It’s been a few weeks of visiting familiar stops on the journey.
First, we went back to RWCC a week or two ago, something I wasn’t honestly sure we’d ever do. My Pastoral mentor and friend retired last week from the pastorate. He felt that leading was his gift and passion, but not necessarily pastoring. He’s decided to pursue other avenues of ministry in the business world. I respect his decisions, as I always have, knowing him to be a man of honesty, sincerity and a desire for doing God’s will.
Last week we went back to Paragon and enjoyed that very much. This time there were a few other Lifesingers there who have visited and enjoyed Paragon, since we last went. I think some of them have decided to stay with Paragon. I’m very happy about that because it does seem like a good fit for many of them. Thanks to Pastor Matt and his congregation for the warm welcome all the Lifesingers have received. As for me and my family we still haven’t decided, but there’s only a few churches we’re strongly considering making our home, and Paragon is definitely one of them. We’ll need to decide soon. The search begins to weary us a bit. After my visit to RWCC, the door seems to have cracked open just enough to make me re-examine (yet again) whether we should be going back to Rio West.
I also find myself returning to where it all began in other ways. Two decades ago, God used my first church closing to change my life by teaching me unforgettable lessons about Grace, Identity and Faith: lessons about exchanging deception for truth and walking in dependence upon the Lord. Now, two decades later at the closing of another church, I find myself returning to those same lessons; but not this time just for me, but in recognition of the need and importance of spreading these messages of the Gospel to struggling or complacent believers everywhere. A little less than two decades ago, I began a conference, which at that time I called “Faith Lift.” For fifteen years I did this conference on and off and counseled numerous individuals with the same principles to overcome strongholds. I’ve became increasingly aware of God’s call to raise my voice, as it were, and to spread more widely the Grace of God and the good news of the Gospel through these scriptural principles. I first responded to this by writing and publishing a book. I second responded by renaming, and rebranding the conference as “the Hidden Life,” making it more engaging and less narrow in appeal. Without changing the scriptural basis or changing the content, I wanted to make the conference more accessible to a broad range of genuine life seekers and questioners, whether believers or unbelievers.
Now as other doors around me close, I find myself strongly considering whether It’s time to fulfill the promise and potential which began all those years ago. In the last three weeks, I’ve been putting time and energy into contacting churches and booking conferences. While only a couple conferences have actually been scheduled, there are half a dozen more awaiting only final approval of a board, committee, congregation or funding organization. There are another dozen seriously considering it and I have not yet reached the end of my first tier of contacts. This is encouraging, although my insecurity and fear still tempt me not to trust God’s provision or plan.
The mentor I mentioned above, Don, said to me recently that as we get older, we should seek to expend our time where we’ve developed our credibility, where we’ve earned our stripes, as it were, where we’ve gained and proven our expertise. For me the ability to teach in a way which engages learning and motivates people is part of what I’ve learned. I’ve practiced exactly this for 23 years. I’ve been trained in it, not once but numerous times in numerous different jobs. Experience, education, training, aptitude, and spiritual gift all seem to point to a pursuit of conferences and writing as a way to do my part in spreading everywhere the Grace of God.
And so, I invite you to join me, You, my faithful blog readers, to be a part of this ambassadorship if God so leads.
I am also committed to not sacrificing my family’s welfare on the altar of ministry: something which I fear I have financially done too often in the past. I still trust God to provide; I am still motivated by a desire to enrich lives and bless people. But I am also seeking to do it in a way which is financially responsible. So where, for fifteen years, I lost money providing the conference for free, I am now charging for the conference. The current structure is that the hosting church is responsible for expenses plus 500 dollars.
Even this low rate is occasionally a hardship for a given church, and in the past I would simply have given the conference for their benefit. While I would love to do that, I simply can’t afford to. You, on the other hand may be in a position to help them. Click on this link(right here) where you can donate to provide scholarship money for other churches. If you desire to do this I want to be clear on three things:
- Currently this is not a tax deductible donation. I am not a non profit organization. I have been encouraged to consider, as a courtesy to donors, filing for a 5013c and I’m strongly considering that, but for now, no tax deduction for your donation.
- All money in these donations will be used for conference needs. There are definitely many more opportunities to book if the money is available for conferences. It’s like a gift card for your favorite church 🙂
- I am only asking for free will, cheerfully given donations. No guilt money. ]
Secondly, let me know if you or anyone you know would like more information on the conference. I have a brief packet I send out to interested pastors, and you can also direct them to the promo video on the speakers page of this website. . I will keep a running calendar of booked conferences on the website at the same page as the donations (here again). If you see a conference coming up in your area, consider whether your church, or group might be interested in doing a conference around the same time. It could possibly lead to shared expenses between the two groups, alleviating cost for both. Currently I have two conferences booked for Illinois in the first week of March.
3) I am a firm believer in the power of prayer. I very much desire your prayers in this endeavor. I am also a firm believer in the power of moral support, so any encouragement you want to send my way, including a reminder you are praying for me would be awesome! You can email me or even just comment here on this post, which would also be awesome. If you would like to pray regularly sign up for an RSS feed on the side of this page. Then, when it asks you, choose “Hidden Life info” to be kept up to date on the latest prayer requests and events.
Specifically right now here’s my requests
Prayer Requests–None of these are obligations for God. These are requests which seem in line with His will as I understand it now.
- God’s financial provision. It’s really tough right now. I barely make enough for basic necessities, and every week in the last three has brought new emergencies which go beyond basic necessities. Everyone and their dog seems to require surgery in my house. Really… my dog has had two surgeries in the last two weeks. Really just my wife and my dog, but you get the idea. My car needs some surgery now too. God own the cattle on a thousand Hills.
- Conference bookings supernaturally quickly. There are so many steps for so many churches to go through in order to book a conference, including just finding the time to look ahead and schedule. I truly believe this conference would benefit any of the churches currently thinking about it and so many others. Pray that God moves the hearts and minds. God moves the hearts of Kings.
- Selling our house. Currently we are in the process of selling our house. We need to do this. We also need somewhere to live. Pray God works all this out in perfect timing.
- Pray that the Glory of God will shine through thousands of Christians as they find freedom and encouragement in God’s words through these conferences.
Thanks for listening!
Smiling at the future,
p.s. If you buy The Hidden Life hard copy, or even if you bought it in the past from Amazon, you can now buy the Kindle version for only .99! All the sales go to support me in this ministry.
(Click on the picture to buy)
Smiling at the future,