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This is how it all began...

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by MojoTurbo, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. MojoTurbo

    MojoTurbo New Member

    Feb 2, 2011
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    So let me catch some people up …. For the past four years my wife and I have worked side by side at the same church. For over 10 years my wife has been the youth pastor and I late started my seminary internship there and slowly worked my way up to Assistant Pastor. We loved working together, having the opportunities to share ideas, and overlapping our ministry duties. Being a creative team has been one of the greatest joys of our lives.

    We had been married at that church, we had both been ordained there, and we had only a year ago had our first child dedicated there. We loved that church.

    And then, way back in September of 2009 (which now seems so long ago), I was let go as the Assistant Pastor. It was an amiable separation and I still believe it was the best thing for the growth of that community. I was told my position was being removed and that at the time, my church could no longer afford a full time Assistant Pastor. And they told me that they would not be hiring any assistants in the near future.

    2009 had been a difficult year for our church. It was our first year with an interim senior pastor. We were trying to rally the body together. Loose ends were being drawn shut and to top it off we were desperately trying to draw up a more modern constitution. By September, the search team had found a fantastic candidate and as they headed in this bright new direction, my church and I had to part ways.

    In the months that followed, I was sure I could land some sort of menial retail job. You know, “grunt work” just to pass the days and earn a paycheck. I had skills, I had a degree, I was sure I was going to be way over qualified for anything that I was going to pursue. It’s been my experience that someone is always hiring, you just have to suck it up and apply yourself.

    So before long I had applied to all of the old standards…

    □ Target (2 different locations)

    □ Barnes and Noble (3 different locations)

    □ USPS

    □ UPS

    □ Costco

    □ Toys R Us

    □ Best Buy

    □ Henry’s Grocery Store

    □ Citrus College (as a janitor)

    □ and Disneyland

    But as Christmas was drawing closer; nobody hired me…. and nobody called.

    I had called a friend of mine who was a manager at a local market and asked if he was hiring through the winter and he explained that because of the economy, he didn’t know any local retailers that were hiring this season. I hadn’t expected that answer. People in Southern California don’t usually hear the word “freeze” in the middle of winter.

    So there I stood, on my balcony, staring out into the street with the first feelings of fear beginning to sweep over me.

    …and doubt

    …and inadequacy

    With only one salary coming in, my wife and I decided to unload our house as fast as we could. Our goal was to get out of debt and to begin living on less. By selling our house, we were hoping to at least break even, but most indicators told us we would be upside down because of the recent market. In the weeks that followed we had a steady stream of lookers with only a few offers. But miraculously by the end of December we were able to sell our house – and to our joy – it appraised for more than we were initially asking.

    Around this same time my wife began to feel the need to be with me and support me. Our church had a new pastor and a new direction and it just didn’t feel the same with so many changes. Don’t get me wrong – this was the best thing for the church – we supported all of the decisions and we backed the new pastor 100%, but it was no longer the best thing for us. So, during the greatest economic downturn of my lifetime, my wife left her position as Youth Pastor to join me in solidarity and prayer for what might lie ahead of us both.

    So here we were; a young married couple with a two year old boy… both unemployed and homeless.

    Right before our house had sold, a huge blessing allowed us to move all of our possessions into storage. We told ourselves that we were going to be “on vacation” for a while, so we packed accordingly and we were invited to live with my wife’s mother who had a spare room. And we expected that the weeks to come would be spent on the phone with potential search teams and extensive traveling as we considered possible churches and a new future.

    Seven months later – we are still without a home and still without a calling; and our old church has hired not just one, but two assistant pastors. And by the way, “No” it turns out pastors don’t qualify for unemployment. In fact anyone who works for a non-profit doesn’t qualify, even if you have paid into it in the past.

    Just so you have a time line, the same week that we moved was the week of the Haiti earthquake. So while the whole world was talking about displacement, being uprooted and chaos… to us our world looked exactly the same way.

    We have spent the last three months sleeping on an air mattress and sitting on a sofa and waiting… and no, not always patiently, not always trusting, not always confident something was just around the corner. Believe me I wish I could tell you that I have been a pillar of strength. Traditionally the father has always been the chopper of trees and the killer of wild beasts, he made his money by the sweat on his brow and the till of the land, but I was spending my weeks and months in my pajamas emailing churches across the United States. Somehow what I called “work” didn’t feel as rewarding. And as each friend has said, “I know God has a plan for you.” (with that Jeremiah 29:11 smile) I have secretly wondered if God’s plan was vastly different than the one I had.

    I have always wanted to be a good husband and a good father above and before anything else. And lately that’s not how I have been feeling; instead of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, I only see more tunnel and more uncertainty. Yes, I know God has a plan for me, he has plans for us all. But let’s not forget Israel wandered for 40 years, Jonah spent 3 days in the stomach of a whale, A nation was burned and taken from their homes to Babylon and for three hundred years the word of God was silent while everyone waited for a savior.

    I guess what I am saying is, I never wanted to learn “the plan,” because the plan doesn’t matter. I don’t need all the answers. Doubt happens, questions arrive and from time to time we all worry even if we’re not supposed to – that’s just life.

    But what I want to learn through this is patience – Patience to wait out the storm, the darkness, the wandering and the silence. The bible is full of lessons in patience. Even good ol Jeremiah 29:11 comes after verse 10 which says, This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.”

    In other words, “Yea there is a terrific plan for you…. It’s just not for a while… can you hang tight and be obedient in the mean time?” I guess that paraphrase is my “life verse” right now.

    “Hang tight and be obedient in the mean time.”

    This is how it all began.

    Pastor David Kenney
    #1 MojoTurbo, Feb 2, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2011
  2. Old Union Brother

    Old Union Brother New Member

    Oct 24, 2010
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    God bless and prosper you and welcome from Kentucky

  3. North Carolina Tentmaker

    Sep 19, 2003
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    Welcome to the Board Brother David. I look forward to hearing your opinion in our discussions. Thank you for sharing your story.
  4. Thousand Hills

    Thousand Hills Active Member

    Oct 3, 2010
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    Welcome to BB!! :godisgood:
  5. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman Active Member

    Dec 15, 2000
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    You are in my prayers.
  6. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94 Active Member

    Jan 12, 2007
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    Howdy from WV.
  7. Joshua2415

    Joshua2415 New Member

    Apr 8, 2006
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    An inspiring story that should remind us all to be grateful for our blessings from God, even if they are in disguise sometimes.

    Welcome to the boards.
  8. NiteShift

    NiteShift New Member

    Jul 9, 2005
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    Mojo, you might consider applying to become a chaplain in the military.
  9. ktn4eg

    ktn4eg New Member

    Nov 19, 2004
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    Welcome aboard!! :wavey:
  10. MojoTurbo

    MojoTurbo New Member

    Feb 2, 2011
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    If you read my post “This is how 2010 began” you’d know I am currently out of work. When people ask what I do for a living either I say I am an “unemployed pastor” or I say I am “jobless and homeless” (both true). These past few months I have been living with my Mother-In-Law and it has actually been very comfortable. And I think it’s only natural that with any “break” in your life, you come up with some lofty expectations about how you will spend your “meantime.”

    “Oh, I am totally going to use this time away from work to ______________” fill in the blank.

    a) get organized

    b) lose weight

    c) read the bible more

    d) read tons of books

    e) WRITE a book!

    f) spend more time with my children

    All very high and noble ideals.

    Yea… none of that actually happened.

    Because before too long I quickly realized what the reality is – my real life is my “real life.” And if I happen to be a lazy American that likes to watch TV when I had a job – then I am a lazy American who likes to watch TV when I don’t have a job.

    So then it almost feels as if my “failure level” doubles. First I am a failure because I can’t get a job – and then I am a double failure because I can’t make my spare time more productive. Then I start to wonder why I even have spare time – shouldn’t I be spending every waking moment trying to find a job to provide for my family? So then this whole whirlpool of self-doubt just dog piles on me and pushes me further and further down into the spot I am wearing on the couch.

    Fun times.

    But like I said, this whole time in the “meantime” has been pretty cushy. The hard truth is my family and I are homeless and jobless, but the reality is my Mother-in-Law’s home has become our home and my job has become Father, writer and job looker for-er…. And even though I have not filled every waking moment with some sort of team building exercise, it still has meaning and life.

    So let me offer a little more personal history – way back in 2009 when we were still in our home, my wife started thinking about the story of Noah. She wanted to get an idea of how long Noah and his family were actually “homeless” as they waited for the storm to pass (wives are very intuitive as it turns out). Her study lead her to find that they were on the waves and in the rain for about 370 days; well over a year! And this isn’t even counting the 100 years it took him to build the ark! Can you imagine?

    How long was this family unit in a state of displacement?

    How long were they asking, “Where is this all going?”

    And while you’re building a boat and while you’re tossing about on violent waves – what do you do in the meantime? I guess you learn to develop a whole lotta patience.

    So while my wife was thinking about Noah in a boat with fuzzy animals, my fear factor is kicking in and I am thinking about Job. Job who has no houses, no money, and no family. Job who was naked on a big rock scratching his sores with a little rock.

    And I don’t know if we have Job’s whole timeline, but Job 7:3 says, “So I have been allotted months of futility, and wearisome nights have been appointed to me.”

    The Jewish encyclopedia says Job’ suffering was at least a year and other rabbinical sources say seven. Either way, it wasn’t a hop-skip-and-a-jump back to Tuxedos and Neosporin. Through his trials and his darkness, Job learned patience.

    James reiterates that in his letter:

    James 1:11

    We consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

    So in this “meantime” I am content to learn patience as well; and at first it feels like a total cop-out answer. It sounds like the generic response to “how are you doing?” Right? Patience is like the default answer to any trial or circumstance.

    “Oh, the Lord is teaching me patience right now.”

    Who hasn’t said that at one time or another?

    But the reality is I think the world makes us all busier and less dependant. So why shouldn’t I go through a time where I learn to rely on the Lord? In fact, if I were busy doing all of the “stuff” to be productive and “busy” – I don’t know that I would be moving slow enough to notice God’s provision and his timing. I’d be filling every waking hour and before too long I’d have a job again and then I’d be thinking to myself, “where did the time go?”

    But sitting here… in the meantime…. I can really feel the time crawl by.

    And let me just add that the passing hours are in fact “mean time.” Right? I mean who of us has ever thought that time was considerate? “The years have not been kind,” says one to another. “Time has not been on my side.”

    Job probably felt the same way.

    And again I have to remind myself that the reality is I am not on a wet wooden boat shoveling stacks of zebra poop out into the ocean. Nor am I a broken bald man with a nagging wife and horrible friends.

    Actually quite the opposite; I spend my days writing, and playing with my son. My wife and my friends have been my biggest supporters and I guess it only goes to show that even when everyone is in your corner and life really isn’t that bad, you can still drum up doubt and negativity.

    The mean time hasn’t been that mean.

    And who knows how long I will be on this boat, or sitting in this dirt, but I highly doubt it will be seven years (or a hundred). And if through it all I learn to lean on the Lord more, or learn that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy, or learn reliance or patience or endurance… great.

    Isn’t that why I am the disciple?

    To sit at the master’s feet and to learn?

    That image totally brings to mind the story of Mary and Martha. This last time I was reading it, I found myself wondering if Mary was the younger of the two sisters. Luke 10 says the house belonged to Martha and since she is the “busy body” providing the guests with hospitality, that leads me to believe she was the eldest. So in typical biblical story telling, it’s the younger of the two who “gets it.” Mary receives the blessing of Jesus’ teaching. Martha worries (like me) that the time is being wasted and she calls for her sister to help her, but Jesus replies back. “only one thing is needed and Mary has chosen what is better.”

    Jesus fills up the meantime.

    And no matter what I am missing out on accomplishing… Jesus is better.
  11. MojoTurbo

    MojoTurbo New Member

    Feb 2, 2011
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    Dear Mr. Loser

    I have applied to literally hundreds of churches; mostly for senior pastor positions, a few “teaching pastor” jobs, some family pastor, assistant pastor and the random specialty pastor jobs (i.e. ‘Gen-X pastor’ or ‘Pastor of Rocking Out’). And if you have never gone through the process then pull up a seat and let me tell you what it’s like.

    As a potential pastor (p.p.) or pastor in progress (p.i.p.) you should probably familiarize yourself with websites like churchstaffing.com andpastorfinder.com. Sites like this have free access, but to gain super-special-high access resources they want you to pay for a subscription.

    I don’t. I’m cheap. Perhaps the reason why I am still unemployed is that I have not hunkered down and given them my forty bucks.

    I have also taken the ultimate lazy man’s route in that I have made an account with Simply Hired and they just send me an email every morning with any new job openings with the key words I have submitted.

    Another avenue for job searching is using your denomination to “pimp you out” to hiring churches. I am ordained with Transformation Ministries(previously ABC USA PSW) and they probably have around 100 churches. Obviously this isn’t a large enough pool to pick from so I am also on file with ABPS (No, not the American Board of Plastic Surgery) who has ties with over five thousand churches. And then there are some other random denominations that have my name at the bottom of a dusty stack someplace. “…So I got that going for me which is nice.”

    So that’s my highly technical super-network – Here is the process…I wake up in my pjs and grab a cup of coffee and sit down at my dusty laptop. (it’s not dusty because it’s old, it’s dusty because I don’t have one of those little screen wipes and I just let the filth accumulate). I open my email and scroll through the job openings sent to me that morning and my wife usually hears me shout things across the house like…

    “Honey where is Converse County Wyoming?” or “Can we live on 20,000 a year?” or “Do you want to be episcopalian?”

    Her usual response from the kitchen is “No” or “I have to live near a Target!” and I keep looking.

    So when I come across a job that has a good salary, a non-snake handling denomination and a job description close to what I am looking for I send my über packet to them via email. (this usually consists of a resume, statement of faith and a profile ‘about me’).

    The next thing that typically happens is…. nothing. I am not exaggerating. The standard response is no response. Most of the time a church won’t even acknowledge that they received your packet, nor will they contact you when you are no longer being considered. This is probably due to the high quantity of applications that they receive. I know that some of the jobs I have applied to have received over two thousand applicants in a single week; so then to ask lay people to sit down and write back to all of them is just too much.

    I am sure the feeling I get sending my resume out into the cyber void is similar to Jochebed sending baby Moses down the river. I sit on the shore and watch my life sail quietly away… The good news is a couple of times a week you will get an emailed response from a church! The bad news is, the contents of that letter will sound something like this:

    Dear Mr. Loser

    Your Pastoral Candidate Summary highlighted unique experiences that have undoubtedly prepared you for continued ministry within Christ’s Church. However, your qualifications at the present time do not appear to be the best match for the needs of this current ministry opportunity.

    We appreciate your interest in our awesome Church and your willingness to explore serving here. We continue to trust our Lord to fulfill His plans for you and for us!

    For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

    Yours in crushing hope,

    [Church name withheld]

    A couple of those can feel pretty depressing. Rejection causes you to wonder about your marketability and whether you’re shooting too high. “Maybe I should start with a janitorial position and work my way up?” Most churches don’t consider me because of my lack of experience. I mean, I assume that’s the reason, nobody ever tells you WHY they don’t consider you – again – it’s probably too difficult to hand treat each applicant.

    So far I have collected about twenty five of these “Dear Mr. Loser” rejection letters. No, not “collected” in the sense that I print them out and tie them with ribbon and put them in my memories box, but I have been keeping track of which churches have gotten back to me.

    And “Yes” I have heard the inspirational hallmark card example of President Lincoln who was defeated for the Illinois General Assembly, U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate, as well as for his party’s vice presidential nomination before he finally became the 16th president of the United States. But he had something going for him…

    He was tall. Tall people get hired more than short people, I read it in some study somewhere. I also saw that there was a University of Florida study that reported that being tall even means a bigger paycheck! According to the study each additional inch in height gains you an extra $789 a year. So a person who is six feet tall,” said the study, “will earn about $5,525 more a year than a person who is 5 foot 5.” (exactly how tall I am)

    So for obvious reasons my resume doesn’t include my height.

    That was a weird tangent… back to rejection. The obvious “take away” from all of this is, even Jesus who was the savior of the world was rejected by Israel…

    Psalm 118:22
    The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone…

    and by God…

    Matthew 27:46
    About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [ Psalm 22:1]

    In fact, Jesus was set up.

    There are like a bazillion hints in the Old Testament that the Messiah would be rejected – his course was doomed from the very beginning and yet he came anyway. The difference being that Jesus was counting on it. Without the rejection and scorn that he received, there would have been no cross – and no cross means no justification and no justification means no gospel. Jesus came to earth for the mission impossible purpose of being rejected.

    And if that wasn’t bad enough… he is still being rejected today.

    It seems almost minute by minute new arguments and new voices are adding their “rejection letters” to the world wide web as to why Jesus wasn’t real, or wasn’t God or wasn’t in some other way authentic. And if that isn’t bad enough Jesus has officially been denied access to the Holy land.

    You didn’t hear about that?

    Oh yea, according to tradition it is said that when the Messiah comes again and the dead arise, they will all enter through the eastern gate to win eternal life. In Arabic, the gate is called Bab el Rahmeh, or “the Gate of Eternal Life.” The most common name for it today is the “Golden Gate” which seems to retain a memory of the “Gate Beautiful” where Peter cured a lame man, as read in Acts 3. The Greek word oraia means “beautiful” and is a similar sounding word in Latin, “aurea,” which means golden, thus the supposed name jump from “beautiful” to “golden.”

    So, to reject the Messiah’s entry into the city, the Arabs have sealed the gate several centuries ago. Read this news article I found:

    “The Arabs held this ground until 1099 AD. It was during this time of the Arabs occupation when with great malice of forethought, the Eastern Gate was sealed up. The reason being that the Arabs were trying to prevent the arrival of the Jewish Messiah into Jerusalem. They were aware of the biblical prophecy that foretold that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem through the Golden Gate, and having joined the Jews in their rejection of Jesus wanted to thwart the fulfillment.”

    In addition, over the many years Arabs have contemptuously buried their dead in front of the Eastern Gate. Their reasoning is built on a hapless misunderstanding of the Levitical law. They believe that the Messiah will be restrained from entering Jerusalem by this route because coming in contact with the remains of the dead will defile him as a priest and hence keep him “locked out.”

    For which I have two words for the Arabs: “As if.” My Savior is the God who walks through doors. And in the final days, ignorance and jealousy will not barricade Jesus from his sheep.

    Wealth and power will not push him aside.

    And his days of being rejected will be over.

    I on the other hand, have a few more ahead of me I’m sure. I may not beAbraham Lincoln, but I have my own skill set and I know that God is preparing a calling that will someday best fit me. I guess it’s just the question of “how do I keep picking myself up and dusting myself off” after each and every hit?

    And I know we all face our own various rejections each and every day; my situation is not unique just because I am out of work. We all face rejection from peers, from the mirror, from supervisors, parents and those we love. Rejection is paralyzing, crushing and emotionally damaging. Rejection pushes some towards abuse, addiction, depression and even suicide.

    Rejection is dark

    Rejection is pain

    Take confidence that the God of all things knows where you live. He sees your situation and your struggles and he has shared them and he has conquered them. And I don’t know, maybe you are someone who feels they have rejected Christ as well. Maybe you think you have built your own barricade to thwart Christ’s return into your own life.

    Hear this.

    There is nothing you can do, or will ever do, than can keep Christ out.

    Simply make the choice to turn rejection into acceptance and begin to walk with him.
  12. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club

    Apr 8, 2003
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    Just wondering - did you look into becoming a military Chaplain (if you don't want to be in the Military- then become an Air Force Chaplain :smilewinkgrin: )

    And you wouldn't believe all the free travel the Army gives you.

    And don't forget to consider the Reserves or check into your State National Guard. Good pay, ($340 per drill) and you don't have to beg the congregation for offerings :thumbsup:

    And due to a Chaplain shortage there is a signing bonus
  13. MojoTurbo

    MojoTurbo New Member

    Feb 2, 2011
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    Life in the river

    I’ve never been one who “hears a voice from God.” I have always envied those people who tell stories of their amazing prayer life where the Lord spoke to them in a dream and they just picked up their family and moved to Tulsa. But my interaction with God has been a cross between “gut feelings” and following the river in front of me. I have always felt that if I stay close to God -then he will always lead me.

    This leads me to my next story…

    Sometime last year when we were back in our house, I was upstairs and in bed for the night and reading a book when my wife came in late with a smile on her face, “I think I found it” she exclaimed.

    “Found what?”

    “The church where you’re going to work.”

    Now, let me freeze frame her smile and say something… this is what I am talking about… those “feelings” people get that they are so confident that they can tell someone else. It’s like when people say that they saw their future husband and they “just knew” and then leaned over to tell their girlfriends, “I’m going to marry that man.” The story is then told by the maid of honor at the wedding and everyone smiles and hits their glasses with spoons….

    But what about the predictions that don’t come true? I am sure someone has leaned over to their friend, said they were they were going to marry the glowing stranger, … and then it didn’t happen. Nobody remembers those stories because they don’t come true. You never hear at a wedding, “You don’t know how many times Steve leaned over to me and said he was going to marry ‘some girl’ or another and it never happened.. not until Stacey.”

    That would be a terrible story. It ends in Stacey crying in her wedding dress and Steve punching his best man in the shoulder.

    Oh sorry, I left my wife frozen didn’t I?

    I was surprised my wife was so confident and I was beginning to feel like I was hitting my head against a wall applying to jobs and then being rejected… so I got excited…

    “What – where? Where did you find it?”

    “I left the browser open for you downstairs,” she was folding laundry I think, “but it’s a little church in your home town and they look nice.”

    Turns out it was a little church back in my home town (just like she said) and the next morning when I went through their church profile – they did look nice (just like she said); and my excitement grew. Could my wife be right? Could this be “the one?” It certainly would make a good story. So naturally you begin to do what you do in situations like this; you pray.

    I was praying all of the time. Every day I took my son for a walk to either put him to sleep or take him to the park, I was praying… praying my guts out. I can’t explain it better than that, but do you remember when you were a kid? Whatever you did with all of your being was described as doing it with your “guts out.” When we ran to school we “ran our guts out.” That’s what it was like. It was all my energy and all my focus.

    And then when I wasn’t praying my guts out; I was planning. I was literally day dreaming about the church and mapping out what my next steps would be. Probably the only thing I didn’t do was go down to the Home Depot and grab paint swatches. And the more each day passed, the more in depth my ideas became. I rehearsed what I would say to the search team, and I began thinking about my first sermon on candidate weekend. If there was a “zone,” I was in it.

    Looking back I was probably a borderline “church stalker.”

    I had relatives that lived near this little church and I sent them in on a reconnaissance mission one morning. They came back with a detailed report and gave me insight into the positives and negatives. I called the church secretary and asked when the search team met, so I could pray on those days. I contacted the denominational representative in the area and introduced myself, I even told him I’d be willing to drive the six hours just to meet him for lunch.

    Months went by with no information.

    I was going stir crazy, so my wife and I planned a trip to my hometown. It was a great idea; we could visit the family, my son could see his grandparents and my wife and I could scope out this little church for ourselves. I called the church secretary and let her know I was coming “just in case anyone from the search team wanted to meet me.”

    Turns out they didn’t.

    Nobody really knew we were coming, I met the church secretary and her family, but it was just a typical Sunday at a church we didn’t belong to. People politely shook our hands and smiled, but nobody really noticed us. We left that morning even more excited and more on fire for the little church, but looking back, the signs had been there that the river wasn’t flowing that direction and I was fighting against the current.

    Up until that point I had always allowed the Spirit to guide me in a natural fashion. I didn’t give too much thought to my direction and I had simply followed the current of the river. But it seems with this little church that I was “trying too hard.” I had turned into the annoying guy who follows the girl around saying, “can’t you feel this connection?” While she is running away smiling politely.

    I was acting on an “idea” that I had fabricated and to be fair, my wife had just found a church that she thought I would be interested in and as I got more “into it” she did also. It wasn’t her job to listen to the Lord for me. I was supposed to be learning patience, but instead I was fighting the current and trying to forge my own path.

    Well, the good news is, I didn’t get a rejection letter. A few more months had gone by and I called the church office again and asked how the process was going, the church secretary acted more nervous than usual and indicated to me that they had indeed “found their man” …and it wasn’t me. She said I should receive a “thanks for trying” letter soon, but I never did. The little church hadn’t been a sign or a detour or anything, it was just another church in the long list of churches. The only thing that made it special or stand out, was my own wishing.

    And I could get mad and say, “Why did you do that to me God? Why did you get my hopes up?” But the truth is – I did it to myself. I can’t actually say that I was being moved by God during this time.

    The Bible talks a lot about trusting God, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5) It also says that “He who trusts in himself is a fool…” (Proverbs 28:26). But that doesn’t seem to stop most of us from trying to blaze our own trail. There are so many accounts of men and women in the scriptures who were supposed to wait for a promise from the Lord, but instead took the initiative.

    God promised Abraham and Sarah a son of their own bloodline. But it was over 20 years before this promise was fulfilled exactly the way that God had said. In the meantime, it was hard for them to trust God and they often tried their own paths to make the promised son come true (Genesis 15-17).

    The truth is, we’re not good at waiting. We want what we want – and we want it now! It’s hard enough for me to wait for my order from Amazon even when I have a tracking number, so you can imagine how hard it is to wait for even bigger things like a career or a calling.

    But this isn’t another chapter on patience or impatience. Rather it’s about discerning God’s will over our own. I can’t make my life happen any more than Abraham could “make a baby boy.” If Abraham and Sarah had just allowed the river to quietly move them down water, they would have arrived where God wanted them to. But instead they chose to fight the current and “make” God’s plan happen.

    When we do that the only voice telling us to “act” is our own, so in the end the only one to blame is ourselves.

    And if we don’t realize that – and take a really honest look back on our lives – we can end up feeling bitter towards God and resentful of his promises – when he didn’t actually do anything.

    I also think that even when we create these side diversions, God doesn’t allow our energy to be wasted, nor does he allow the opportunity for learning to pass by. When we take the wrong stream or go through the wrong door, God still works through that and makes his will be done.

    When Hagar and her son Ishmael are tossed out with the garbage, God stepped in and didn’t allow these two innocents to pay the price for Abraham and Sarah’s haste (Genesis 21). He even promises Hagar that he will make her son “into a great nation.” And that is ultimately the story of the entire bible – regardless of the human agent, God’s will is done.

    So I am not worried that the opportunity will come and pass me by.

    God isn’t going to kick the air and shout, “Oh you missed it!”

    He knows how to move the river, he’s been doing it for thousands of years.

    Pastor David