[O]k, so Scott has finished his blog and now it is my turn. For weeks I have been pondering the best way to describe the indescribable. I desperately want to paint a picture that will speak to the two or three readers of this blog and ultimately impress upon you the depth, the emotion, and the impact of this deeply personal wildly amazing journey. I am confident that my words and descriptions will be inadequate, so I will provide pen and paper and hand (actually fingers and keyboard) and let the Holy Spirit provide the words and inspiration. So on with the show…as my friend Dr. Issam Nemeh starts each prayer, “come Holy Spirit….”

This is the not-so-simple simple story about the journey of two ordinary men who meet a man of unshakable faith serving an extraordinary God.

You are going to have light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before the darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.
John 12:35

First a little background. For a gazillion years or so, I have been a “Christian”. Throughout that time, I have run the gamut from hot to cold to luke warm. I have attended big churches, medium churches and small churches and for a while, I was a regular attender of Bedside Baptist. I was a faithful “pew filler” singing when the singers sang and “amen”ing when the pastors pastored. What began as a passionate desire to seek God had somehow morphed into a self-centered expectation of “what can God do for me?” My Christian objectives were 1) to appease God, 2) maintain my salvation, and 3) be forgiven for my weekly accumulation of sin.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me”
John 10:27

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Luke 5:31-32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the last several years I have felt God tugging me out of my favorite place, a place known as…..the comfort zone.  Of course in my infinite wisdom, I chose to respond to God by engaging Him in a spiritual tug-o-war for control in my life.  Now if you think about it, there is a certain irony here…Me vs. GOD.  I wanted to control who God was in my life and He just wanted to be God in my life.  Not much of a stretch to figure out who won.  Not my finest moment.

With a spirit of gentleness (and a loving chuckle), God declared that the time for playing games was over.  It was time for me to understand who God in our relationship.  As my wife would say (albeit in a different context) I needed to know who the boss of me was.

In the beginning….

Genesis  1:1

You know that old adage “be careful of what you pray for because you might just get it?”

As I mentioned earlier, God had been tugging at me for some time.  He was asking me if this was it, if this was all that He should expect of me?  I felt this from the depths of my soul, I felt no pressure, no judgment, just a soft, almost understated tone.  I found myself asking if this was the pinnacle of what I have been taught is supposed to be the greatest relationship in my life?

I innately knew that God had so much more that He wanted to share with me and so much more that He wanted pour into my life (after all, it has been written into my heart).  It was clear, that God was about to bring a change of season into my life.  I was in agreement, God wanted more of me and I wanted more of God.  The problem is that surrender is not something that comes naturally to me, in fact I am highly allergic to it.  So, I decided to do a few things at church.  I began by agreeing to lead a “Wild at Heart” group of approximately 40 men at church, then I joined the men’s leadership team at church, then…blah, blah, blah…..you get the point.  Ultimately, I was lead to a place called Mary’s Kitchen, a place where the hungry come to be fed, to find companionship, compassion, love and sometimes a new start.  Mary’s became my “home” ministry and this is where the story really begins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If this were the book of Genesis, it would read something like this:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  Then He created Yorba Linda Friends Church, which begot leading a Wild at Heart group, which begot meeting David Hashimoto, which begot serving at Mary’s Kitchen, which begot an association with Joy Squared, which begot meeting a whole host of characters (Pam Riegel and Scott Denton in particular), which begot…which begot…begot it?  

Now, if you possess the same attention span that I do, you are likely asking yourself right about now other than boring me to death, what the heck do all of these “begots” have to do with anything?  Well, it serves to make only one single very important point….that there is no such thing as coincidence in God’s kingdom.