It's my selfish pride that has made this transition so difficult. It's embarrassing and humbling to recognize it as sin. You see rather than being content where God has me, I want to experience the excitement of hands-on ministry. I want that adrenaline rush of having Him working miracles through me. My sinful pride longs for more than God's presence and call. It's not enough to administrate, facilitate, and equip others to lead, selfishly I want to experience it myself. Sadly, I've come to realize that my motives have not entirely pure. I find my heart's motives being challenged, and I long for my pride to be consumed in a Holy fire. God's word warns about doing the right thing with the wrong motives. Even our best deeds will be judged and our motives tested. Today, God has exposed the prideful motives of my sinful heart.
However, I feel that it's the beginning of the journey of renewing of my heart. I long for him to continue to refine and purify my heart and my motives. Even as I write this, I'm recalling and tearing-up thinking about our time together on the rooftop this morning. He is so good, so loving, and so patient. I'm excited and encouraged to return home, and serve Him in the mundane as if it were the miraculous! I have a renewed passion, and want to be full of excitement and zeal regardless of the task He gives me or location He calls me to serve.
So will you help me? Please pray for me as I continue to make this transition. I want to be equally excited to conduct meetings, cast vision, pour over budgets, and negotiate contracts. Please pray that everything I do, I would do unto the Lord with a supernatural passion and zeal. Please pray that God would continue to speak to me and provide wisdom, vision, and direction as I steward His ministry. Finally, pray that my trust and confidence in Him would continue to grow. That He would continue to provide for our family, and build our personal support. That He would unite and prompt His people to support and invest in what He is doing through our family and 6:8 Ministries.
Humbled and Excited by Him,