Jeremiah 29: 11-14
11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
This is still my favorite verse. It speaks of my struggle with God. At 50 I can say I have found Him, only because I have searched for Him with all my heart.
I have learned God has never failed me. He may have seemed absent, quiet, but in the end with hind sight I have come to realize He has always been there. It was usually my sin, rebellion, or lack of just general faithfulness that caused me to be unable to hear His voice or experience His presence.
Real friends are rare. Many use the term but few stand by you. Fewer still will speak truth in love and still stay on the journey with you.
Loving my Wife has taught me what it means to love my neighbor as myself. Loving someone requires you to be selfless. To be a better person than you want to be. It requires you to seek God in His Holiness to understand what not only love is but what it means to love another person. It perfects you because you have to see the ugly in yourself and submit that to God. As you allow God to purify you then you can better love others. She makes me a better man. She also love God more than me which inspires me for that same kind of relationship with the Father.
Tenacity is key to ministry. All the biggest blessings I have ever received came from not giving up. In this discipline you are forced to understand others, to hear and see them. To step outside yourself and meet people where they are. You also have to be sure of your Calling and know your core values. With these in tact you can with strength proceed even if it is alone.
Fight for the underdog. Be the voice of the voiceless. Be the helping hand of the weak, widows, sick and poor. This is the highest measure and expretion of true faith and Godly love.
Boundaries. I can not want your Best life more than you do. Learning where I end and you begin is critical to longevity and avoiding burnout.
There is always more I can learn. I have not achieved my academic goals yet but I strive to know more from God, professors, pastors, books and others. Every moment is a teachable moment. I may not have the letters behind my name but I have learned so much over the past half century.
My Crazy Loving Family. I have an amazing heritage. They have stuck with me through some tough times and we have celebrated some great time. Thanks Mom for always being a positive influence. Thanks Sis for being there and helping me keep my sanity. Thanks bro for believing in me and standing by me.
Giving. Never let hurts or disappointments keep you from giving. Give without expecting anything in return. Give even if it doesn’t always make sense. Always Give God more than He ask because I don’t deserve what He has given me.
Church. It is a messy, crazy group of people but we need each other. I honestly cannot imagine going through everything I have experienced without the prayers, encouragement, support and even the trials. We are far better together than apart.
Music. It has been my escape, comfort and voice. I have again not accomplished what I have wanted to but I have played with some amazing people. And I had a chance to share this part of my life with my Brother which has meant the world to me.
Forgiveness. Always forgive. Always work through your pain and with God’s help find a way to the other side. I am still working on this with a few people but with God’s help I have not allowed my pain to make me a bitter, callous man. I have learned to pray blessings over those who have hurt me and find a path into forgiveness even for those who have given me no voice.
People are valuable so treat them as such. Even the stranger is created in God’s image. I must view everyone I meet as His child. They may be marred with sin and pain but underneath everything there is a child of God waiting to be loved, encouraged, and to rise into their God ordained purpose.
Books. I have been all over the world and in the minds of every type of person. They have been my teacher, my companion, and my escape.
Motorcycle. My wind therapy. My time in prayer when I thought my life was over came on the back of a bike. Some of my greatest healing and resolve to carry on has happened while riding. I have also witnessed the wonders of being exposed in creation as God and I have toured this great nation together.
Prayer. Just being in the presence of God and hearing His voice has brought the most transformation and healing to my soul. Along with fasting and meditation the trinity of spiritual formation I have been molded like clay in the hands of the Great Potter.
The Bible. God has met me and changed my paradigms with the words of this book. It is always fresh and alive. Without the Holy Spirit in my soul it would just be another book, but with God’s guidance the words come alive and great excitement fills me as we journey to my Renewed Mind.
My 5 senses. Thank you God for each and how they all enhance this mortal coils experience.
This is not an exhaustive list nor is it in any proper order. I honestly dreaded this day. I believed I would be depressed. I however woke up feeling no pain in my body, my mind alert, and ready to conquer the world just like I was in my 20’s. I am a little wiser but no less resolved to use my life as an agent of Transformation to a lost and dying world.
I still believe will plant 10 more churches.
I still believe I will write at least 30-50 books.
I still believe I will record music from my soul and experiences.
I still believe I will live to 120.
I still believe that with God I can do all things.
I still believe people CAN CHANGE.
I still BELIEVE That Jesus Christ has saved me, the Holy Spirit has Sanctified me, and God has called me.