I was asked to begin praying for the trip to Ireland a month before we left. Not only did I take the request seriously, but I also asked others to pray with me for clarity in my role during the trip. My prayers extended to seeking God for my personal life.
God put a call on my life to touch people’s lives through media in a way that helps them apply kingdom principles in a practical way within their every day life. However, I’ve needed clarity for some time in understanding what venue I was to use in order to fulfill this calling.
Was I to be a pastor/evangelist/missionary who uses media to reach the hurting? Or, was I to be a filmmaker who revealed Godly principles within my stories? Either way seems to accomplish the same goal, but both come about in very different ways. The only thing I knew for certain was my God given calling.
This lack of clarity was brought about by the rules within the denomination I served and the church I attend. My church empowered me to minister as a teacher and co-leader within the encouragement ministry, partially fulfilling my calling and allowing me to touch a thousand plus people one on one over the past 5-6 years.
My denomination on the other hand states that divorced people can’t be pastors. Not that I need to be a pastor to fulfill God’s calling in my life, but many people I’ve touched have recommended I lead a church. Of course, my denomination does allow evangelists and short-term missionaries to be divorced, so you can understand some of the confusion I’ve experienced.
It unfortunately comes down to the interpretation of one particular scripture verse blended with another. And yes, various translations do increase the argument. However, if you pull back a step and realize that the Apostle Paul killed Christians before he got his calling from God, you do have to consider why divorce seems to be a deterrent.
In the meantime, the passion burning within my soul to help others understand how to apply the Bible to their everyday life continues to grow in intensity. I’m compelled to help people understand the difference between having a relationship with God versus living out the rules of religion. I’m driven to empower others to find the free gift God has for them and to understand his plan for their lives – making a difference in their community by sharing grace, mercy and love.
I have to bring hope to others.
In preparation for Ireland, I sensed that God wanted me to speak. I didn’t know what that looked like or how it would play out, but I prepared for it. Once in Ireland, I was asked to join a small team to visit those in the local Teen Challenge program who were fighting to get off of various addictions and I knew in that moment I would be speaking.
Marty was in charge of the small group and asked two of us men to speak. Pete went first and shared some stirring comments that touched the men’s hearts. It was then that I realized what I had prepared wasn’t going to work. As I frantically debated within my mind if I should pass on speaking or attempt to share something different, Marty introduced me and I found myself standing in front of the men with a blank mind.
God made a promise to me in the Bible that he would give me the words I needed in the hour I needed it, so I trusted him and began to speak. I told the men that I was not able to share like Pete had, but I told them I was capable of telling a story and asked their permission to do so. Their response was unanimous so I started in.
By the climax of my talk, I saw the light bulbs going on. They understood God’s message. And I was thrilled to have been used by him to share. I saw that five of the men were in tears and I heard one shout out words of excitement based on how he was touched. It was clear that God used me as a vessel to deeply touch the men.
I was in a moment that confirmed my calling and the venue wasn’t media, but a rustic lodge. Later that afternoon I shot footage for the documentary that touch my heart and the heart of others standing by listening. Again, my calling was confirmed, but this time associated with the media.
My expectation for answers in Ireland wasn’t directly met, but God’s calling was confirmed.
Toward the end of our time in Ireland, I chatted with a woman who was upset that she hadn’t seen God move in a specific way. She had prayed for weeks with the expectation that she would see God move in her life, but all she saw were several people experiencing God’s miracles. She was happy for them, but nagging within the back of her mind was her unanswered prayer.
I was amazed to hear her share story after story of the miracles she watched unfold in the lives of others. I had to ask her what she prayed prior to the trip. She said, “That God would open my eyes to see his hand at work.” I started laughing. Here she was waiting for God to do something special in her life and she hadn’t realized that he was answering her prayer time and time again.
To ease her curiosity of why I was laughing, I helped her to see how God had blessed her by opening her eyes to see his hand at work in numerous lives. As best as I could tell, she was the only one on the trip with such a vantage point. When the realization hit her, she broke out laughing with tears of joy welling within her eyes. God had answered her prayer.
But as for me, God only clarified what I already knew. So today, my prayer is for him to open a door for me to enter into the right venue. In the mean time, I’ll just keep on touching the hearts God puts in front of me. I will do my best to encourage each one I meet to develop a personal relationship with the one God that wants them to be filled with peace, joy and love. I will bring hope to the hurting and come along side of those beginning to walk according to kingdom principles.