Monday, April 02, 2007

Put Me In Coach!

Am I too picky or is God just taking His good sweet time? I have thoughts about that.

A) God can take all of the time He wants to. After all, time belongs to Him. He made it. He owns it. He controls it. So who am I to tell Him what to do with it?

B) If I am too picky it is for a reason. I've said it before but allow me to remind you just in case you missed it. It is not enough (in my humble opinion) to be in God's will. It is not enough to be in the center of God's will. I want to be in the center of the center of His will. If God's will is a dart board it will not suffice to simply hit the cork. It is not enough to land inside the little steel ring at the center known as the "bulls-eye." No, I will not stop until I hit DEAD CENTER in the middle of the bulls eye. Just eeking inside of that steel ring won't do it.

Tomorrow morning I have a phone call to make. You see, last Thursday night I met with the pastor search committee of another church. I say "another" because this is not exactly the first pastor search committee I have met with over the past three years. I really have not counted. The committee was staffed with very nice people and I am quite certain that they are from a very nice church in a very nice town. They asked good questions and they gave sufficient answers to the questions that I asked. That all sounds good. And it is. There is just one problem. Tonight they called me and asked if I was willing to continue on to the next step toward becoming their pastor. I rather thought that question was coming. And so I have been praying about how to respond to it when it did come. Debbie has been praying too. So they called and asked the question and I promised them a phone call in the morning giving them my answer. I first needed to call Debbie (she is at Mayo Clinic with our sister-in-law, Alisha, this week. Pray for Alisha!) I did call Debbie. We quickly agreed upon our response.

There is absolutely no sense within either of us that God is calling us to that church.

Do you know how much I hate making a phone call like that? It is a high and holy privilege to be asked to pastor a church. I believe (though I have not really been counting) that I have been asked to pastor four churches and become a staff member at another church since early 2005. I have given each one the same answer. "No, but thank you for asking." I have such a great deal of respect for these committees. Their job is terribly diffficult and I do not want to make it any more so. But I cannot lie to them. To say yes and to go to their church would be to miss the center of the center of the bullseye of God's will for my life.

Not good enough.

So I will tell them no. But thank you so much for asking.

The last time I was "in the game" I got injured. It happens to most everybody sooner or later. I pulled something or broke something or got hit upside the head by a fastball. Honestly, it happened in such a rapid fire fashion that I am not even certain how it all came down. I was running with all I had and suddenly my feet were up and my head was down and when the play was over all I tasted was dirt. Everything hurt, was bruised, busted up, exhausted. As I limped off of the field I really had no idea how bad it was. And it was bad. It took weeks in God's ICU ... months in a "step down" room, and another month or so in rehabilitation. I cannot get over the fact that I did not know how badly I needed it. And now I look back and I ask myself, "How was I even walking? What was keeping me going?" The only answer I can find is singular ... grace.

And here's the thing. After just over four months of resting, praying, resting, seeking God, resting, healing, worshiping and resting ... I feel a little like many baseball players must have felt over the past few days. Everything inside of me is screaming ... "PUT ME IN COACH!" Everywhere I turn I see a sermon waiting to be written. Every scripture I read literally bursts open with truth begging to be told. And for the first time in a long time ... a very long time ... longer than I can even begin to tell you ... I am feeling God smile. And that is making me smile. And I am rediscovering this deep, deep well of inner peace and joy that I had totally forgotten about. Well, I actually had not forgotten about it. But I thought it was just a dream I had once upon a time and that it probably was not true. But it was true! And God has taken me back to it! I feel like that lucky woman who was at the well when Jesus showed up. He asked her just the right questions and when she got real with Him her life was forever changed.

It took me at least six weeks just to realize that I was at the well and Jesus was asking question. It took several more weeks to walk out of the fog far enough to formulate the answer to His questions. And now I am busy soaking in the wonder of HIS response to MY response.

And it's all good news. Every bit of it is better than I ever had a right to expect. And it is from HIm. And it is free. Free. Free is a very good word.

You know what I am looking for? I am looking for a church that wants to be happy. I am looking for a church that wants to be as free as Jesus died to make us. I am looking for a church that is as tired of the worn out old ways of doing things as I am and is willing to walk with me on a journey of finding Jesus and follow Him in His new ways. He is singing a "new song" and I won't be happy doing anything other than singing along.

Father, this part of the blog is to You. Other's may read it but it is directed to You. Put me in, Coach! I'm ready to play. Today. I do not know what city I am to play in or what league, but I want to play. I've got my glove (my bible) my bat (Your Spirit) and my spikes (all you have taught me and the fire you have built within.) Please, Sir. When you are ready. Put me in ...

Until then, Father, I'll sit on the steps of the dugout and wait. I'll listen. I'll watch. And when you call my number ... I'll do all I can to make you proud. Because I love you for loving me. And I love you for seeing how messed up I was. And I love you for taking me out of the game, giving me time and place to rest, and putting the right people and a gazillion other things in my path just when I needed them. That last play I ran, Father? You called it. And as John Wesley said, it took me about a yard from the gates of hell. Thank you for trusting me that much. I will never forget it. And I'll never forget that you pulled me back from danger when I went down.

Father ... you are the best. And I love you.


Anonymous said...

I am by your side.