Shameless Audacity: The Orange Headed Warbler
Moving right along, we are onto Chapter 5 of Shameless Audacity, with Cory Page. If this is your first time reading be sure to catch up:
I said before that something happened in my own life, but not at first. First, I needed to see my need in the needs around me. After understanding the nature of the hat rack, God moved to my hat collection. I write curriculum for teenagers. I also outline and edit children’s curriculum. This is not what I was trained to do. I always saw myself as a pastor. I don’t know of anyone in seminary who hopes for a life without organized church work, yet this is where I find myself, in an out of the box ministry. Occasionally stepping one foot outside the box is exciting.
Parking an RV with extended sides and a satellite dish outside box is scary and lonely. It is similar to camping. While camping outside the hassles of normal life, you may see that elusive Orange-Headed Warbler, but you would appreciate a hot shower in the world of normal people every now and then.
If you are a minster, you already know this. If you are not, you need to know this. Every emotion felt by a minster is multiplied in his wife. When a man camps, he builds the fire, fishes, and sets up the tent. Camping is fun and done by bedtime. When a woman camps, she does all the things that make home feel like home, but without electricity or running water. I feel lost at church because I am not preparing sermons or visiting little old ladies, but at least I am still that “guy who writes that curriculum for Jesus.” My wife is just that guy’s wife. She is no longer in the role she prepared for, first lady of the church. While chasing this ministry, we moved back to my home town. By that, I mean a town where my wife is not in any of the cliques or families. No one is rude, but a town of 500 people tends to have a family mentality. Marrying in to the family is close to, but not the same as, being in the family. More than anything, for my sake and for the sake of the love of my life, I want to know if this is truly the path God has for me. I love this ministry, but the benefits are causing bruises. This ministry is ripe for the picking for that person that actually trained for this. God, is this Your plan for me?
I prayed this passionately. I began with accepting God as Father. I prayed for His name to be hallowed. Then, I did as always. I hoped for an answer, but did not plan to hold my breath. I thought to myself, “Maybe I just need a little faith.” Even questioning God felt a little wrong. If I had faith, I would just lean forward and wait for God to catch me. Before this prayer would ever gain traction, the idea of faith (or the lack thereof) needed a facelift.
By well intentioned people, I was taught that faith was sitting in that spiritual chair, hoping it would hold me. THAT IS NOT FAITH. As I study pistis, the Greek word for faith, I find that faith is confidence based on fact. Faith is not doing something blindly, hoping God will confirm it. Faith is doing something God has confirmed, even though it may not make much sense. Gideon did not attack the Midianites with pots and trumpets and pray, “God, I hope this is your will. Please make this work.” Gideon first heard this strange plan from God and then acted on it. He blindly trusted in what God confirmed.
The lesson in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 has been confused. Yes, those amazing people sought a city built by God which they had never seen. That is only half the lesson. Every person in that list had a faith based on previous encounters with God. Abraham looked for the City of God because he remembered when God clearly and audibly said, “Go to Canaan.” Abraham watched as his nonagenarian wife grew rotund with child. Confidence in these things lead to a mind set on the hope of heaven. Joseph prophesied about the exodus from Egypt and gave instructions for his bones, not because he blindly trusted in a distant God, but because he watched as God protected him, and by extension His people, for years. Faith is not sitting blindly on an untested chair. Faith is falling into a chair that has held you up hundreds of times before. So many times, my prayer life has stalled out because of unnecessary guilt. Asking God for help is not a question of faith. In fact, it is the beginning of faith.
With this hindrance out of the way, I returned to asking for guidance. That is when it happened. God has a way of confirming firmly. A friend of mine called. He is a Mexican Missionary. He had been at the corporate offices of the associated work of our group of churches. We are members of the American Baptist Association, a conservative group of independent Baptist churches. He was in search of Spanish material for his mission works, his churches, and, by extension, for all the churches of Mexico. For a number of reasons, our association was not able to help him. He remembered that we were writing curriculum for MinistryMall.org.
In short, he called and asked if we could offer our curriculum in Spanish. In fact, he offered to do the translating and culture matching. As a writer in Texas, of course we all knew that Spanish was the obvious next step for our curriculum. Knowing there is potential and having it dropped in your lap are two different animals. In a fifteen minute phone call, God took the scope of this ministry and multiplied it by the entire Spanish speaking world!
There are still questions. Does God want me pastor in addition to this ministry? Where does God want us to live while we do this? Regardless, He has clearly answered the first question with unquestionable clarity.
Lord, thank You for hearing my prayer. Help me never to fear asking Your guidance.
*As the best friend of Cory's sweet wife, Jessica, I feel confident in saying that God is calling you to move closer to me and stay there forever. There, a totally objective and unbiased revelation. Ha! Thanks for another great post, Cory.
You can check out more from Cory at ministrymall.org!
This entry was posted on Monday, August 20, 2012 and is filed under Faith,Guest Posts,Prayer,Shameless Audacity. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.