About every six months or so, I go in to a time of deep prayer and ask God once again for an affirmation of what He's called me to do....
It often seems to happen when I'm going through a time of frustration or plain old weariness. Sometimes it happens when I've gotten hurt by others. I know when my attitude isn't right and I know I must go deep with God to surrender it and make sure I'm doing what He's asked me to do and not gotten off course.
Early last Spring was such a time for me. I went to what has become my special God place at Mendon Ponds Park. I read my Bible. I worshipped. I prayed. I walked. I talked. I listened and once again, God spoke.
I was lifting my hands up to heaven and crying out loud to God: "Lord, what do you want me to do?"
I heard Him say, "LOOK!" I opened my eyes and right in front of me was a huge branch sticking straight up out of the snow. I immediately reached out and grabbed the four foot branch. As I stood looking at it, wondering what it meant, I saw my shadow on the parking lot in front of me. The stick had a big curve on the end and my shadow looked like a shepherd holding a shepherd's staff. Wow!
I immediately got the message. The same words I had been hearing from the Lord for years. "Feed My Lambs. Tend my Sheep (John 21:16). Shepherd My flock."
It seemed like time stopped as I stood there, staring at my shadow and feeling the power and presence of the LORD flow through me like waves of a strong electric current. It felt like God was recharging my weary soul somehow and that is exactly how I've felt ever since.
The Shepherd's staff now sits in the corner of my office as a reminder to me. The enemy continually wants us to make it all about us and it's not about us, it's all about following Christ and doing what He's called each of us to do.
I believe everyone has a unique and specific calling on their life from God. Too many pastors try to apply formulas to their lives or try too hard to be someone they're not. God has repeatedly told me through the years to simply be who I am, who He has made me. He tells me He made me the way I am on purpose for His purpose.
Of course, we are all to continue to grow and mature in the Spirit. But God has created us all different and incredibly unique.
It's taken me a long time to come to terms with some things. So many voices out there tell us we should be this way or be that way. Voices that say if you're not doing things a certain way, or seeing specific kind of results, then you've failed and you should give up or do something else . One well-known author and pastor once told me that I should quit ministry all together. God have mercy on him because that's not what God told me! God said, persevere! Keep going! Love one person at a time! If you love me, tend my lambs and let me take care of the rest.
These days, I look out at our congegration and I praise the God who was, and is, and will always be the God of incredible miracles. I can't believe how much our church has grown recently. I see so much growth in many individuals as well. People that have had victory over addictions. People that have found faith in Christ for the first time. People who have learned to forgive. People who have been healed from so much heartache. Miracle after miracle! It's absolutely amazing!
We feel like a wonderful, loving family of God and that is exactly what we have become, thanks be to God! He continues to breathe new life in our church every week. I feel so sorry for people who don't have a church and are missing out on the most wonderful, incredible experience they could imagine.
Stay on the course friend. Persevere through all the hard and difficult moments in ministry and life. Don't give up! Don't listen to the other voices in the world. Listen only to what God's voice is telling YOU to do and just do it! Be yourself. Give yourself GRACE! And don't forget to ENJOY the journey because it is definitely a journey. God will be with you every step of the way and with His help, you'll be AMAZED at what He's building through your hands and heart!
Please leave me a note on this blog if you were blessed by this!