I sit here at my home office desk and feel strongly that I need to put myself out there. I think the reason I began blogging 3 years ago has served many purposes. Most important is that it has been outlet for me to type out what is going on inwardly. It has also been a tool to encourage others to be genuine and authentic in their walk with Jesus.
I’m a firm believer we can all pretend and put on a mask or…. we can be honest and admit to messy spirituality. I think I’m entering a season in which my blog will become an authentic journey once again. I hope it helps you become more free as the words leap off the screen may it cause you to look inwardly and say “yeah, yeah I feel that way sometimes. yeah that hits the spot. and yeah I can be real at where I’m out with God and not worry about someone judging me or criticizing or anything else.
So here goes my quest to once again tap the keys and reveal my inner self. I have grown once again tired of the fake “hey everything is ok” life. For those of you that don’t know yet… The Well in its public gathering form will come to an end on December 19th. However, The Well will go on in the hearts of all of those it has impacted…… including mine. In the weeks and months ahead I will do my best to share my heart and reveal reasons why I believe it’s come to this. So….. began a new venture with me as I process all of this. I want to communicate openly and honestly with where I’m at right now and move from there onward. Here goes:
My prayer this morning was “give me complete peace and rest to my soul“. My spirit, heart, soul, mind everything has been depleted through everything with The Well from starting, enduring, and now finishing. With everything with my surroundings my reserves have been withdrawn. I’m entering a season again in which my spirit, heart, soul, long to spend extended times in the presence of God where we’ve been told is unspeakable joy. I want that joy. I don’t want resentment. I don’t want unforgiveness any longer. I don’t want to hold feelings. I want a clean slate.
My mind says bring on a new venture and even piece of my heart longs to get back into reaching people, serving with a purity I’ve never known before as I felt several years ago before our motivations had to change to build a “church business”. I long for that purity again, the missionary mindset that I’ve been tailor-made to play it with my life, and not the manager mindset that is engraved in ministers. Amy and I feel the pressure unspoken from everyone around us “Why don’t you just make it easy on yourselves, your denomination, your family, and all the A/G members and just give in, you won’t have to deal with any resistance any longer, no more hurt no more pain no more hoops and no more troubles. Just do what you’ve been trained and educated for and get on the open church list and just be a traditional A/G Pastor?”
Then I hear my Lord say, “Ricky stay the course that I have been calling you towards. It’s a road much like the one I took. It is a road less traveled. A road marked with hardly any support from your so-called brothers and sisters. It’s a journey that will tap into every ounce of faith you’ve ever imagined. It will cause you to stay so closely behind me that if I whisper you must be close enough in the dust of my sandals to hear it. It will be the most exhilarating path you’ve known yet. However, it will be the most difficult. It won’t be easy. Many days you’ll feel like just giving up and giving in. Many days you’ll grow weary and tired of all the negative comments, the judgement people place on your calling and your dreams.
You’ll often ask, “Why is that the people closest to me that should be supportive are not?”. I’ve called you to carry your own cross, endure tribulations and persecution for my name and my calling. As you completely sold out do this, people will misunderstand and not agree, but you will never please them. All I ask is that you obey my voice, my leading, and please me. Your efforts will go unrewarded in this life time, but a crown is coming in your other life. I’m deeply proud of you Ricky for saying yes when everyone is unwilling. You’ve stepped out of the box, you’ve stepped out of comfort and safety, and willing to take gigantic risks for me. The people who need me can only have me if it comes through your love that they see.
There’s 10’s, 100’s, and 1000’s of people who will never be influenced to change and step into a relationship with me, trust my bride the church, unless you step out and never look back. These people will never step into a church building. You are raw, unstructured, and go against the grain. That doesn’t work inside a denomination of four walls of a church. As you saw with my example, Jesus, it didn’t work for him either. Why?
Because I made you to not be that way. You will be frustrated and others will be frustrated with you as long as you try to fit that mold. The reward? You aren’t fit to exhaust your energies and focus on those that already know me. You don’t have to spend your time programming ministries to please them, their kids, their families, so they can go to a weekly meeting to check off a good person list. They aren’t doing anything risky for my Kingdom. They are completely bored with their faith and so have nothing else to do then cause inward problems. They spend almost all their money on themselves. Your reward? I’ve called you out of that mentality.
Your reward? You get to spend your energies, your focus, your passion, on those that need me the most. Like me, I’ve called you to spend your time with sinners, people I love and that are far from me. There’s something I’ve placed in you that rubs the church folk wrongly, but rubs the unchurched rightly. The church folk are jealous of that gifting and wish they had it. It’s an authentic genuine, lack of judgmental and legalism that attract those far from me. It’s the gift that caused an unchurched friend who fled me over 15 years ago, to run with you and run again. He felt something in your words, in your actions, and saw something in your eyes. It was not like Rocky “eye of the tiger”, it was the Lord “eye of the lion”. I love you so much Ricky that I’ve invested so much in you. Please have patience. Your time is coming again.
Give people forgiveness for not understanding you and your call. Remember, my own brother James didn’t believe me until he saw the scars. Remember, one of my best friends Peter said that the way of the cross was the wrong path for me. My denomination, my religious leaders in my day, told me I should wear a crown and live in a palace. They said there’s no way the Messiah could be born in a horse trough. They bashed where I was born and said nothing special could come from there. That hurt deeply. It hurt when James wouldn’t believe in me, much like you feel some family hasn’t. You need to forgive them as he loves you deeply and his actions were misunderstood. When I was at my lowest point and needed my closest friends to pray for me, they went to sleep. I asked for the help several times and they weren’t supportive. Ricky, I know exactly how you feel. You’ve endured so much already, you are running your race, you are fighting your fight, and you are keeping your faith.
Hang in there a new season approaches that will be amazing. It’s going to be far beyond what you can imagine. But…. the grass isn’t greener, you will still endure persecution. As long as you choose this path, you’ll always find resistance. If the day comes where you don’t then you need to check yourself because you’ve defaulted back to the safety zone. 99% of those that say they’ve been “called” really have nestled themselves in safety and never even have to use their faith. Their prayers are superficial and it is more like a wish list then a desperation list. Your little boys will grow up admiring the steps of a true man of God that is relentless to chase after me and that’s your #1 responsibility. Camden and Cale are going to be warriors for the Kingdom and I’ve chosen you to model to them what it means to be a warrior, face painted, on a stallion with sword in hand on the front lines.
Sacrifice your life for me so they can see and learn themselves. I’ve given you a “steady stream of stability” in your wife Amy that is as rock solid in her faith and commitment to me, but has proven with her family a commitment to you that most husbands never find. Amy truly is and has shown a pearl, a treasure you have found. She told you nearly 10 years ago in a family life center, “I will go with you”. She didn’t know what that meant then, but I’ve given her the inner strength to do it. Her family, her denomination, what was expected was for her to marry someone safe, someone who would Pastor a large A/G church in Oklahoma. It would have required nothing of her but to play a role and wear a smile. She too is called to go down this path with you. Treat her as a lamb, with gentleness, with respect and love.
Hold steady. Stay the course. Remain calm. Move slowly. Stay committed. Follow me. You are my warrior. You are my chosen and called. It is costing you. How far are you willing to go with this before you give in? Right now is your temptation. Right now it can go away. Right now you can throw in the towel. Or….. choose the road less traveled. Raising support is going to be tough. It’s going to take longer then you thought. But….. Ricky there’s Boulderites I love and I need you there. Will you endure? Will you go?
I reply. “Yes Lord anything for you. All I ask is never leave me.”