I see that it's been some months since I last posted, and that's ok. I know that other people post all sorts of relevant topical posts on the latest political happenings, but that's not my bag, baby.
However, as I see God's hand at work and/or experience some revelation or confluence of events that I simply can't keep to myself, I post it on here. Hopefully, it will edify those who read it in addition to serving as a "road map" of my journey with Christ.
That being said, here's the latest:
Several weeks ago, I applied for a pastoral internship at a local church. They had an established program and were looking for a good candidate to serve a one-year internship - I thought it sounded perfect and that I would be a natural fit for the job. The only problem was that I didn't get hired.
Despite my disappointment, I continued to think about that possibility - if this church didn't need me in that role, perhaps there was another church nearby who would have a similar need and where I might serve in some capacity. So, a few weeks later we found ourselves attending North Coast Calvary Chapel, a place where Tamara attended some years back, and where a number of our friends are currently attending.
After the service, I was perusing the tables outside that had information on all the various ministries the church has to offer. Of course, I was immediately drawn to the military outreach section, maybe because they had a small Marine Corps flag displayed on the table. There I met Jack & Nina Baugh, the coordinators for the military support network. Nina immediately pegged me for a Marine (the haircut always gives it away), and began to learn my story. As we were talking, a young couple approached and she excused herself to speak with them. As I stood and listened, I learned that the young man was a new Marine, had recently been married, had a young month-old son, and was due to deploy at the end of the year. My heart immediately went out to this young family - so many "new" things going on in their lives, and they were about to face the stress and pressure of a deployment in the near future. They told Nina that they were interested in getting involved in a small group Bible study, and she left to go get the small groups pastor. He came over and told them that they didn't have a military small group at the moment, as they currently had no one to lead such a group.
That was when I felt the Holy Spirit giving me a nudge.
So, like Isaiah, I said "Here I am, send me!" Well, maybe not those exact words - but something like that. It was just the opportunity I was looking for, and I couldn't pass it up.
One thing led to another, and in the two weeks since then I've met with several of the pastors about getting involved with the military ministry at the church. I'll be leading a small group study for military folks, and will more than likely be involved in their outreach program at Camp Pendleton in some capacity. I don't know yet how it will all play out, but have this wonderful feeling that God is at work and is leading us here to serve Him here in some capacity.
To be sure, this is not the path I envisioned for us years or even months ago. I had thought that I was going to be a Navy chaplain and would serve in that capacity until I eventually retired sometime down the road. Don't get me wrong - I still feel that the chaplaincy is an open door, but not that it's what I should be striving for right now. For now, I need to serve Him in whatever capacity I can WHERE I AM RIGHT NOW, and let the future take care of itself. When the time is right, I'll happily walk through that door and put on the Navy uniform.
Of course, our finances continue to be an ongoing concern, but God has been faithful there as well. Matthew 6:31-33 tells us:
"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
What this tells me is that my primary mission is not seeking a job, or seeking financial well-being; it's seeking the Kingdom of God. He knows our needs, and has not led us all the way down this path only to drop us off a cliff. Of course, it's one thing to preach this message on a Sunday, and quite another when it's your own family at risk, and there are days when the doubt creeps in and I get scared and anxious about what the future holds for us. But over and over again I find myself falling back on God's promise. If He is in me, if He is my strength, then I cannot fail - for that would mean that God would fail.
And one thing I know is that God does not fail.