The summer of 1992 was a defining moment in my life. There have been a handful of defining moments in my life…becoming a Follower of Christ, going to college, starting a family (even though that marriage tragically ended, it will still forever be a defining moment in my life), and my first trip to Haiti in 2010 are all at the top of the list. Those defining moments, along with the summer of 1992, round out the top of the list of defining moments in my life thus far.
In the summer of 1992 I was 12 years old and living in Denver, Colorado. My parents worked with the para-church organization Child Evangelism Fellowship. That summer I worked as a summer missionary with CEF, traveling all around Denver teaching children about Jesus.
During that summer I felt a passion growing deep in my heart. At the age of 12, God was placing a passion in my heart for doing ministry. From that summer on, the direction of my life was based on that passion God had given me. Even now, 25 years later at the age of 37, I still look back at that summer as a defining moment in my life.
In High School I became very close with my Youth Pastor, and he taught me much about doing ministry. After High School I went to a small Christian University, where I double majored in Christian Education of Youth and Biblical Studies. After graduating college in 2002, I began my full-time career in ministry. It wasn’t always easy…ministry has a lot of very difficult moments…but I LOVED it! For 13 years I was honestly living my dream.
During those 13 years in full-time ministry, God brought a lot of very cool opportunities and experiences my way. I was able to travel all over the world on mission trips, work with and be involved in the lives of a lot of students as well as their families in various ways, speak at different camps and conferences and Christian Schools, meet some amazing people, and even do something I never expected to do…write 2 books. I was truly loving my life and all the blessings that God had chosen to give me. And that’s why what happened next baffled me so much…
In the summer and fall of 2015 I had everything that God had blessed me with taken away. It was quite the whirlwind, and it hit me out of nowhere. Even now, two years later, there are times I still try to figure out how and why it happened. But as the lyrics to the song “Blessed Be Your Name” says…
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
God had chosen to give, and God had chosen to take away…and it was up to me to decide if I would continue to bless him or not. It hasn’t been easy, and I definitely haven’t been perfect, but because of God’s strength and mercy and grace, I continue to do the best I can to seek to live for him.
What I have since come to realize and accept is that God allowed everything to be taken away for a reason. There is a purpose and plan behind all of it. God wants to do something in my heart and life that he will use for good in the future.
What he allowed to happen in my life was not his way of taking back the passion he placed in me when I was 12. It was not his way of disqualifying me from doing ministry. Nor was it his way of telling me that I was now less valuable as a Follower of Christ, or limited in my ability to be his servant. God had given me a passion to do ministry when I was 12, he had given me many experiences in my life that all helped me to become a better servant of his as I worked in ministry, and this latest experience was just another thing he was using to teach me to be the kind of servant he desires me to be. God had been at work in my life in the past, and he is still at work now.
The second book I wrote is called ‘Enough‘. In the book, I explore the question “Do we really believe that God is greater than what this world has to offer?”. It was a question God had placed on my heart a few years back that really challenged me, and it continues to be a question that I’m challenged with. Despite losing all that I lost, do I really believe that God is greater? In the difficulties of life that I don’t understand, do I really believe that God is greater than what this world has to offer me? When life beats me up mercilessly, do I really believe that God is enough?
I’m not the only one who has been beat up in life. I’m not the only one who has lost what they loved. And I’m not the only one who has been tempted to chase after the things of this world first instead of chasing after God first. Life is hard. Life is painful. Life is full of distractions. Life is…life. And no matter where we are in life, either in a good place or a bad place, the question still applies. Do we really believe that God is greater than what this world has to offer?
This question, and the book that came out of it, are going to be the basis for a new idea I’ve been praying through for a while now and am excited to begin working to make a reality. It is an idea I’m calling ‘the Enough project’. The simple concept behind this idea is “A call to Simply. Follow. Jesus.”
My desire and vision for this idea is that it will be something that challenges us as Followers of Christ to life a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ that’s been entrusted to us, encourages us to pursue and chase after God above all the other things of this life, and to provide practical tools and support to help us continue to grow stronger and deeper in our relationship with God as his disciples, both as the Body of Christ collectively as well as individually. Overall, my desire is to see us as a Body of Christ work together, helping and encouraging each other, so that each of us would be able to say “Yes, I do believe that God is greater than what this world has to offer, and I will live my life to reflect that.”
A detailed game plan for ‘the Enough project’ is still being laid out, so once it’s done I’ll share more details of it…