Saturday, August 18, 2007

First Contact(s)

So there I was Thursday morning working on the 110 degree roof of a 10-story construction project in Scottsdale, AZ in full sun… sweating… breathing hard… thinking… praying… when finally the Lord spoke to me up there. It was a welcome word – especially since I hadn’t heard much encouragement from Him since I’d begun work on this construction site that week.

Anyway, as I was working and sweating and breathing hard, the Lord just whispered this to me (or something close to it), “Son, like this job, this life of real ministry and true discipleship will be much harder than what you experienced before.”

That was it. That was the word.

Okay, not the most warm and fuzzy affirmation in the world, but powerful and profound and full of life. I spent some time after that praying and talking with God about it. About how it really does seem that most institutional church ministries are primarily empowered and directed by people’s preferences and feelings. In contrast, discipleship is all about dying to self - a gospel that doesn’t fill many church parking lots with Beamers, H3’s or Lexuses (or is the plural Lexii?) on Sunday mornings.

First contact on the jobsite... like cool water to my thirsty soul.

Then, last night, my wife and I finally had our first date night in Arizona since arriving here. Oregano’s Pizza and an art exhibition in Phoenix. Upon arriving for dinner we stumbled across our friends, Matt and Erin, whom we hadn’t seen in nearly a decade. We hugged and caught up a bit until the hostess called them to their table. Aleta and I hugged ‘em goodbye and sat back down to wait for our table. 5 minutes later, Matt came back out, inviting us to sit with them in their booth.

That’s when the fireworks began. Besides being pregnant with twins, Matt and Erin have encountered some dramatic life changes lately that have left them… well… ripe and ready for whatever God may have for them next. They’re not attending any formal church but are aggressively participating in a small group Bible study. (BTW, Matt's done ministry before, gone to seminary, etc. These aren't new believers.) They’ve given up on the financial seduction of previous career opportunities to do what seems to best fit with the shape of their hearts. They’re attempting to sell their house and are open to destinations for moving – so long as it places them near supportive community. AND… on top of all that, Matt is a cop in Tempe – the area Aleta and I suspect God is calling us to! Matt's even familiar with the town-home community we have our eye on.

Yeah, I know... Weird!

We laughed over thin-crust and Fat-Tire about the divine fingerprints all over our unexpected double-date and this first-contact engagement with potential teammates we'd not thought of before. We’re going to gather with Matt, Erin, and a number of others soon to fellowship and pray for God’s leading in all our lives. Later in the evening, Aleta and I reflected with smiles about how we are more uninformed about God’s plan in all this than ever before and yet sense Him moving with greater power and urgency than ever before as well. In other words, we know increasingly less about where we’re going but sense we’re getting there in record-breaking time!

There is absolutely no doubt that God is getting all the glory in this one. "Lead on, Lord. In Your provision, we'll follow You anywhere."

“The mind of person plans their way; but the Lord directs their steps” (Proverbs 16:9).


David said...

Well said. :-)

Terry M. Goodwin said...

It is awesome to hear someone ready to follow. I look forward to hearing more of your 'warnings" from God. Get ready for a wild and exciting ride.

Duncan McFadzean said...

I guess it's a bit scary too? Well, at least you'll get more of a tan in heat like that! Looking forward to hearing what you discover over the next few weeks.

John Lynch said...

Thanks for the encouragement you guys. Wish I had more time to dialog on each of your blogs. I'm certain I'll be joining you over there soon as my energy levels have just begun leveling out and my schedule is beginning to gain a sense of normalcy. Again... I'm humbled and grateful for your presence and voice during all this!