1 Cor. 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am…” http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+15%3A10&version=ESV
I remember when I was eight years old, sitting in my house and I had a song come into my head. I had somewhat recently gotten into rock music and the lyrics that came were, “And the old man died.” Those were not lyrics from a song I knew but lyrics that rose up in my head from my heart. It was in that moment, I realized my child hood dream was to become a rock star. That was perfect for me since I had been falling in love with hair bands lie Warrant, Poison, Guns-N-Roses, Skid Row and Motely Crue, just to name a few. In my mind, I was ahead of the game!
While I would continue to love rock music through the years, finding the time to play an instrument would become one of the greatest challenges in my life. I was given small opportunities through the school system to learn the piano, the guitar and percussion. I was never really able to do a great job at any of them. The only thing I could do was write lyrics-that was something that came to me only after my conversion to the faith.
I finally had my so called “big break” while I was a senior in high school. I met another guy, Dan Heroy, who was at that time a freshman or sophomore, and he played guitar. We were able to begin discussing the idea of starting a band at a concert we went to-it featured two local bands, one band which went to our small school. To me, this was my dream becoming fulfilled.
Over the next several months, Dan and I would rehearse and practice and cultivate our sound together. I would write lyrics and hand them over to him and he would put give the song life by turning it into an actual song. Dan played the guitar and vocals while I played the drums and had a few spots of singing, but not much.
Dan and I were given the opportunity to showcase our talent at small gathering for his dads work. Other than that, we really didn’t go anywhere. We just continued to play our music and work on our sound but nothing really came out of that.
School had ended and I continued to play with Dan throughout the summer months but I realized I needed to begin thinking about the future. I knew at this point in time college wasn’t all that interesting to me and through conversations I had with others, the armed forces became an opportunity.
I struggled with the idea of leaving behind the band, even though it was just Dan and I, because I thought this was God’s way of giving me my dream. I felt like I had to protect it at all costs but the harder I tried to do that, the more I realized that this was not something that would pan out in the end. With a heavy heart, I discussed my future plans with Dan of enlisting in the US Air Force and had to leave the band. Dan was very understanding and simply wanted the opportunity to record the few songs we had managed to put together.
While I was in the Armed Forces, I had a small part to play in a church worship band, serving as a backup drummer, if needed and a background vocalist. While I enjoyed my short time with the worship band, I was not under the impression it was something that would take off. Each member of the band was already serving in the armed forces and we all knew we could be deployed in a moment’s notice. Once again, I found myself leaving the band behind.
I would continue to write lyrics here and there and I often wondered where God really wanted me. These thoughts became more active and real after I left the Armed Forces and had to, once again, think about my future. I grew up with the idea that I wanted to be a rock star. That dream didn’t seem to become a reality to me. Truth be told, I was getting older and had no real concrete plans for myself. The doors of opportunity were few and far between and most of the time, didn’t lead to greater opportunities.
Something I don’t discuss often is a new love I discovered while serving in the US Air Force. Due to the nature of my job, I was constantly training and reviewing my job expectations and reviewing the checklists I had to go through. I began falling in love with the idea of teaching and training others and once again it didn’t happen often but when it did occur, I felt right at home. I felt comfortable and I felt like I was just doing something right.
After a few years of being removed from the military, God began to gently press his desire into my heart, to preach and teach his word. As I am sure I have mentioned in previous posts, preaching/teaching goes against my natural instinct because of my fear of public speaking. Truth be told, I am far too self-conscious about myself and that is enough to refrain from that kind of a life. Yet, still I went with it. I discussed it over with my pastor and began taking courses in an undergraduate theology program.
While I attended school, I have had a number of opportunities open up. Most of them have been small but I have taken them all on. I was given opportunities to serve through teaching children for children’s ministry, adult Bible studies and guest preaching at church. This all led to my eventual ordination into pastoral ministry.
Prior to my ordination, I was serving as a member in a newly established church plant, Living Waters Community Church, led by Pastor Dave Bentley. He took the time to take me under his wing and allowed me the opportunity to serve until such a time where he recognized the call on my life and ordained me.
As I look back on my life, I can see God’s hand leading me, ever bit slowly down the path I would eventually take. For me, I would have most definitely taken the road to be in music-but in spite of my best efforts, I never really learned how to play any instrument well. (I did okay on the drums, that’s about it.) I never learned how to read music and there’s a reason I never tried out for American Idol.
Did God abandon me because he didn’t give me the desires of my own heart? Of course not, he lovingly replaced the desires I built in with his own. I love the idea of teaching the Scriptures to people, I love the idea of sharing the gospel with others, and I love the idea of sermon preparation. I love the local church and I love serving in the local church.
God put me on the path to teach others his word and that is what I intend to accomplish. God’s call led me to leave behind the life I wanted for myself, God’s love compelled me to continue in this path and God’s grace is what empowers me to do what I do. It is not I but rather Christ in me accomplishing his purpose and his will through my life.
There are still days and seasons that are a wilderness experience for me; there are times in my life when I simply don’t know where God is leading me or where he wants me to be. In those moments, I do sometimes wonder if I am following the right path. In those moments I do wonder if I am living out what God wants me to live out. I have had a limitless number of rejections from churches that I’ve applied to, I’ve had to deal with the backstabbing of others and dealt with church members who don’t like the way I do things. (It comes with the territory I know).
So it all comes down to trusting in the person of Jesus and knowing that his word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path. A lamp will illuminate only the next step; a light reveals an even greater distance we are to travel. In both cases, the light is there to reveal that we are to simply take the next step.
I don’t know what the future holds or what church I will serve in next or when I will preach my next sermon. I’m not on the path for me though; I’m following Jesus and right now, I am where God wants me. For that, all I can say is thank God; I’m not a rock star!