This week I had coffee with a pastor of a church plant. He basically does what the Lord has told me to do for years and what I’m going to school for and all I dream to be in life.
It was horrible.
Don’t get me wrong. He was a great guy and there was some good fruit from our meeting. And if you’re reading this Mr. Pastor, I do not mean any offense. I was super hyped from some too good worship music in the car on my drive there so maybe I seemed overly excited about life. I had just come out of the heavenlies and hadn’t embraced our cold dark world yet. But this man, who will remain unnamed, tore me to shreds. I don’t think he intended to. I think he felt the need to bring me to reality and remind me that church planting in a place like Portland is terribly hard, expensive, and almost impossible. I told him the vision that G-d has given my wife and I and I told him about the kinds of people that we want to reach. I explained that I hated the showy church crap and wanted to lead a house that is real and honest. Reaching the depth of the outcasts and bringing light to the back-alley, stained and forgotten streets of downtown. He told me building a church on “those” kinds of people won’t work and I’ll financially fail because they don’t have jobs and cannot tithe. He told me that college is hardly going to help me. He unknowingly spoke into every lie the enemy of our souls has been whispering to me since we moved here.
He’s not wrong. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to get miserable. I’ll be in the valley for many years before Christ brings me to the mountaintop. But I didn’t need discouragement in that moment.
I explained to him that I was not living in a false illusion. I explained that some of the worst experiences in my life emotionally, financially, and relationally have been because of ministry. I have lost more friends for following what G-d has told me to do than anything else. I thanked him for the coffee and I left.
I cried the whole way down the 405.
For a minute there, I almost let him kill my dreams. But I realized something: G-d loves to do wild, impossible, unexplainable things. A ministry can have millions of supporters, but at the end of the day it is only G-d sustaining it. If G-d has anointed you for something, nothing can stop you. (Romans 8:31) The truth is, sometimes we need a reality check. Sometimes, when we want to be famous or make millions of dollars doing almost nothing or we just really, really want to wake up and be a Kardashian so we’re paid to simply breathe, we need someone to tell us that no, we cannot achieve our dreams. Go to work. But other times, when we adopt CHRIST’S dreams for our own, we do not need to listen to anything anyone tells us otherwise. If He is the dream breather, there is only one dream killer: Satan. Don’t let him win in your life. Live with eyes that are open and aware that the dream G-d has given you will require you to fight MANY battles. The will of G-d is not for the faint of heart. But if we make His desires the desires of our hearts, He will give them to us. (Psalm 37:4)
Take heart. Stay strong. Run relentlessly after what your Father has told you to do.
“The Spirit of the Lord G-d is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners..” -Isaiah 61:1
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