I know that is an interesting header in this long series of posts, but it best communicates where at one point I had gotten in my life, after my 50 year trajectory in service to the Body of Christ.
A journey that carried a young married couple, myself a quite zealous new believer, into a small Pentecostal church for much needed discipleship. We would both become almost bi-vocational, though volunteers.
I soon accepted additional roles in denominational leadership, then we were on to join a larger seemingly ever expanding mega church, which led to a career change and a stint as executive pastor. Further along we would form our own company, myself consulting and coaching, my wife doing her thing in interior design.
Church soon became only one of multiple means of serving the community, with community engagement being the most evident calling in my life. However, I must admit that I was missing the original koinonia that first drew me into that smaller church community.
I still held a place in my heart from the early days when I could hardly wait until the next time the doors opened, best spoken by Ps.84:10-11: "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless."
I could still feel those days each time that I came across those verses over the years.
I think I had experienced burn out, something that can easily happen when one pours their very soul into people on multiple fronts with little self care. I had arrived at that point!
My wife however, had always remainded tender toward the Lord and had kept herself healthy by way of such books as Destined to Reign, written by a pastor from Singapore, Joseph Prince. His message is simply grace; not grace and works, just grace!
I actually was tired of hearing my wife's attempts at rescuing this strong willed servant leader (note, attitude happens).
So, in my near burnout moment, having finally listened to her admonition, I suggested that we might take a Sunday off from our home church to visit the church of a pastor friend who's life and message of grace so aligned with that of her Singapore pastor/author.
Of all Sundays to attend, that particular day they announced a plant at the YMCA in the small bedroom community in which I had served as mayor. To me, it seemed just another God moment, and of course both my spiritual and civic duty to help facilitate that plant. I then listened patiently, as my pastor friend delivered that Sunday's Good News! I was excited to inform my wife of "our" next!
After church, while exiting the pew, I recall the moment that I informed my wife as to the "why" we had attended. I felt it was once again, providential!
I could be of help in establishing this new plant, knowing that in an era of diminishing church attendance, the most productive means of spreading the gospel was often a new and vibrant church plant.
My wife looked at me in disbelief, her retort, "If you think that I am going to set up chairs every Sunday in a YMCA at my age, you are crazy, and further more, if you think that I am going to attend church again with you in any other place than here, you are wrong again."
I soon resigned from the deacon board of our former church and we have been Presbyterian Pentecostals now for five years!
She later informed me that her first introduction to Joseph Prince came by way of a book gifted from a lady in that very church! It was a set up!
Just as God had always blessed the works of our hands in ways seldom anticipated as risk taker entrepreneur types, so were our hearts being blessed and our spirits protected. We had finally found our Kingdom Sweet Spot!
God is good!