Last week, I completely and utterly forgot to write the blog. Sorry, my friends.
So, that means this week you get a 2-for-1 deal. Two themes in one blog. The voice of Sent saying both “Come to the Gospel wilderness” and “Confess or get out of the way.”
For me…this is a natural connect. Yet, it’s only a natural connect because I lived in Texas for almost a decade.
I know, I know. Y’all are probably sick of hearing about Texas either from me or social media or now even the news. So, I promise I won’t drone on about Texas for too long. Just one story.
It happened in the Spring of 2010. I had moved my family from beautiful, scenic, and majestic Marina, CA (Monterey Bay Area) to hot, humid, and bug-infested south side of Houston, TX. To say that the move was difficult and even disastrous at times would be a gross understatement. Honestly, my friends, the move had broken me and was breaking my family.
I had never felt so foolish, misled, and lost in my ministry time. I wasn’t quite 3 years out of Seminary and I did not have a clue what I was doing as a pastor. I wanted to quit. I wanted to run away. I wanted things to be simpler and I wanted to be more passionate like I used to be.
Life had popped me across the face and I was down for the count.
Then one day sitting in my office feeling sorry for myself and my idiotic decision to move, I received a phone call. There was a man on the other end of the phone who introduced himself as “Mike.” He had he was from the district office and heard I might be looking for a new call. I half-heartedly told him my situation and a little bit about myself. This Mike guy sounded way too cheerful for the kind of mood I was in.
Mike spoke to me about a position in Austin, TX working with the students at the University of Texas and the downtown community of city. He talked probably for about 15 minutes about the position, and ultimately I interrupted him with this incredibly unprofessional but vulnerable sentence, “I’m interested in anything that gets me out of here.” At this moment, Mike should have heard the desperation in my voice and politely excused himself and never talked to me again. But he didn’t. Instead, he offered me a chance to interview for the position, and low and behold I got the position.
My dear friends, Mike understood how complicated the Gospel wilderness can be. He understood there were wild animals at work in my life but he also saw the ministering angels working to keep me going in following after Jesus. Mike fully saw a deep passion in me to confess boldly this Jesus and His love to the world, but he also saw a kid stumbling over himself who just needed to get out of his own way and trust the Spirit more. Mike, God bless him, in a simple 30 minute phone call accepted the invitation of Jesus to walk alongside this broken young pastor in his journey of being Sent, and because of that I can preach and teach amongst y’all today.
The same invitation is for us, my friends. Maybe you are being called to walk alongside somebody today who is being Sent and just needs a friend. Maybe you are directly being Sent out and you’re not sure what to do. Maybe this whole idea that we are not only Loved by God but also Sent by God is sort of new to you.
No matter where you find yourself today, through the grace and strength of God I encourage you to accept the invitation to go deeper into the Gospel we follow and the Confession of faith that we share. Accept the invitation to journey with Jesus into a wilderness, into a conversation, or into mission to see how deep the Gospel truth goes and what kind of confession of faith it might produce in your own life. For truly this is what Lent is all about…and in following after Jesus we all need a little help and perhaps even a Mike to join us in the journey.