It was a late night yesterday for me–or an early morning, depending on how you measure it–but it was awesome! I got home from the men’s group around 8:30, and I planned to talk with James and Seth about some issues going on. They were both gone, so cooked up a pizza then grabbed my guitar and spent some time worshiping. That was probably the best thing I could’ve done (the worship, not the pizza).
When they came home, I never got around to the issue I wanted to bring up. (In fact, worshiping and getting my heart right had made it no longer an issue, anyhow.) Instead, we talked about Jesus for the next 4 hours. We prayed, laughed, cried some even, spent some time worshiping, shared how Jesus has been leading us, shared our concerns and questions… It was great. I got to encourage both of them with the calling on their lives and challenge them to give themselves fully to that call. Man, it was great.
“Are you really sure you wanna leave?” I’ve been asked that question many times over the last few months. Partly, I think it’s asked because people will miss me here, but also I think it’s asked because things are starting too get exciting here.
A few years ago, when I first began to seriously consider leaving, the desire was born more out of frustration than anything else. I had grown tired of small town ministry, frustrated with watching people grow cold in their love for Jesus, and just plain weary of having few like-minded believers here. Basically, I had grown tired of my post, wanted out, and was contemplating shooting myself in my foot to get an early discharge.
But, though I was stir-crazy and worn out, I didn’t sense God’s permission for me to leave. So I hung in there. I figured I’d give it a few more years so I could end with a nice round 10 years of service under my belt.
I’ve been trying to post something every day, but the last few days have been just crazy. In a good way.
For starters, this has been a full week subbing. Counting when I head in today, it’ll be all five days. With preparing for Romania and then my normal ministry responsibilities and wanting to spend time with God, it became difficult to get on here.
Things have been good with subbing, though. I had a number of chances to talk to some of the staff about how I’ll be heading to Romania to work in missions. The conversations I had were all very encouraging. One of my biggest prayers, though, is that God would give me grace to use these conversations to spread the gospel. I want to do more than just inform; I want to share in a way that would bring conviction of sin and selfishness.
As I’ve been getting ready to go to Romania, I’ve found myself from time to time thinking through the last 8 years here in the River Valley. Sometimes, I find myself reminiscing, thinking about the kids I worked with who are now grown up. Other times, I think about what I would have done different. Other times, I think about how I’ve changed.
Tonight, I looked through my prayer letters, going all the way back to 2004 when I first started working here in Spring Green. (I’m planning to put a section in my next month’s letter titled “8 years in review.”) It was good to look back through the things that God has done.
This morning before heading off to work, I spent some time reading in 1 Samuel 8. The chapter begins, “And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel… His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.”
Recognize this anywhere? This is what happened probably 50 years ago with Samuel’s spiritual father Eli. In 1 Samuel 2, we read, “Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the Lord and the custom of the priests with the people… Thus the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for the men despised the offering of the Lord… Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.”
Just like dad.