Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Down the Old Dirt Road

Before we being today, here's news from my beloved friend Lisa Jewett, who many of you have been praying for:  "Update- a second CT scan showed some more spots in my lymph nodes so they cancelled surgery. Going to start chemo this week. Please continue to pray. I know this is not a surprise for God and He still has this, but for my humanly form this is all overwhelming. Thank you again for all your prayers. May God receive the glory from all this."  So please keep praying. We love you, Lisa.

Over my 6 years of writing this blog (as well as in conversations with friends) I have often bemoaned the fact that my journey down the #NarrowRoad was sidetracked by my own sins. And it was- that's a fact. Since that time it has often felt as if I am wandering in the desert- "like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone." But lost in my confession is the assumption that life would have continued on for me in the same direction it was taking me back in 2005. And deep inside that thought is the idea that my life would have been better that way. Certainly living a "normal" life as a youth pastor, working in a local church and having a professional ministry, was what God has in mind for me before I messed up and threw it all away. Of course that was the plan, right? All I had to do was keep it in the highway and let God use my life the same way He always had. That way everybody wins...right???

And then yesterday I had a friend say something that, on the surface, sounded completely ridiculous to me. In response to yesterday's post about praying for miracles he told me that he often wondered if I realized my ministry on this blog and through social media was reaching more people and having a greater impact than my youth pastor jobs ever had. I'm sure my jaw dropped a bit. It just sounded so wrong. I mean, when I worked in churches I was on God's super highway, in the trenches doing the work God had called me to do. We did great (and sometimes spectacular) things in the name of Jesus. Out here on the interwebs I just plod along, like a farmer driving a tractor down an old dirt road. Sure, every now and then my writing might make a difference. But not like my ministries before...

My friend listened politely to my ramblings and then called "BS." He pointed out that on this so-called dirt road I am connected and offering guidance and hope to people from all of the ministries I served as youth pastor- and all at once! He reminded me that old friends- such as himself- who had fallen off my radar almost completely during my days of professional ministry are now not only back in my life, but connected in much deeper ways. He asked me at which of the churches I served had I been able to unite people from all over the world in prayer for those in need. He reminded me that there is a good chance that EVERYDAY  my writing reaches someone who needs to hear it- including people I don't even know. He finished by pointing out that this new ministry gives me more opportunities to share life and to share Jesus with more people than anything I ever done. Now don't get me wrong- I loved every minute of my life in student ministry and I KNOW the things we did made a difference. I treasure those 28 years. But this was a new thought...and I was dumbfounded. Because he was right.

My next thought brought me straight to this series of posts about the #NarrowRoad. As usual, I have been oblivious to the obvious. God takes us down paths we least expect, often the ones we would never choose for ourselves. I messed up in a big way, and that did change the direction of my life. But held in this new light and given this different vision, maybe the interstate highway was never meant to be my #NarrowRoad. It's called narrow for a reason- not everyone travels it. God used the foul circumstances I created to give me a new map and a new road to follow. Yes, it's off the beaten path. And yes- I never asked for directions so I've been wandering a while. But maybe- just maybe - while I was wandering God was creating in me a new passion and a new ministry. God was pointing me down this old dirt road the entire time, because He knew that's where I'd grow closer to Jesus. I can see that now. It's a blessing to me, because so people I love seem to live right along this road, and it is a place where we can continue to share life together. I realize now that we have, in fact, been in ministry together these last 6 years right here on the pages of this blog. Now if we could just find a friendly little country church along the #NarrowRoad (where the doors swing wide to welcome!) that we could all attend together and sing the great praise and worship songs of the 1990's and early 2000's every week.  Ahhhh- that would be heaven on earth!!! 

Because of Jesus,

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9/06/2015

    smart friend ;-) i agree with him


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