And he said “Contemplating My Existence”

Last week I went from Jury Duty on Monday and Tuesday to restoration of a fire-damaged McDonalds on Wednesday. Pretty much since then it has been non-stop lets get this thing opened. In a week I have met some new people who I look forward to getting know more. In a week I have learned a lot about running a fast paced job for GCM.

But today, I was reminded how God is working. Sitting at a front counter waiting for some material I needed for my project, I apologized to the man next to me for taking so long. He said no worries, I’ve got time, I’m just sitting here contemplating my existence. My response “wow that is deep.” He said, “yeah I am sorry man.” I said “no problem, just got to be careful what you say out loud, I’m a Pastor and love those kind of conversations.”  He responded with “yeah I know where I am spending Eternity.”

After a bit of silence I said, “glad you got eternity figured out, for me the hardest part is walking the unknown day to day journey.” To which he replied, “yeah that seems to be the hardest part.”  This lead me to talking about why “sharing faith and life” with a community of faith believers is so important. I shared my thoughts on church and he was interested. He said, “I don’t like ‘traditional Churches’.”

The guy next to me then said “so you must not like mega/large churches.” I said, “I simply don’t think there is one model for everyone anymore. We need different types of churches for different stages/seasons of life people are in.” He said, “yeah I’m a pastor too, and I’m out here working like you. I’ve been doing bi-vocational ministry for 10 years. The church I’m a part of has around 100 people and everyone ministers to each other.”  We chatted and the “Contemplating my Existence” guy listened in and said “thanks for conversation”.

Seriously, two Pastors, who are living out their faith and life a bit different in the same store with a man who is Contemplating his Existence. God is working wherever our lives are stationed. He is drawing men and women unto Himself.

Lord help my eyes and ears be open to what you are doing. Help me to be like Christ to those I come in contact with. May the way I live, think, and act be used as seeds of hope and faith in the lives of those I come in contact with in the places I live, work, learn, and play!

 

 

 

Facebook Message Reminded Me- UnKnowing Impact

This week I received one of the most impactful FaceBook messages I have ever received.  Someone who I had brief interaction with several years ago sent me a message simply to let me know how his life has changed. I had no IDEA the impact my life had on him.

My desire is to encourage followers of Jesus to declare a different way to live life where ever our lives are stationed. To believe this God has asked me to step out of my comfort-zone. I am in the most challenging season of my life and sometimes I wonder how does one really make a difference for God.

The FaceBook Message I got came at the right time. See, in my heart I believe that no matter where our lives are stationed, we can have an impact for God, but often I hear a different message. Despite having moved away from full-time paid ministry over a year and a half ago, sometimes I still hear voices from my past that basically say, “to really make a difference for God you have to be a pastor or missionary.” There are days when I feel like this. There are days when I wrestle and say is this statement right? Maybe full time ministry is the only way to have an impact.

But this Facebook Message reminded me that often followers of Jesus can unknowingly have impact on the lives of others. I was reminded that 6 years ago I simply went out and spent some time with a young man. I don’t remember much about that day. I remember basketball and then going back to drop him off at his house. His parents where home so I went in to introduce myself. And this is where the impact happened.

The Facebook Message states that as I entered his home the dynamics of his household changed. The brief time we spent together was the start of transformation in his family. …”our faith has been spreading. And the wake up call all began that day when you took me out and came in to meet my family. You personally have been an extreme blessing to my family, with your presence alone you changed the dynamics of it for the better.”

I write this for one purpose. I write this because this helps me to continue to believe that no matter where our lives are stationed we can declare a different way to live life. As we share our faith and lives with others, “our presence alone can bring about change.”

It is the desire of our hearts that is key. My prayer is that we would be able to trust God with the impact our lives make. We don’t need to compare. We don’t need to have a list of people we have brought to church. It doesn’t even matter how many people you have “saved.”  What matters is the desire of your heart. Because maybe, you’re unknowingly having an impact.

Seasons in Life

The past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about the various seasons in life.

  1. Childhood
  2. Teenage years
  3. College
  4. First Full Time Job
  5. Young Married
  6. Young Kids
  7. …………

In the midst of all these seasons there maybe other changes or seasons within a season that one goes through. Each of these seasons is important and they are shaping who we are.

As I begin to write this I am reminded that Ravi Zacharias stirred this thought in me a few weeks ago at Lancaster Bible College. He titled his message “A Man For All Seasons” and related Biblical content to the life of the honored Charles Fry. Charles Fry was a man of God in each season of His life. Wow, this is what I desire to be said of me. No matter where my life is stationed, no matter what season I am in, I want people to see me pursuing Jesus. I want people to see that “following Jesus changes everything” and that because of Jesus I am declaring a different way to live life.

This idea of seasons surrounds me and my conversations these days. I believe that God is doing something new in our Churches and communities. Everywhere I turn I am running into Followers of Jesus that are looking to “declare a different way to live life.” They are looking to leverage their relationships, businesses, and time for the kingdom of God. They are looking to show their friends, neighbors, and coworkers that “people matter” to God. That God’s love is steady and unchanging. The Church is moving beyond the walls and we are starting to love one another in ways that I have not seen.

Honestly, I am not sure the role that I play in these changes, but to quote the words of one of my coworkers “it seems like maybe God has called you to be doing what your doing right now.” Most days are a challenge for me. I don’t feel like I am in my “sweet spot” but I do believe that God has brought me into this seasons and I do believe that God is using me. So I say to you what others are saying to me. Keep pursuing Jesus. Remain faithful. God will guide you through each and every season.

 

 

 

 

A Balanced Pursuit

I am learning a lot these days. Life outside of full-time paid ministry has not been easy. Over the past year we added a fourth child and entered the world of Construction. Our family has been in a very different season.

In the midst of this season, God has been faithful. God is using me and our family for His glory, but very different ways. Our time commitment to our Church and Community has been very different. After a long days work I get home and my wife needs a break. Because of my experience, I’ve realized that some of the expectations that I place on others, especially in my faith community, is unrealistic. Sharing faith and life is not easy. People go through different seasons where commitment levels vary. Our commitment level to our church and community has not been as high as it has been in the past, but God has still used us in both our church and community.

As I say this, God has been challenging me to think beyond this season. Our kids are getting older and we are starting to adjust to my new job and its commitments. My wife and I are closer than ever. My appreciation for all that she does has increased. My kids are becoming more involved in the community as they develop friendships and participate in activities. Naturally, our community involvement is increasing.

So what specifically is God challenging me with?  Although we have different seasons, I need to have a balanced pursuit of God. Because of my calling and spiritual gifts, there are certain things that I need to be doing to BE healthy. For the past 5 years I have been discovering more and more about myself. The Kavanna House and their Spiritual Practices class heightened my understanding of this. During the Spiritual Practices classes we developed a Rule of Life, which I am still learning to apply today.  This Rule of Life, is the Balanced Pursuit of God that I am desiring. I am still not sure what it looks like, and I believe it will shift a bit with different seasons, but this is the way I desire to live my life.  This Diagram depicts my Rule of Life and a Balanced Pursuit of God.

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 4.43.38 PM

Long Overdue-But Not Yet

I have a post that has been stirring in me and there is no doubt that I am due, but I’m not quite ready. So, as you wait here is an update I wrote for the Church that I am apart of.

http://www.lifestationchurch.com/its-not-easy/

 

Reflecting on Another Birthday

Last Friday I turned 34. It is hard to believe how fast time flies by. Tonight I shared with LifeStation that often I find myself “searching for Jesus”. Some how I find myself growing frustrated that at 34 years of age I don’t have it all figured out. I still have more questions about my future then I do answers. There are days where I feel like I am walking close to Jesus and other days where I feel like I’m not sure that I am on the right path.

With that and with all the uncertainty that lies in front of me if I could have/declare anything as a new 34 year old it is this

My hearts desire, regardless of how I feel, is to have a heart like His.

I will fail.

I will mess up.

I will let myself and others down.

But at the foundation of who I am I just want to be what He wants me to be….I want a heart like His.

Lord Jesus Christ I pray that no matter where my life is stationed this coming year that my heart will continue to beat for you. Lord I pray that no matter what the cost that I will find myself pursuing You and Your Kingdom. Help me to love as you love.

Faith & Tearing Out Block

Yesterday was working on site at a Wendy’s in Hillside NJ, I was tasked to help tear out a block wall.

As I was using a demo drill, chipping a line down through the block, my faith came to my attention. A few years ago it was easy for me to see that God was working on me. He was forming and shaping me, His image bearer, and knocking lose the things I have picked up from the world that do no represent Him.

Well, yesterday as I chipped block, I realized I am much like a block. There are some things that I have picked up that need much chipping. Somethings come out easy while other parts need to be jolted time and time again until they break free. I was very thankful for this time as it led me to pray

I give you permission to continue to chip away at me. I want to bare your image well in this world.

I am thankful that my faith was realized in the midst of tearing out a block wall.  What are the ways that your faith can be realized in your workplace?  What are the ordinary task that you do that can become reminders of your faith?