“Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord… Jonah 1:2-3
Recently things have been very interesting for me and my house. My wife has started her Masters of Divinity, which has lead to many great discussions, and revisiting conversations that were shelved for years. I wrote a blog a while back about a change of season, the season was winter I see now.
Winter is a time of endings and you make preparations for spring. Spring is most certainly here and with it brings new beginnings and changes all around. One of the things that has been brought up in conversation is what is next for Joy and myself with Christ.
Since the beginning of the walk with Christ, my wife has had Prison Ministry on her heart. Long time readers will understand fully why, if you are unfamiliar please read The Grey Door and you will understand a little bit more of our story and why it was put on her heart more so than mine. My wife has talents and gifts that differ from mine.
With her walk she is wishing to become ordained and in our current denomination the task would be high since just recently, at a very progressive Church of Christ, have they just now allowed women to give the communion prayers and help pass out the communion trays. Then the study of what we believe, as when one is going through the process the other is as well, we found that the tenants of the church did not match our own beliefs.
This is where the discussion reemerged about the possibility of looking at other churches. I have felt a bit isolated in growth within the church, but that is nothing new for me as I spend most of my “social” aspects of life in obscurity. I am thankful of that from time to time, but there is something missing in that opportunity to commune and share with others that understand your walk.
Each of us are at different places in life, but there are many things that lead us to where God is calling us next. There is a great comfort at the church that we are at now. People have accepted us and were there for us in the ilk of our beginnings. They loved us and nurtured us. They showed us the love of Christ that we needed oh so desperately, and they still do.
So why is it that we are being called to move our center of faith? There is a point in a Christian life that you make the decision to stay where you are, or to take the next step. I love the services and the worship experience, but there is something more that I know I must do. It is the reason I write these short articles, but this is not enough.
I have been praying about this possible change day after day as it is a scary one for me to make. The more that I pray and consider the more that I know that the change is the right one. It is not because of anything of the church, it is what God is calling me to do next. I have little to offer the people that I go to church with. I have little to offer the church itself, but there is need for someone like me elsewhere.
So when we pray and seek guidance and affirmation of what we are feeling, we have to be open to hearing it. We have to keep our eyes open and our hearts open to what God is asking us to do. God has plans for not only my wife, but myself and for that to occur he needs us to be where he can use us best. We must be willing to step out on faith and do what God is calling us to do.
My wife has started the process of Prison Ministry as well as becoming Ordained. For me, growth and understanding continues. God affirmed for me with stories and testimonies as well as the sermon from the preacher that I will be sacrificing time from with this move. Jeff is an amazing teacher and today the big question that he had for the congregation was what day of the last week of Jesus are you on.
The framing for the question walked through the week. Friday was the day that Jesus was put up on the cross and it was framed as a day of Sacrifice. Is there something that God is calling for me to sacrifice for his will? The answer is yes.
I am being asked to sacrifice the comfort and safety of Providence Road Church of Christ and everything that we have there to take steps to enter another congregation. Change is something that I am very slow with. I’m a little stubborn sometimes and want to ensure that I am making the right decisions, but today the answer was clear. It has been clear for about a month now, but now more than ever.
God has use for me somewhere else. It is time to grow in new ways. I do not know what exactly is in store, but I know that it is something that must be done. Through this walk I am reminded of all those that were called to act on faith.
Abraham, and his willingness to sacrifice his son because God asked him to out of faith. Noah, Jonah, David, Saul, Jesus and all the others. Peter’s noontime nap to face a Roman Soldier; so many times in the bible God has asked the silent or not so silent question of “Do you trust me?” You put your faith and trust in God and take the next step.
Where does the road lead? I don’t know, but let’s find out together. I am so thankful for all that God has given me and done through me already. I am thankful that through the storm he has given me strength to stand when I had none. I am thankful that the resolve has come through to do what is right and just. I am thankful for the trust that my wife has with her walk.
I am thankful that I could be her rock when the waters were rushing down. The secret to that one was the rock that I was hanging firm to was God and I was able to draw her near to it and keep her there. Most of the time when I hear the stories like I am sharing today, they are with a mission trip to somewhere scary, or a decision to move the family to another country. Those stories are far more impressive, mine is about changing the church that I go to on Sunday and dedicate my time to.
If PR has taught me nothing more, it has taught me that when God calls you listen and if you Love God and Love Others God will do amazing things if you just let him. My journey is not over with Providence Road Church of Christ, but it is time for me to bless another Church with the love that they have given me. A new purpose in life or just a chance to be Jesus to a few new faces, only time will tell. I put my faith in God and he has said it is time to move and so I move, because no one wants to end up whale food.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Ringsby