This past month has been an interesting one to say the least. On Friday, Dec 3rd I submitted my letter of resignation (along with a majority of the staff and finance team) to the elders of the North County Church of Christ. I have not written anything publicly about this until now because I have seen the effects that can come from people receiving only half of a story, and words being taken out of context to be put under public scrutiny. And I will continue to keep the details leading to our departure limited to offline private conversation. At this point, it is obvious that any specific details I could say to bring more people ‘in the know’ would only be viewed as divisive. For the sake of healing, moving on, and the potential for restoration among His people, I will only speak in broad generalities about my personal decision. I ask all of my brothers and sisters in Christ to understand that this decision was not made lightly, without counsel, or without much prayer and study of the word. As we move forward, my prayer is that the waters will calm enough that we may all see things more clearly. If nothing else, may the Lord use time to reveal His plan.
And so we move forward.
A heavy heart turns to joy.
Something new is born.
A few thousand years ago God’s chosen people were waiting for a king to arrive to allow them to conquer those in charge. They patiently waited while it seemed like God was dormant. In the mean time, rulers and systems were put into place that appeared to bring order and stability to land. The people were able to function in this system because they knew deep down that there was a better way. One day things would change, and as long as they bided their time and waited for the perfect opportunity, their leader would come with a mighty sword and restore them to their past glory.
The problem is, that God never calls us to be restored to our past selves. To a clean heart, yes. To a new beginning, yes. But never to our former self.
And so while the people are waiting, looking toward the horizon, God’s plan is already at work.
All of the plans of people are set aside. It’s not that they didn’t have great ideas or dreams, its just that God has not been confined to their system for all of this time. He doesn’t need to topple an empire through the battles of man. In fact, His plan included saving the citizens of the very empire that was oppressing His chosen people. And who would bring about this change? A child born in a manger. A child that would eventually be persecuted by the ones he came to save. A child that would ask tough questions that would challenge the very fabric of the religious practices of the day. To some this child would be nothing more than a nuisance, just another voice crying out for change. To others, he was a threat to hundreds of years of stability.
And we like stability. We protect stability because it is familiar. It’s safe, known, usual… fill in the blanks. We even use scripture to back up our decisions to stay still. We say things like ‘my house is built on the rock’. Then we build armies and make laws to protect stability. We criticize those who challenge the status quo. Sometimes we kill for stability.
About 50 years ago a man had a dream that challenged the status quo. He dreamt of a time where people of all colors would freely worship together. He was shot for his dream.
About 2000 years ago people gathered in homes to share their faith in a new religion that challenged the rule of the day. They were fed to lions for sport.
The funny thing is, the further I get from stability the more solid my faith becomes. In the past month I have read more, prayed more, and spoken with more passion for peoples’ souls than I can remember. I haven’t been restored to my former self, I’ve been challenged to draw closer to God. I gave up a steady paycheck (and much more) because the kingdom comes before comfort. It trumps friendships, worship styles and any system that we put together.
And so, with an excited and passionate heart, I begin my time as the Youth Minister and Arts Director of New Vintage Church.
I look forward to sharing more about this new adventure and ask for your prayers as we start up.
If you’re in the San Diego area and you are looking for a church home, or simply want to stop by to say hola, please feel free to do so. We are currently meeting at 5pm on Sunday nights at the Ranchland Church building in Rancho Bernardo.
One love, one heart.