Notes from my journal
(This Sunday we celebrate 10
years of ministry in Detroit.)
Things I’m learning today
… that I had NO clue about 10 years ago.
It’s OK that everyone isn’t pumped about your passions.
- When we moved to plant in Detroit we were certain God had sent us and therefore we expected that everyone else would joyfully and generously support us.
- Some people discouraged us to even come to Detroit — especially with 3 small girls at the time.
- Some people avoided me — probably because they knew I would ask to be their missionary (which means ‘I need some money’).
- Some took a wait and see position. IF we didn’t give up, perhaps they would back us later…
- Others had things that they were passionate about that I probably totally missed (because I was so focused on my assignment).
We have to learn that it’s ok that others don’t get all excited about the thing that we see as God’s highest priority. Don’t become jaded because they don’t cheer, or give or promote.
How you measure success could be totally wrong.
- I had seen things (ministries) grow AMAZINGLY fast in my last two youth ministries prior to coming to Detroit.
- Hundreds and hundreds were impacted weekly
- We were winning & discipling teens all the time! Our city knew about us, the schools all knew about us, the media knew about us — we were rocking our world for Christ. We were growing so fast that it was like controlled chaos!
This didn’t happen quite so fast when we planted.
- I guess the roots required to support the fruit we hoped for, would have to push through some concrete-hard soil. We would have to pray harder, wait longer, believe greater and remain faithful. This where is character develops. Intercession, fasting & perseverance are necessities.
- Sure, we’ve grown and we’ve moved forward. New buildings. New communities.
- People may not see the huge numbers (fruit) yet, but IF they could only see our roots, WOW!
You’re calling is connected to obedience and faithfulness. So, stick to it.
People who love you are capable of detesting you. Love them anyways!
- Yeah, this one stings a bit. Always does.
- I’ve never had a moral failure, I’ve never embezzled funds , I’ve never abused my kids, I’ve never been unfaithful to my wife, I’ve never split the church and I’ve never tried to hurt people.
- Yet, I’ve hurt people, offended people and let others down.
- Some can’t stand the mention of my name.
- Most of these were those who were once close — very close — but, I pushed too hard, was indifferent to their struggles and challenged them to extremes in holiness.
- I didn’t listen enough.
- I thought out loud – became too vulnerable – revealed my kryptonite.
I don’t think you can question my love — I loved! But, imperfectly.
- Some appeared to be loved more than others. He has ‘favorites’ or ‘a clique’ … this was never intentional but I also did not push away those that preferred being closer.
Ultimately, things changed with and/or in them. I missed it.
- I was expected to know, embrace and follow a script that I had never been given. I let them down unintentionally (but that’s probably not how they saw it). “How could I be so clueless?” I am.
The pain is always more severe because it involves my wife and kids. They are rendered victims to misunderstandings and shattered expectations. They get cut-off & kicked in the stomach with no explanation. People who said they loved them, disappeared without a goodbye and after saying they would always be there for them (should we ever say ‘always’??)…
So, I simply try to keep the bridges from burning between us. I learn from each heart break. Apologize. Forgive. LOVE.
- I pray that they will, one day, remember: the spiritual investment I have made — the good times — the adventures — the things that matter.
- I pray that they will remember that we are not enemies. That we are fighting the same monster and these hurts & feelings are distractions from our mission.
And, I keep getting close to NEW people. This isn’t always easy. The door of our lives and home continues to swing open. We continue to believe in others. We continue to do our best to make disciples. We continue to love.
Miracles happen daily. Don’t miss them!
- Oh sure, we all believe in miracles.
- I pray for HUGE miracles all the time. But, here’s something I’ve missed SO often: ‘little’ miracles.
- While seeking the jumbo offering, new church building, qualified staff, supernatural healing and other big-time miracles, FIGHT to see and revel in the little things!
- People are changing, hearts or softening, doors are opening, someone is smiling, your spouse still adores you, friends love you, people are growing closer to Jesus, bills are getting paid, leaves are changing on the trees, you smell good coffee, the car started, God spoke your name in prayer today, you had milk for your cereal this morning, you remembered something and Hey! You’re ALIVE!
- Shout, dance, sing and enjoy these daily miracles.
- They are dress-rehearsal for the bigger miracles that ARE COMING SOON!
Never become so focused on the BIG — it’s gonna take a miracle — stuff that you miss the wonderful miracles happening constantly all around you. Find yourself praising God at various times and in unique places.
Be sure to check out Part Two next!