Big DECISION (My Spiritual Journey U-Turn)

Baton_RougeAfter almost 8 years at college (a few extra years because I was told I needed to stay and find a HAC bride or not be right with God), I began my first ministry job – still single.  I felt like a missionary moving to Louisiana – everything seemed so foreign.  They even called Pepsi “coke”.

I spent 9 years of ministry in Baton Rouge. I was a third grade teacher (great year and students) for one year and then taught jr. and sr. high for several years. I especially love teaching the junior high Bible classes!! I had the great opportunity of being the junior high youth pastor too!!

My heart was in the right place, but I wish I could redo some of the damage I did during those first years of ministry.  I remember preaching messages that probably offended rather than challenge.  I actually even remember pin-pointing students who attended a southern Baptist church and preaching against their church. Stupid!!!
(Side Note: From 2003-2008, I was a full-time youth pastor in a southern Baptist church. LOL)

To those whom I may have hurt, I apologize. I really wanted what was best for you and your future but really had it all screwed up!!  So, what changed my mind and my direction? What was the big decision and how has it impacted me?

After serving at CHBC for several years, our pastor decided to make some big changes in how we did things around the church.  We became more “purpose driven” and focused on the lost.  Things changed: the music, the instruments, the messages, the focus, etc.  The youth pastor (who was instrumental in bringing me to the church and getting my first ministry job) decided that the change was too much and started his own church in town.  Many people followed.  I was left in a dilemma.

Do I stay at the church amidst the changes and do I even agree with them??  Do I move with the others and stick with what I learned as a young man at my home church and college??  Did I even know what to believe or why I believed it??  A crossroads – confusion – frustration – tears – journey – enlightenment – reality – faith – joy.

I asked my pastor for a short sabbatical and spent a night and day a few hours away with one specific goal in mind . . . figure out what Jesus would do.  How did He minister? Who did He spend time with? How did he live His life?  It seems so simple, but I wanted to be more like Christ  . . . not the church . . . not my college . . . not like my friends . . not even like CHBC or my pastor BUT like my Savior!

Guess what?  Jesus wasn’t predictable.  He upset the religious and spent time with the “sinners”. He did things different.  He did point His finger and preach but it was at the Pharisees who kept all the rules and thought they were better than everyone else.  They even thought Christ had it all wrong and challenged Him!  He loved and touched and healed and cried and prayed and changed the lives he came in contact with.  I WANTED TO BE LIKE CHRIST and this meant the old ways needed to change.

I stepped away from the rules and regulations and found relationship and freedom and joy.  Who would’ve known that several years later I would get so tired of the way the modern church did things, that I would step away from a church pay check to step out in faith and start my own church!?  Well, I’m here and loving every part of it.  WHY? Because I think I might be getting a little bit closer in doing ministry the way He did.  And it feels great!!!

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8 thoughts on “Big DECISION (My Spiritual Journey U-Turn)

  1. First let me say so glad you clarified some of these things. Secondly, no need to apologize I was just as guilty with the “preaching” as you were, when you are in it, especially from a young age its hard to see outside of it, just look at the followers STILL following a MAN. We were blinded by the do’s and don’ts of Christianity and we also had a shadow in the way, a man that pretended to be perfect and never were forced to really have a relationship with our Creator, we just needed to do all the “right” things and heck we even got a trophy telling everyone how “christian” we were!

    I feel like it’s always a process. I had several years of me and God just having it out about a few issues from the people in my life that I was hurt so deeply by all in the name of God. I finally came to realize God didn’t do those things; He may have ALLOWED them to happen and honestly I am thankful for the many trenches I was muddied through at a young age. It has enabled me to be an incredible judgment of character in the first few minutes of meeting people and I also have an uncanny ability to protect my children that many parents will never get to posses. I have also been able to connect with a lot of different people that have been through some of the same experiences and be a positive person in their lives.

    So all in all we all go through a journey in regards to our relationship with God and it’s really unimportant where you were or how you got there it really just matters where you end up and whose life you make better along the way.

    So, thanks for sharing – Ashley

    • What a hurtful experience that God is turning into a beautiful story in your life. Thank you for sharing. My wife, Suzette can do the same thing because of her hurts. It’s incredible how God can turn our stumbling blocks into stepping stones!!!

      Glad I got to be your jr. high pastor. Just wish I knew then what i do now and could’ve helped you better.

      God bless you and your beautiful family!

      • There are a few things you must remember. Ignorance is bliss, but it isn’t until we question (as you did by stepping out of the comfort zone and put in a very tough choice) that we can realize there is more to learn and grow than what we are taught.

        At that time you only were making the best decision as you could with the knowledge you had at that moment. You even said you wanted what was best for the kids and tried to teach them that. Now looking back we all can say “I wish I would of known better” and “I wish I could of changed ” but also realize that we wouldn’t be where we are now without going through the situation. Would we have learned the same thing if we didn’t?

        Everything happens for a reason and you are right that what may seem like needles meant to hurt us that we realize they are stepping stones to becoming closer to Him.

        I feel that you have truly learned your lesson and have asked for an apology and let it be known your intent. You aren’t to be blamed because you have changed. =)

        Blessing and Light to you and your family!

  2. Thanks, and yea its funny we all have regrets but at the end of the day its looking at the negative and making it a positive happiness is a choice i truly believe that!

    • Ashley I like your view!

      If we focus on the negative then that is all we see is negative. If we focus on the positive then that is all we perceive. It is by our will that we can change a bad situation into something good.

      Steve I have a story to share with you about the elephant and the 5 blind men if I don’t get a chance to write it on FB tonight.

  3. Great post. It is so hard to step out of what’s been taught for so long. It’s hard. It’s lonely. It’s frustrating. There are so many things you wish you could go back and change and apologize for. Thankfully God is patient and loving and helps us along. It’s always nice connecting w/ old or new friends who are searching for the ‘truth over tradition’.

    Thanks for the encouragement old friend. 🙂

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