Playing the Drums in a Hurricane…

I often get accused of being a bit unorthodox, “beating to the beat of a different drum”, or as one pastor who has actually took some time to speak in to my life said, “one that people know and see that God is up to something with but who aren’t really sure what to do with.” I have never quite understood why those things have been said about me, but of course I can only live out life from my own context. And having always tried to live and be a black and white type of person, I can admit that when these things are said that there is a common denominator in all of them……me. That is actually partially the reason why I started a blog to begin with…to try and help people understand who I am and where I am coming from. This particular blog post will hopefully be one thing that not only helps do that, but also expresses some of my heart, and reveals some of my pains because of that heart as well…

Yesterday the United States eastern seaboard, in which I currently reside, was bombarded by hurricane Sandy, and this morning into this afternoon many are still very much feeling her affects. My heart is moved for those people and I truly hope all those who are posting that they are praying, are doing more than trying to look like the super Christian for their social media friends, as for many this time is a true time of testing and they could truly use the intercessory prayer.

During the storm, I was not home in the house with the windows boarded up…and no I wasn’t at work…I actually left my house and headed…towards the coast…into the storm. The question one might be asking or thinking is, is why? While there has always been a fascination for extreme weather that I have always had, and this was not the first time I have driven into a rough weather situation deliberately, I am by no means a “storm chaser” or interested in meteorology and that is not the reason why I did yesterday.  But hopefully, as you read on you will begin to hear my drum beat, and hear the sound that pounds from the depth of my heart and may even be able to hear it in some capacity beating in your own song…in your own walk.

My entire life in Christian ministry has been about going to where the lost are trying to reach them…disciple them…and build God’s Church. It has looked very different over the years in terms of methodology and tactics…but whether it was traveling the country doing music ministry, on the foreign mission field, amongst drug addicts or the less fortunate, one on one mentoring, small groups and yes even trying to assemble the masses for a conference or event, the heart has always been the same…to see God’s Kingdom enhanced….built….and souls redeemed into the saving knowledge and grace of repenting of their sins and putting true and Biblical faith in Jesus and His redemptive work on the Cross and then walking it out in everyday life…It is just that simple. The ironic thing is, that in my experience, the biggest hindrance to that has often been local churches themselves.

While I have certainly grown in my sensitivity for churches to be on guard, especially with the amount of absolute garbage unbiblical movements out there professing to be Christian, and the false teachers that these movements are breeding, I still cannot help notice the amount of division that seems to be evident with the Church and the disunity and uncooperative heart to try and work together to see the Kingdom enhanced because of different methodological beliefs, that have less to do with the Gospel and more to do with how one does or practices church. Is there better ways to do things than other ways? Sure… Is there ways that look more like the world and have potentially done more harm than good? Evidence would suggest so…But is there one way to build God’s church outside of proclaiming the Gospel? I can’t say that I agree there is… And I have traveled all over America and Europe and have seen God’s Bride expressed in many different ways, and at this point I get more than annoyed when someone makes the audacious claim that their expression and methodology is the more Biblical than another expression, when I have seen first-hand just how much culture and context often dictates how those expressions and methodologies look. But this attitude has grown more and more prevalent and in my humble opinion and experience, the Church with a big C is the most divided I have ever seen or experienced in my entire Christian walk, as the church with a little c moves away from working cooperatively with one another locally in the name of methodology or “what’s trending now”.  For a guy like me, that can and has been disheartening.

This past weekend I finished what has been about five and a half months of long and stretched out ministry. It has been a time in which I have trained young people to go, be and live on mission, taken a that same group overseas to put it into practice, then worked cooperatively with ministries and churches in Eastern Europe, and finally finished out with our ministries Firm Foundations conference this past weekend. It has been a good time of seeing God move and do some pretty amazing things, but this past weekend’s conference was, from a human standpoint anyways, a bit anticlimactic and I really felt and saw just how uncooperative churches can be when they choose to be that way.

Anyways, I say all that to say that when Monday rolled around with that hurricane approaching, I was not only completely exhausted but also discouraged and sitting home in the rain would have just not been an option for me the way I was feeling.  So seeing some of the videos on line of the storm surge and its approaching fury I felt the itch to do something totally unrelated to ministry and full of adrenaline so I jumped in my car and headed out….alone. It became and was a surreal experience. The roads were literally empty as I headed towards the storm that was wreaking havoc at the shoreline. When I finally found a place where I could be on the shore without getting chased away by the police or the coast guard I sat and watched the growing fury begin to intensify as I sat in my car watching the water rise and grow closer to my car with every passing minute. And it was in that moment, that God met me where I was and began to speak into the depths of my discouragement, and God reminded me of the time when the disciples where out on the boat during a storm much like I was staring at. You know the story…the one in Mark 4 where Jesus was simply just chilled out in the stern of the boat catching some z’s and then handled business when the disciples lost heart and were afraid…and God began to help that drum beat  of going to where the lost are to try and reach them…disciple them…and build His Church begin to beat louder in the midst of the storm I was staring at…And that as an evangelist…as a prophet…to keep a heart to press on and beat the drum of reaching the lost even louder than when things seemed to be more cooperative between local churches…

So I say that and write this to you so that if you are in your church, and are frustrated with the lack of outreach, lack of discipleship, lack of new converts (for whatever reason that may be), and may even feel stifled by the church you are a part of, or the storm of uncooperative spirit amongst churches to work together, to remember that Jesus isn’t worried about it and is just chilled out in the stern of the boat listening to the beat of the storm, knowing that His Will is to be accomplished on the earth and to press on being faithful to the people He has put in your path that need to hear and see the beat of the Gospel playing strongly in your life regardless of the storms of our flawed churches may bring…not complaining about your church or simply dreaming about the church you desire to see but loving the Church and being a vessel in which it, and your local expression of it, is built…

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