Counting the Cost

friends3_FotorWhoever says they love change and are not willing to admit there are struggles and challenges along the way are either lying or incredibly selfish.  Transition and change is difficult on all parties involved.  We grow fond of the things we are surrounded with, whether it is a house, our neighborhood, or really close friends and family.  I found myself asking the question this afternoon, “Lord, I am not sure surrendering our family to your will is worth it?”  I actually contemplated what disobedience would look like for me, if it meant my family could continue in the life and relationships they currently have…but then I remember His grace and its all consuming effects.

Danielle and I both went to pickup the girls from their last day of school late this morning.  We picked up our oldest daughter to the sounds of middle schoolers running out screaming in joy that school was over for the summer.  The first question out of my daughter’s mouth was, can we change a specific detail of her birthday party so more of her friends could come.  Our obvious answer, was absolutely.  She has built incredible relationships and I want to do nothing more than give her the time she needs with her friends before the big move.

Onto picking up our youngest daughter; the one who does not show visible emotion very often.  I pull into the pick-up lane and see her and two friends sitting on the ground together.  She see us and stands up.  Her two friends stand up and all three hug each other; all I see is three sad faces on girls who are growing up too fast.  They hug for what seems to be minutes, while my daughter looks at me with that all too familiar uncomfortable “I am the center of attention” look on her face.  At the same time, she is fighting tears…and I can’t.  I realize what is going on, I realize we are taking her away from two friends she loves dearly, I realize this is the cost of following Christ at times. That may sound trivial, but to an 8-year-old, there is nothing trivial about this situation.

There is always a price to be had when you do your best to follow the path God has for you.  Is there blessings along the way, yes?  Is there pain and discomfort along the way, more than you will realize in the excitement of a new adventure?  God, pour out your grace, wisdom, and understanding on our girls; show them your path is good and just, and that you are always with us when we follow you.  Just as you were with and blessed Joseph after he was sold to the Ishmaelite’s and eventually to Pharaoh; bless and walk with our girls on this journey.

Is it worth the cost, YES?  Jesus freely offers water of life to those who thirst.  We must understand when we take Him up on His free offer, we are no longer our own. We have been bought with a price.  There is no such thing as superficially following Christ, to only turn back when things get difficult…it is a life of surrender and trust…

Love, Blessings, and all your prayers are accepted:)

Scott

 

My Plans and God’s Grace

grace_Fotor

When Danielle and I were in the middle of praying through what the Lord had for our family in this season we felt like we had two options:  stay where we were and have a fruitful ministry or take the leap of faith and watch him amaze us through his goodness. Believe it or not this was not an easy decision, but ultimately we chose to jump off the cliff and fully trust him.  Once we jumped, God went to work on my heart and mind like I had never experienced before… and it has been painfully revealing.

I have discovered, as I alluded to in my last post, I have an issue with trying to control the process once I feel a transition.

My tendency, once I feel transition, is to quickly go to work on figuring out what is going on.  I love the beginnings of transition, but once I know transition is on the horizon I constantly seek out a plan that will restore everything back to a previously comfortable place.

But through the discovery of this weakness of mine, I have also gained a greater understanding of God’s grace.  When I have made mistakes and went into “plan and control” mode, God has come along and blessed us in the midst of it.  Perfect example. June of 2012, our family came into a season of transition.  I was emotionally tired and instead of taking the time to pray through things I simply planned out a path that would restore our family to a comfortable place.  I made some calls, we moved back to Michigan and we were back to a comfortable place for our family.

In the period of time that followed our move back to Michigan, God blessed us with a beautiful house, a great job, an amazing church, and we were surrounded by people who loved us and encouraged us.  He brought us back into an amazing church family (Daybreak) where we able to serve the church and an incredible running team (Hope Water International).  Through those experiences we built lifelong relationships with people who have stretched us and challenged us as individuals and as a family.  It has been a season of blessings, but make no mistake it has been a season of trial, error, and learning.  Out of my weaknesses he has brought blessing… It is only by God’s grace this is possible.

And now… He has brought us full circle back to this point of decision.  We are committed; we are moving forward; and I am not completely sure what is in store for our family. But I know one thing, it is going to be good.  How is it going to be good?  I have no idea and I really do not care, because we are simply doing our best to follow Him.  “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

Yeah Jesus!

Scott

Transition

Railroad tracks

Transition is a strange thing.  Something I have learned over the years is we must do everything we can to walk through transition well, but be cognizant of the fact we will be blindsided by new things during transition.  What does this look like in a practical sense for me?  I can easily allow people and/or circumstances to justify the transition, when in fact it is simply the path the Lord wants our family to go down.

Over the last few months I have allowed myself to get absorbed into the lives of some Old Testament people living in change.  One specific story has been floating around in my brain; Saul and David.  Two individuals who handled transition in a completely opposite manner.  David walked closely with God, honoring Saul, a man created in God’s image (not necessarily living that way).  David was anointed as king, while King Saul was still on the throne.  Could David have raised an army and overthrown the Kingdom, easily justifying his actions?  Absolutely, but instead he made the decision to harm no hair on Saul’s head.  On the flip side, Saul allowed God’s transition to consume him.  He wanted to maintain control of something he was NEVER meant to control…and it drove him completely mad.  To the point of allowing hate and vengeance to fill his heart, ultimately taking his life.

I went into Spring Break this year praying for some very specific things.  One being, I wanted the Lord to completely take over the development of my weekly messages for Daybreak’s students.  I had felt like I developed some patterns in my message prep that were too rigid; not allowing the Lord to speak.  I came out of spring break with Him telling me to resign!!!  What was that?  At first I tried to justify the transition and I pointed it towards my need to spend more time with my family and to operate in my God-given talents.  Yet, the reality of it was, that was simply my attempt to justify a transition that God was orchestrating.

My tendency once I feel transition, is to quickly go to work on figuring out what is going on.  I love the beginnings of transition, but once I know transition is on the horizon I constantly seek out a plan that will restore everything back to a previously comfortable place.  A good business plan and strategy gets my blood flowing, but I can allow my desire to control and shape things to blind me from the move of our sovereign Father.  Now He is teaching me to let go of the things I find security in and rely on Him completely, my true source.  A good plan is Biblical, but always make the plan flexible enough to be altered by our loving Father.

What is on the other side of this transition?  I don’t know and believe it or not, I am good with that.  Where am I going to work?  I don’t know.  Where am I going to serve the Lord?  In Texas.  How?  I have some ideas but, I am convinced that He will reveal His plan as I need it.  I am on a mission, and that mission is to follow my Father wherever He wants me…to step away from the head of the table and to pick up the cloth and the wash basin (Gene Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership).

Here is my challenge today…what are you hanging onto?  Let it go; surrender it to the One who knows best.

Love and Blessings,

Scott

The Beginning of a New Season

When I am in the midst of a changing season, my brain is continually absorbing and processing information in a way that causes me to not communicate the events very clearly and timely to the people around me.  I have been blessed with amazing family and friends who deserve the opportunity to hear the stories of the journey.  This blog is my desire and the way by which I can communicate what we are visibly walking through and what I am internally processing.  I will intentionally be leaving out personal details, because those are things the world does not need to know, but besides that, my life is an open book.  It is my hope that those reading will be encouraged by the blessings and the challenges of this journey.

Our journeys begin long before we are born.  It began in a garden thousands of years ago with the creation of Adam and Eve.  The truths that I rely on are…

  • I (we are) am created is God’s image (Gen 1:26)
  • I am (we are) worth dying for (John 3:16,17)
  • I have (we have) a specific purpose in God’s magnificent and perfect plan (Ephesians 2:10)
  • I am (we are) my Father’s son (Romans 8:14-17)
  • I am (we are) the Salt and Light of this world (Matthew 5:13-16)
  • I am (we are) rooted and continually built up in Christ (Colossians 2:7)

 

The circumstances of life, whether good or bad, are what God uses to mould and shape us into who we are and who we are called to be today.  Not all of us are called to take significant risk and move our families half way across the country, but that is what Danielle and I have been called to do.  If people do not agree, that is not by burden to bear, I am only responsible for what the Lord puts in front of me and my family.  But my challenge to those around me will always be to rise up to a new level and operate within the gifts and skill sets God has blessed you with.  Do not worry about what others around you are doing, but set your eyes on what God has called you to do and GO!

We are a few months into this journey at this point.  Soon, I will back up to the beginning of this season and share the stories of struggle, grace, and the direction that has come from God challenging our family to pursue His purposes.

If you ever have questions, concerns, or just need prayer reach out and comment.

With Love and Blessings,

Scott