Like King Herod, at the birth of Jesus, we resist the Kingdom of God breaking into our world. Sometimes people forget that God doesn’t come into our world like a tyrant and terrorist, but rather God comes near as a offering of peace, like a little child. God’s Kingdom is breaking into this dark world to take over your kingdom of selfishness and pride. Is it possible that we act like King Herod in our resistance to God’s Kingdom also? We need to be like the wisemen who came seeking proximity to Jesus, bringing gifts of worship to the Savior. We all, like King Herod, have gone astray, but God has come for us like only the Missionary God can.
Category Archives: Transition
What does it take to make your marriage count for the long haul? How do you commit to one another for a healthy marriage that will reap a harvest? We look into the context of Galatians 6, reaping and sowing for your marriage, and discover together the gift of faithfulness that will last. Join us for this refreshing look into covenant fidelity.
I resonate with that thought, for sure… but at the end of the year, it’s good to evaluate just a little.
Deuteronomy 8:2 says, “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”
This was written about the people of God in the Old Testament, but let’s break this into pieces for us:
Remember… One the most powerful words in the Old Testament of the Bible is “remember”. Why? Because we so easily forget. We move forward so quickly, so often, moving to the next thing in life w/o evaluating our learning experiences. God calls us to remember, so that our current situation might be more full of life and meaning.
… how the Lord your God led you all the way… Wait! The Lord continues to lead us, not just a little ways, but “all the way”. We can’t help but think of Romans 8:38-39, where nothing can separate us from the love of God. So, God leads us through everything, good & bad, for His good. We don’t see that bad things can lead us to God’s good for us, but it’s true, and leads us to the next idea…
… in the wilderness… God leads us through the wilderness of life, but remains with us in the valley. Like Psalms 23 where the Lord leads the Psalmist through the valley of the shadow of death, thank God that He doesn’t leave us there, but leads us through it. How could something so painful in my life turn out to be anything good for me? God only knows how these kinds of things work out because he sees it all and understands the outcome.
Why did God take them through the wilderness? … to humble and test them, in order to know what was in their heart… Let’s be honest, doesn’t that sound mean of God to humble us and test us? It only sounds mean from our perspective, but not from God’s. He wants to evaluate what is in our heart. He has every right to want to know how committed we are to following Him and to know how much we are in love with Him.
If you’re a parent, don’t you desire to know what your kids are thinking, or feeling? Doesn’t it warm your heart to know they love you? Some of the hardest times of parenting are when your kid is apathetic or lethargic. So, wouldn’t it be God’s desire to know what’s in the heart of the people who call Him Father?
… to know whether or not you would keep his commands… ouch!!! I don’t think there’s much to say about this portion. Not one of us has kept the commands of God this year, though we so desire it in our heart. God’s infinite wisdom comes into play here where His own Son was the sacrifice for our sin in this regard. Since no one can keep the commands of God, Jesus is the only way to establish perfect relationship with God the Father again.
Do you have a relationship with Jesus? Not just believe in him, even the demons believe in Jesus… but do you know him personally?
I don’t know how you evaluate your 2012, but I know this, God the Father loves you with an inescapable love, and your 2013 depends on knowing Jesus.
Whether or not you like to evaluate your past, there’s something to evaluate at the end of this year, with just a few hours left of it.
Ask yourself these questions:
– Did I think to remember God leading me through the wilderness(es) of my year?
– Did I trust that God was leading me for His good purposes?
– Could the events in my past 12 months do anything to lead me closer to God?
– Am I going to honor God with the possible “wilderness” events that are coming in 2013?
– How can I remember God in all the ways He leads me from now on through the coming year?
Happy, or not so “happy” New Year?
May we always remember how God leads us for His good, to know what’s in our heart and draw us closer to Him.
I once preached a message to high school students at Covenant Point Bible Camp and said, “Change is hard, but change is good.” The youth group students at that camp continued to message me on FB for months after that reminding me about the difficulties of changes in their lives, while remaining optimistic about the blessings of change that God revealed to them.
Shortly after that time of speaking at camp, I would face significant change in my life personally because the church where I was serving in a 7-year call as Pastor of Student Ministries decided to “let me go” due to financial constraints and budget cuts. That was Mother’s Day 2011, just before the falsely predicted apocalyptic “end of the world” was supposed to take place on May 21, 2011. I was secretly hoping that the doom’s day predictors were right this time.
I was turning 42 years old, and after serving in youth ministry for 22 years, I didn’t want to start over again. I was ready to “hang ’em up” and find some kind of “other” calling for a while, but God must have had other plans for us. I was asked to preach a final sermon at the church I was exiting. I was reluctant to preach about God walking with you in the circumstances of your life, but He gave me strength to publicly forgive the leaders who just 2 weeks prior had altered the course of my life… again. I preached on Mark 6 where Jesus walks on the water. No matter the storms in your life, Jesus is always with you.
Our family of 4 traveled to the FEAST in Estes Park, Colorado for a week of fantastic connections and spiritual refreshment. We departed from Estes Park, drove East through Greeley, Colorado to take a look at a young church plant that we heard may be looking for a new lead pastor. It smelled like cows in Greeley, so we all wrinkled our noses and sort of shrugged our shoulders at what God might be doing next in our lives.
We flew to Panama City, Panama for a 2 month sabbatical rest as a family. We did all the sight seeing and exploring that our little rental car could muster, attempted to learn some Caribbean-Spanish, made balloon animals for nationals, zip-lined and taught our 13 & 11 year old kids how to drive a stick shift car too. We learned to relax and take in the pace of rest while God spoke to our hearts through 1st & 2nd Samuel all summer. At the end of the summer I went to Zion National Park, Utah with 14 college buddies and hiked the Narrows and learned to push my body physically beyond what I thought was capable for a week. We laughed and reminisced with one another before praying for our future ministries and blessing each other.
Just one week later, I received a phone call from Crossroads Greeley church in Colorado asking for a conversation about becoming their next lead pastor. My wife and I prayed like we had learned to pray in transition, asking for God’s best to come through… even past what we think is best. One conversation with Crossroads Greeley led to another and another. We were asked to visit them for a weekend just prior to November 1, 2011 when my severance pay would run out. We were overwhelmed with the Spirit of God leading us and giving us peace as we remained incognito during the weekend visit.
We were asked to candidate for the lead pastor position on November 13th, so we brought our kids with us and I preached my heart out. They voted for us that night, and I was called to be their next lead pastor. We remember flying back to Seattle with tears of joy in our eyes for how God has been so faithful to His calling over the years. We know that change is hard, but change is good and we know that a story of redemption like this doesn’t happen to everyone. We had to begin to process what it would mean to sell our house, move our kids out of 8th and 6th grades and uproot friendships to move once again.
Crossroads was gracious to let me have a start date of January 2012, so I packed up my little car with as much as it would hold and made the trek across country alone on January 3rd. I preached my first sermon on January 8th and have been living with a family from the church for the past nearly 5 months. My wife and kids have been trying to sell the house so they can move out to Greeley and join me in this adventure. We just secured the sale of the home, so I’m flying to Seattle tomorrow to pick them up, pack the truck and drive them to Colorado for this ministry calling.
I’ve learned some lessons about the past year of transition. God is always on the move. He is always looking for us to remain humble in whatever setting He has chosen for us and we must walk in faith to hear His voice. I’ve learned so much about intimacy with God through this transition and I’ve drawn strength in knowing that God draws near to the broken hearted and makes His intimate relationship known when we draw near to Him. I don’t have it all figured out, but I sense that God wants me to hold life loosely and trust His lead, no matter the storms in my life. I’ve also learned that what appears to be “the end of the world” for me, is really just a fork in the road of God’s journey… and He knows where He wants me to serve, more than I may know myself.
As the calendar turns one more round on the spindle, and we make our way toward another year, I have a question.
What stands out in your past year, or so, as moments where God has broken through “time on a clock” (chronos time), to get you to recognize “opportunity time” (kairos time) in your life and for those in your family?
These are some of our family kairos moments where we sensed God’s presence more clearly in our life. It’s like the atmosphere between God and us became “thinner places” and we knew God was getting our attention:
10. Coming home from a mission trip to Guatemala with our youth group from Pine Lake Covenant, when Pastor Chris asked me to meet only to tell me he was resigning as our lead pastor (June 2010). God began to ignite a passion inside me that would only fan into a flame a year later that I might become a lead pastor.
9. Attending the Pacific Institute’s 3-day conference to learn about how our brain is wired to see opportunities that come our way. I sat in the first-day of opening session and Brad, the instructor said, “Ok, take a moment and write down where you’d like to see yourself in 5 years.” I took pen to paper, and heard a voice in my spirit, “Reid, you’re ready to be a lead pastor now.” (12/12/2010 at 10:00am). Could this be God’s way of getting my attention? Is God really up to something new in my life?
8. Feeling a bit demoted when Pine Lake hired an interim pastor (no offense) to lead the staff and preach more while searching for a full-time lead pastor. I had taken on the role of leading the current staff, preaching a little more and feeling like my leadership gifts were growing. (Feb.2011) What could be God’s intention with ‘not being asked’ to lead more at Pine Lake? God must be up to something that I just can’t see.
7. Mission trip to Soldatna, Alaska to speak for a friend’s youth group for a week. (April 2011) I love speaking to youth & young adults on mission, or at camp, or in leadership. God is growing a gift of speaking in me and I love to express it whenever, and wherever I am able. I’m at Mission Springs, CA (near Santa Cruz) speaking this week for an end-o-the-year winter Young Adult retreat even now as I write this. God is using my speaking for His good for some reason. I don’t even think I’m that good at it.
6. “Reid, you’re the one we’ve decided to release from Pine Lake staff.” What???!!! “Why me?” I was at a loss for words and could hardly process what was being said. “We keep praying for how to move forward as a Leadership Team, and no kidding, we keep hearing your name when any of us are in prayer.” His words didn’t make sense then (May 2011), but it’s all making sense now. I cried out to God, “God, why would you let this happen now?” “What are you thinking? God… where are you?” God gently said to me, “I’m with you and your family, Reid. Just wait… you’ll see, it’s going to be better than you could ever have imagined. I know what I’m doing. You don’t see it, but I do.”
5. We packed our things as a family of 4 and headed to Estes Park, Colorado for a week at the FEAST with the Evangelical Covenant denomination and were on retreat with 400 some Covenanters and saw God at work (June 2011). This is where we cried out to God for His leading in our family through all the dark questions of our soul. “What could you actually be doing in our family that could include career change at this point?”
4. PANAMA – our little family took a 2 month sabbatical time in Playa Blanca, Panama at a friend’s condo on the beach.
We were overwhelmed with “peace” in the summer; nothing to do, no agenda to keep, nothing to accomplish, no time limits, no traditions to keep, nothing that hindered our decisions for better family time. We taught our kids how to drive a stick-shift car, we tried new foods, swam in 80 degree waters, slept in till noon… “God, thank you for meeting us here in another part of the world. You were here the entire time, and we have failed to notice how you were orchestrating our lives.” (July-August 2011)
3. Trip through the Zion National Park “Narrows” with 10 of my best college buddies from Biola University. We hiked the slot-canyons of the park, and outside the park and were met by God’s beauty of creation, God beauty of relationships and communication, God’s intention of speaking truth into one another’s life as men, God’s idea of community and we relished in laughter and memories as we pushed our physical 40-yr-old bodies to the limit. (August 2011) God you are with us all along.
2. “Hello, this is Crossroads Greeley Church in Colorado. Can we talk about you becoming our next lead pastor?” Wow, only 4 days after coming home from Panama and the trip in Zion, and I’m already being recruited. (September 2011) God began a conversation between the search committee of Crossroads Greeley and our family in WA. Our conversations flowed easily and clearly through the Holy Spirit. God is up to something and He’s letting us in on His great plans. Thank you God for taking us through the kairos moments of this year, so we could get to this one.
1. “The member vote is unanimous. Welcome to Crossroads Greeley as our new lead pastor.” (November 13, 2011) God is clear about moving us from one amazing ministry to another. Saying goodbye to 7 years of formative youth ministry has been one of the most painful experiences this year, but being welcomed to lead a growing, vibrant, alive church of faith in Greeley is going to be a fresh expression of God’s kairos moments in our faith history.
If you were to take a snapshot of 2011, looking at your kairos “opportunity” moments… what would you see? Where is God in your moments of crisis, loss, grief, success, failure? Do you see where God may be leading in your life through kairos moments in time as opportunities for growth in your faith with God?
One of my all time fav verses in the book of Acts comes from Apostle Paul’s encounter on Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17:24-28). Paul says, “Rather, he [God] himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” God created us to be born in these days, at these locations, and times so that we might seek him and reach out for him.
God is not far from any one of us. God has given us “kairos” opportunity moments so that we might ‘notice’ His activity in our lives, and so that we might reach out for Him and find Him. God is not far from any one of us. Are your eyes open? Are you looking for God in your moments? My challenge for you in 2012 is to practice “noticing” God’s activity in your life. Write them down, it’s a great reflection.
Happy New Year.
As I pulled into the Pancake House parking lot, I thought to myself… “What are people going to think of me walking out to this lot near the on ramp of 520?” It must have been a fleeting thought because as soon as I grabbed my camera bag and tripod, locked the hatch of my car and slammed the door, I didn’t care what people might think.
I crossed the street at the crosswalk as busy commuters were traversing home after a long day at their keyboards. I jogged into the field near the on ramp and set my backpack in the grass, unzipped the camera portion and ripped the velcro from the tripod straps and went to work.
These are some of the prettiest batches of poppies I’ve seen in quite some time, and they are artistically smattered by the hand of our Creator God all over this field near the highway. I drive onto this on ramp a few times a week and pass this batch of flowers each time and wonder how God is so consistently gracious to each of us, and reminds us of his beauty with wildflowers once in a while.
Each time a car drove past this field, that day, I thought to myself behind the lens as I kneeled in the dirt, “Are they looking at the flowers, their cell phones, or maybe they’re looking at me taking pictures of God’s art.” What do you think of how people look at you? Did you know that you are more beautiful than the flowers in a field. God cares for you more than he cares for flowers. Not to say that God doesn’t care for his creation, for we know that he does, but God can have relationship with you as a person within which can dwell his Holy Spirit. A flower can’t experience the life changing powerful grace of the Holy Spirit.
As I continue to ponder “trust in God” by not worrying about the future, I am captured by Jesus’ words in Matthew 6 that we are not to worry. “vs.28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” God is really sovereign. He knows what He’s doing and remains in control.
I walked back to my car, I noticed that the red stop light, correlated to the red brake lights and the red poppies all over the field. I stopped for a moment on the Hwy on-ramp to take in a moment of God’s creation, in the middle of the bustle of life, managed to pause to hold my breath behind my camera lens and make some photos that remind me of God’s beauty in the makings of our life.
May you come to find that you don’t have to worry. Really, you don’t. Take time to look at your surroundings, even fields of flowers on the on-ramps of life. I’m still learning to trust God for his wonder in my life as I anticipate the next ministry on-ramp after a summer of wonder. Please join me as we pray for God’s call.