Look to your left…look to your right…there seems to be danger everywhere. Whether it is a world wide pandemic, riots that are burning cities to the ground or human trafficking at the highest levels of our society it seems to have no end this year. The year 2020 has become a meme in that you are forbidden from saying that it “can’t get any worse” for fear that the year will prove you wrong. Then I saw a light, I saw Christians standing and speaking the truth of “Fear Not”. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
I saw God moving, I saw people becoming strengthened but then something happened that I did not expect. Governors of states in a country that was founded on the principle of religious liberty banned church gatherings using the covering of a pandemic. Now let me say, in the beginning of this pandemic I believed that it was a good practice for pastors to do as much as possible to protect their congregations. If they had the ability to move services online or have parking lot services then I thought that was a good thing. However, that is a pastor’s and congregation’s decision not a government official’s.
Then I saw a group…Now let me define what I mean by a group. I call them just a group because I believe that they are made up of many groups that all have the same agenda of “submit or else” or in other words “bend the knee to us”. That being said, I saw a group come on the scene and begin to attack everything that did not conform to their worldview and idea of utopia. Churches across the United States have been vandalized and burned. Recently, the Bible has become the target of their ire and scenes of Bibles being burned are seen on social media and news stations.
So what do we do now. Honestly, it is time for some peaceful protesting like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. But be ready for the consequences that go with that. The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is told in Daniel 3 and I encourage you to go and read the account even if you remember the story. It is one of those “Wow Stories” of the Bible. In short, three men of God refuse to bow to political pressure and are thrown into the fire, literally, only to walk out of the fire untouched because of the protection of God around them.
A few days ago, I saw a video of a person running up to people and yelling at them to apologize and bow to their ideology. I saw people at a church yelling at the congregation and cursing the God we serve. I see politicians closing churches and synagogues in different cities across the nation. I could go on but I think you can get the point that the choice is once again being given to the people of God to bow to the pressure of this world or stand for God. In Ephesians 6:13, the Scriptures tell us that “after you have done everything, to stand.”
In the story that has become known as “Daniel and the Lions’ Den” that is in Daniel 6. Daniel is confronted by a law that says that if he prays to anything other than the King Darius then he will be thrown in a den of lions. Unlike before this is a law that other politicians have drafted up with a punishment attached. Undeterred Daniel continues to pray to God and God alone three times a day. When Daniel is reported on the king is left no choice but to follow through and follow the punishment prescribed by law. Again, like in Daniel 3 with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, God’s protection is at work and Daniel is kept safe even in an extremely dangerous place and situation.
I do not expect things to get better. As I said in the beginning, 2020 is a meme of how bad things can get but God is more powerful. God’s protection has been surrounding His people since the very beginning. Empires have risen and fallen and political views shift but God and His truth remain steadfast. ““In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:44).
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). Remember who you are. Remember that God goes with you, that His truth lights your way. In these times of darkness we are to declare His truth and proclaim the Gospel. When they command us to stop praying, we pray more fervently. When they command us to stop singing and praising Him we worship that much louder. When they tell us to bow to them, we stand for God and proclaim God’s love through the sacrifice of His son Jesus.
P.S. One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Peter 3:9 and I always try to remember it. Every time hate or unforgiveness try to rise up within me I quote this scripture, over and over, and remember that God does not anyone, not one, not a single one person, ever, to perish but He wants everyone to come to repentance. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
When I went to Florida recently my wife and I listened to Mike Rowe’s new book “The Way I Heard It“. Apart from it being a great book in the style of Paul Harvey’s “Rest of the Story…” I walked away from the book with a concept rattling around in my head that I can’t shake…You fail at 100% of the things that you never try. It’s a simple concept that I have heard all my life and I am sure you have heard it too. How many times have we been told that you miss 100% of the pitches that you never swing at? Growing up I had a pastor that would preach about needing to get into the batter’s box instead of sitting on the sidelines.
One of my favorite encounters in the Bible is between Moses and God at the burning bush found in Exodus chapter 3&4. Many of us like to think of Moses as the hero of the story that just went to Egypt stood before Pharaoh and exclaimed “Let my people go.” That did happen eventually but the encounter at the burning bush shows a man that did not want to do what God wanted him to. Moses kept coming up with excuse after excuse why he was the wrong choice trying to convince God, you know the creator all knowing God, that he knew better. Moses starts with asking who he was to do this great task to which God tells him that He will be with him, essentially telling Moses, “Trust me, I know what I am doing.” Moses then goes through a list of what ifs and hypotheticals that God patiently answers by giving Moses both answers and showing him signs and wonders that God will use to convince the people and Pharaoh. Finally Moses points out his flaws in an attempt to get out of his calling. Once again God answers Moses’ concerns.
I know I have looked at this encounter and chuckled a few times both because it hits close to home. For the past two years I have been asking many of the same questions and I know that God has been patiently answering every concern. Like Moses I am quick to point out all of my flaws to try and get God to move to the next person down the line. I will admit that I am afraid of failure but I just as afraid of success. Like Moses, if I succeed I know that many people will begin to look to me for guidance and think that I have everything together. I can assure you that I am not a perfect man and I will never be one. I am merely a man that is trying to point everyone to God and His son, Jesus.
Yesterday, I was dealing with a massive migraine. For those that have never experienced a migraine the easiest way I can describe them is that the world hurts. Light hurts, sound hurts, movement hurts, everything hurts. As I tried to sleep tonight the pain woke me up and I was lying awake in bed feeling the pain that seems to have no end and in my head I cried out, how can I do this? How can I teach a generation, how can I lead, how can I do any of what you are asking me to do? Look at me God, I can’t even sleep. That’s when I heard the words that I started this post with. You fail at 100% of the things you never try. So I got out of bed, stumbled down to the living room, sat down, grabbed my laptop and started typing. I remembered the book that I recently listened to which led me to one of my favorite passages in the Bible about a man that also struggled with believing he could do the thing that God had called him to do, that God had created him for, that God had prepared him for.
I hope some of this makes sense. If you are reading these words and saying, that this doesn’t apply to me, I can’t do that thing that I have been thinking, nay obsessing, about. Give it a try. Normally I would follow up that with, “what have you got to lose” but that is cliche. There is definitely a chance we will both fail, and in all honesty I am sure I will fail a few times along the way and I am sure you will too but I think at this point we both know we will fail 100 percent of the things we never try. May God bless and keep you as you move forward because I trust He will do the same for me.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:4-10
The last few months have been a whirlwind for my family and I. First, we sold our home and either sold or gave away about 90% of our possessions to follow the calling that God had placed on Miranda and my heart back in 2017. In 2017, we were teaching Sunday School and both working full time jobs and were generally comfortable. That all changed in July when I was handed a pink slip that told me that my services were no longer needed and clean out my desk by the end of the day. I remember calling my wife and telling her that I had been let go. At first she chuckled and told me to be serious. When I told her I was she was as dumbfounded as I was.
“I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
We both had sensed that change was on the horizon but the abruptness of it caught us both off guard and I spent the next few months in prayer trying to find my way through the fog that was now my life. Around November, Miranda and I were both watching a couple of our favorite YouTube channels that involved families that were living full time in rv’s. I remember vividly I looked at Miranda, after watching an openly Christian family’s latest adventure, and said “These are all well and good but what are they doing with the platform God has given them, if we had something like this I would be doing something with it.” That is when Miranda looked back at me and said, “Then why don’t we?”
“You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.”
Why don’t we? What a crazy thought. Usually I would come back with the job I had or that I was still in school or, or… I am sure that everyone reading these words have stood at the fork in the road and thought, why not but how many of us actually take the chance and step into the unsure. Well, this is what we did. On Labor Day 2019, I hitched up to our 5th wheel and pulled out of North Pole, AK with our ultimate destination being the Lake of the Ozarks, MO. That first day and everyday since I have been praying and asking God that this is not a mistake, that His hand would sustain us.
“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you”
So here we go building the new foundations of a life of service. So I know if I was reading this I would be asking what is the calling that brought Miranda and I into this new life. Well it is simple, teach Christian fundamentals to everyone. Miranda and I have taught Bible-based fundamentals to the Sunday School at South Fairbanks Assembly of God for the last two years and before that we taught young adults the same. Over the past two years we have seen that a lot of Christians do not understand the very basic tenants of Christianity so we are going to teach them and along the way get some answers to some of the toughest questions that are being debated in the modern Church.
So I am sitting here in Haines Junction almost twelve years after I came through this town heading to Alaska. When my wife and I first received orders from the Air Force to move from Arizona to Alaska we were overjoyed. We had felt for a few months that God was calling us to America’s Last Frontier and as we drove through the small town of Haines Junction we were excited about what was lying before us. We joke now that we were entering the Promise Land and the music was playing, the shouts were going up to heaven and all was right with the world until we hit the walls of Jericho.
Fast forward almost 12 years and once again we are following God’s will but in a very different way. When we left AZ we felt ready and excited to go into the ministry that God had waiting for us but this time we are not only ready and willing but also we know we are doing this in the blind. We have no idea what God has in store for us nor where we ultimately will go on this great journey God has laid before us. God said, ” Leave Fairbanks and head to Missouri”. Okay check, first step taken, we are out of the boat, now what?
Alaska really gave us a chance to learn and do ministry. Watch young people grow and go on to do great things for the Lord. Alaska also taught us some hard lessons, left a few scars, and gave us some much needed perspective to be able to move forward. We are stronger and in some ways smarter than that young couple that came through here all those years ago. As I stand here on the corner, I can almost see that old truck turn the corner and head to Alaska, I do not stop them, I only wish them God speed. Every one of those years on the other side of that road will forever be a treasured memory and will never be forgotten.
The beginning of the road is always the hardest. You come to a crossroads, look down both ways, check your map, think and then turn to start walking down the new road hoping that you made the right choice. In those first steps you have mini arguments within yourself, going back and forth about the decision you just made. A couple times you look back at the other road and wonder what might have been but you keep moving forward down this new road until the crossroads is nothing but a distant memory.
This new road is where I am right now.
Last week I launched the new Vectored Media Ministry and I have been arguing with myself all week. I know this is where God wants me to be and I know this is the future for Vectored but I still struggle. To get through the struggle I am studying to produce new content. My next video is on the history and reasons for having stated fundamentals of Christianity. Stay tuned…