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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Unimaginable

Fourteen years ago, tomorrow, I was terminated from a the ministry I was allowed to lead. It was an extremely difficult situation, but I wouldn't call it "devastating." It certainly shook me and I seriously questioned myself. After all, I was fired from being a youth pastor. Two perspectives, and some very faithful friends and my wife, kept me upright and continuing the course I am still pursuing.
Once perspective was simply this, God is in charge. My situation didn't surprise Him and He had certainly carried people through much worse situations. While I couldn't fathom what post youth ministry would look like I was certain He would lead me if I would follow.
The second perspective was this, what I was doing in ministry was right. It was biblical. It was the way ministry should be done. That doesn't mean I was doing everything correctly, it just means that the ministry philosophy, the theological moorings, were sound.
To this day I am so grateful for Jim Westgate, Jim Hutton, Jan Van Oosten, Francis and Mike Ribera, Kurt Gregory and Robin, and most importantly, my wife Lisa for believing in me. Their prayers, their friendship, their love, and their confidence in me held me accountable and motivated me to continue on the journey I still travel, and will continue to travel.
Bad circumstances cause most people to develop tunnel vision. Sometimes that is very good because it serves as the means to get out of the mess. My focus wasn't on the termination but making the situation that was being given to me work out well. I say "me" very loosely, it was the people already mentioned and the power of the Holy Spirit working through me. I hope that most of the time I was a willing servant in the process.
This Saturday, virtually marking the 14th anniversary of that firing, I am being granted a doctorate in the very ministry which seemed to contribute to my termination back then.
That is "The Unimaginable" situations God brings about for those who will strive to follow Him. We don't have to do it perfectly, I sure haven't. But He has this incredible capacity for grace and mercy to overcome those shortcomings and magnify the issues of obedience.
I never even considered, or dreamed, or imagined that this could be happening for me. Yet, with God being God, He had it figured out all along the way.
I am humbled and grateful to be counted as one of His. I hope if you are struggling right now, this could provide you the door to the peace that transcends all understanding. God is there with you. Just follow Him.

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