It was about seven and a half years ago when I made what could have been one of the biggest mistakes up to that point in my life. I was a personal trainer at the time with moderate success that year and trying to build the business. A few months earlier I believed that the Lord spoke to my heart saying, “I want all of you, now.” For clarity, I believed it was a call for full-time ministry. I was nervous and excited at the same time; however, I continued to attempt to build my business. Well God has a way of “leading” you into his perfect will. The business began to crash. I was left with just a few clients. I mean I couldn’t pay people to train with me at this point. My natural mind was thinking maybe I wasn’t a good enough trainer to build and sustain this business, but God was up to something.
A few months later I believed God was speaking to my heart once again, “Shut down the business today.” In that moment, I thought I was crazy! It just didn’t seem like the wise thing to do given the fact that I had rent and other bills to pay. I even heard that some who knew my situation was saying that I was foolish for considering such a decision. I reached out to a couple of my mentors and without speaking to each other they both said the same thing, “That sounds like God.” That was not what I wanted to hear. I actually wanted them to talk me out of it. While there was this trepidation in me to make such a bold decision, I did have a level of peace feeling that I knew this was what I had to do. So that day in September of ’07 I shut down my passion, my personal training business.
The next day I got a call from a friend who was looking for a personal trainer for her and five of her girlfriends. When she asked me I felt like immediately saying, “Yes!” Then this conviction within reminded me of the commitment I made just the day before to obey what I believed to be the voice of the Lord to my heart. I told her no. Still a bit unsure (faith doesn’t mean your mind and your will do not play games with you at times, see Jesus in Gethsemane in Luke 22:42), I received a call from her the next day and she informed me that her friends were deciding to train with one of the trainers from their gym. She didn’t need to call me back, I had already said no. It turns out that I would not have gotten them as clients anyway even if I had said yes. I learned that it was a test to see if I would go back on my word about stepping out on faith and TRUSTing God to move me into ministry full-time.
Not knowing what was going to happen, I got a call from Dusty Frizzell, the High School pastor at Shepherd of the Hills Church. Dusty would turn out to be one my best friends. God was confirming what I believe he had put in my heart! Through a series of events and interviews, I got the job doing what I love to do (discipleship and leadership training in the high school ministry). This opportunity would change my life for good.
During the last seven plus years I went from working with the high school ministry to leading the young adult ministry called “The Vine.” Here is what is interesting. This is how God confirmed for me that he has been working on me and with me much longer than I thought. My mother gave me a sheet of paper from old childhood clippings and memorabilia that she had kept. The paper she gave me was an old program from 1978 when I was in kindergarten participating in a school play. The name of the play was called “The Vine.” Well I do not believe in coincidences if there is a sovereign God that loves me and is involved in the activities of my day to day. It is not by chance that I would grow up to later be pastoring an awesome group of young adults at this ministry called “The Vine.” I don’t think it was by chance that my mother found the program when she did and gave it to me. It was a huge encouragement to me. After all, ministry is not for the faint at heart (35-40% of pastors leave the ministry, most after only five years).
Well my time at “The Vine” under the ministry of Shepherd church has come to an end. Once again I found myself having to make a decision that some would be surprised about, would think it may not be the best timing, or that it isn’t the wisest decision at all. I’m stepping out on faith after seven years serving at an incredible church. I’m stepping out to begin this new journey starting a ministry called “Own Your Faith.” Don’t worry; “The Vine” will still be a part of OYF. It will continue to be the worship service aspect of the ministry, whether mid-week or Sunday mornings. I had to continue to use that name in some way because of the sentimental reason outlined above.
While I will share more in the coming weeks about OYF, I only wrote this to share just a piece of my story (there is so much more) and hopefully encourage you to TRUST GOD! I shared in my last sermon at The Vine a couple of weeks ago that when God calls you to “Go” you can’t take comfort, convenience or even familiarity with you. He will always want to challenge and test your faith. It is what matters to him. First our faith in his son Jesus, and continued faith in his word, his principles, and his teachings.
This resurrection Sunday many people will, for the first time, put their TRUST in Jesus. Many will rededicate their lives to the Lord upon hearing the Gospel preached. There will be great celebrations in churches around the world as we reflect on the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God raised his Son from death, and from my experience he desires and has joy in resurrecting so many aspects of our lives day-to-day and year-to-year as long as we have breath. He will call us out to take steps of faith, to “walk on water” and TRUST him to use us in impactful ways.
Christians, if you only knew the gift in you, the gift of God himself, you would not be afraid to step into new seasons with him. Those who do not believe in Jesus, if you only knew the gift he desires to put in you, the gift of God himself. TRUST me on that.