When 2008 began, the journey to Simplicity was the furthest thing from my mind. I had just completed year number 1 in my latest pastorate and was boiling over with excitement with the addition of a full-time worship minister, the first in nearly 5 years. 2007, had been filled with some bumpy road along the way, but 2008 was looking grand.
As the year progressed, the Lord would take me through the deepest spiritual journey of my life. I would spend a week in silence before the Lord, culminating with the deliverance of the most devastating message the Lord has ever had me speak to a group of people. I spent the summer being pressured by others to back away from the proclamations of that message and ultimately watched as all the Lord had declared came to pass in September. By the time it was all said and done the ministry was on life support, the staff were released by the Lord to follow Him in new directions and I found myself asking, “Where do I go.”
The answer to that question had been formed in my spirit some months earlier. The Lord had birthed a desire for simple faith, that was powerful in its manifestation. In a matter of 6 weeks, Simplicity moved from prayer journal to reality. I began to see God moving in and through me in ways, I had been yearning for. I watched as lives changed and God’s love released the prisoner from their chains.
Of course, powerful moves of God do not come without opposition. The hiccups and obstacles have been constant…cars, toilet seats, personality conflicts…yet God remains faithful. With each obstacle the vision is refined and reinforced.
2008 could best be summarized as the refining of my faith. It all began with the question: “Am I the Lord of every kingdom of your heart.” It is ending with the challenge: “How far will you trust Me?”
As Mike and I prayed over the direction of our lives and ministry yesterday, the Lord’s direction was clear. Focus on building the foundation. In this directive are many things that we know will stretch us both further than we’ve been stretched before. In our ears rings the question: “How far will you trust Me?”
Mike and I both sense that 2009 is a turning point both personally and in our ministry call. For my family 2008 was the completion of what I am understanding to be a 7 year crucible of refinement. The past seven years have included surviving a direct hit from a killer tornado, a business failure, financial loss and hardship, a miscarriage, personal trials on every side. A few months ago, my intercessor inquired of God as to why the pressure was great on my life? The answer given to her was that the Lord was making me “unbreakable.” I laughed and said, “If this is what it takes to be unbreakable, what is the pressure I will be up against in the future?”
I look at our world today, and I understand that God needs unbreakable men and women. People who will say yes, in spite of the personal cost. The message of Christ is no longer gladly received and many will choose to hide their light in the heat of opposition.
As we approach 2009, I believe God is opening a door of opportunity for the body of Christ. I believe the difficulties in our nation will once again have people crying out to God for deliverance. It is for this very reason that I believe God is molding and positioning us to be the bearers of the “Good News” we’ve been given.