Monday, November 28, 2011

When smaller Is BIGGER!

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."

Prov 16:9 NIV

I remember writing a piece in October in which I stated our future plans for life and ministry - at least the plans that I knew of. God has a way of granting the desires of our hearts even when we don't fully know what those desires are.

I remember telling some trusted friends that I was going to resign as an associate pastor, even though Robin and I had only a few open doors of marriage ministry to walk through. The words to a Sidewalk Prophet's song kept running through my mind, "Father of love, you can have me - YOU CAN HAVE ME!" We were willing to be obedient to what God was asking us to do - step out in faith and trust him.

I had faith, but I was also working on a plan, you know just in case. However my plan made it no farther than a browse through some local printing industry jobs, online, to ascertain any part-time opportunities.

One day after submitting my resignation, I received a email from a transition team member of a church near our home. I knew my pastoral resume was active in the area and was open to the idea, should God so will. However, it wasn't until I received that email that something begin to change in my heart.

Until that day, I had envisioned traveling and doing marriage conferences on the weekends to support our family and grow the ministry to which God has called us. However, I knew that marriage ministry, providing an income, would be very unlikely, because of our focus on couples and churches who do not have the finances to support such ministry and our committment to see that no couple falls through the cracks.

God began to instill in me that, if we would be obedient and allow him to use us, that he could do more through us in pastoral ministry than we could even imagine - even more for marriages.

We are excited about this next chapter of ministry that God has purposed for us. We are believing that the chapter will be long and fruitful. Are we going to keep ministering to marriages? In the words spoken by the people around our son's college, "Ya Sure! You Bet'cha!" By listening to God's quiet leading, we have the opportunity to see not only marital and family change in our community, but life change here and abroad.

Will we travel as much? Probably not, but I believe, through Christ, our Kingdom impact will be greater. When we, ourselves, are content with being small, God's plans for us become larger than we could ever imagine.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Time Out To Listen

With all of the rain we have been experiencing in Northeast Ohio, I decided to take advantage of the sunny day we had on Tuesday and start cutting our grass - a task that has been washed out by either the weather or my schedule. Hopefully, it will be the last time I have to do it this year.
I started with the trimming. I was pushing the mower around the north side of our dog kennel, when I heard the familiar, "Hi Dave!" I turned to see the neighbor boy standing at the property line waving at me. I waved and went right back to my task. I finished the trimming and then shut the push mower off.

"Hi Dave!" Again, I turned to see the friendly 7 year old, still waving and smiling at me. A question crossed my mind, "Have I become so busy that I cannot stop what I am doing and give this little boy a few minutes of my time?"

Calling the boy's name, I started a conversation with the lad, which lasted a few minutes and consisted of a very detailed and enthusiastic account of his recent trick or treating adventure.

Once he finished with what he wanted to tell me, he said, "Well, I'll let you get back to your mowing." He then flashed a big smile and walked away.

Did I get as much mowing done that evening? No. Did it really matter? No. While I do not know if my listening to a little boys story had any significant impact on his life, at least he knows that I care. Maybe that is all he needed from me.