There have been some "red light indicators" that something needs to change in my life. I had stepped out of ministry in the year 2000 to deal with some sin in my life and started working a secular job to support my family. In 2006 I started transitioning back into ministry by working bi-vocationally. What that meant was I worked a secular job during the week days and did ministry during the evenings and weekends; and occasionally during the day for funerals and preaching engagements.
In January 2011, the “rope” that had been pretty stable for the last 10-11 years had been gradually fraying and the result had been responding wrong to situations (or at least differently than I would like to). I work hard at responding right even in difficult situations, and treating people with respect. Things had been building up for the past 2 1/2 years, and the stress had been hard on all of us; especially with loss of co workers, jobs, benefits, and large pay cuts.
Cathy and I had the past 2 years praying about how long I was to stay at the construction company that has provided work for me for over ten years since I stepped out of ministry.
Then, in February of 2011, I submitted my resignation effective at the end of the month. Although I have been approached by a couple of companies asking that I would submit a resume, I didn’t have a job to go to (… we did have some money in the bank and a God who has always provided abundantly for us). There were a few practical things to take care of such as health insurance for the kids and purchasing a vehicle (I had both as part of my salary package).
What I hadn’t done over the past 10 years was to ask God if I was to go back into “full-time” ministry or not. I get a fair amount of requests to preach outside the USA; I’ve basically run from this call from the Lord.
The next step was for me was to take the next “30 days” (March of 2011) and seek God’s purposes as to what I am called to do. What that meant was: No job searching. No resume posting. No fretting.
The plan instead was to use the time to meditate, rest, seek, listen, and pray, spend some time with Pastor’s Prayer Groups, private retreat, and time to get healthy and to seek purpose and direction for River of Hope Ministries; specifically purpose, direction, and preaching. But the main focus was to Wait, Hope, Watch, Read - The whole point was to spend time with Him.
And here we are, the end of September, seven months later and still watching waiting, watching, and reading; all the while clinging to hope in His ability to always come through. There have been many ministry opportunities including preaching, teaching, writing, and a mission trip and for each opportunity I am grateful for the restorative nature of God.
But, after seven months of praying and seeking God and His will for my life, I will be the first to admit “I am not skilled to understand what God has willed, what God has planned. I only know at His right hand stands one who is my Savior. (See video clip below).
And so here comes October and I continue to wait, hope, watch, and pray “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6).
Knowing that God will make a way where there seems to be no way. And, that if I will not believe, surely I will not be established.(see Isaiah 7:9B).
“For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."