On this Labor Day I reflect on "full-time, vocational ministry."
Since 1978 I have had the immense privilege, joy, and responsibility to serve as a home missionary. In 1982 God allowed me to marry Jane, and we've served together since as a team...Next to Jesus, she is my biggest blessing, my source of encouragement, and my (occasional) kicker-in-the-butt when I need it.
God has opened effectual doors of service in ways never anticipated. He has "blessed-beyond-belief" in so many ways, in so many places, in so many circumstances.
He has showed Himself strong in my weakness. He has strengthened me for the journey. He has blessed our efforts to "brag on Jesus."
And I continue to be amazed I get to do what I get to do.
I believe it was Indira Gandhi who said, "The secret to success is to find people who will pay you to do what you would pay to do if you had to."
If that is at least partially true, the Lord has allowed me to succeed, at least partially.
For all those years we've served as home missionaries; trusting God to provide our income through folks who partner with us in finance and prayer. With no other income (save the occasional honorarium), God has showed up in incredible ways over all these years.
And His people have stood with us.
It's long been my goal to be the oldest youth worker in America. I probably am getting close. There are probably not many people who have served as long "on support." I get to speak and teach and counsel in places as varied as maximum security prisons, junior high Bible studies, churches, public schools, youth rallies, civic organizations, and more.
Begging the question:
"What am I doing here?" God could use a donkey (yeah, there may be some similarities)
And yet in His sovereign will He has called me, equipped me, energized me, and blessed me.
But thrilled beyond words to be able to "labor" in His Name.
Tiring? Yeah. Frustrating? Duh. Heartbreaking? All too often.
But...exhilarating? energizing? encouraging? Very often.
And as God gives us courage and conviction to stick to the gospel, the Word, and the essentials; increasingly lonely.
As the "difficult times" of 2 Timothy 3 get more difficult, as more and more professing Christians waffle on the exclusivity of the gospel, the reality of sexual sin (to include homosexuality), the fact of hell, and the authority of Scripture...it will get more lonely.
But as we cling to the Lord, fix our eyes on Jesus, and trust Him we will move ahead...continually stunned that He uses us for His glory, and recognizing that:
And, yes, we'd appreciate your prayers as we move ahead...(if you'd like to receive updates on our ministry, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)