Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How'd You Get Here?

I think I'm in a really good place right now. My job is aligned with my passion and my gifting. I've got an incredible family. But how'd I get here?

In 1995, Christ Community Church (CCC) in Ruston went through a terribly painful church split. Dozens of families who had been an integral part of planting the church a decade earlier broke fellowship with many of their closest friends. Lifelong relationships were shattered. It was yet another ugly display of church division in Ruston, LA.

I wasn't there. I grew up at another church in Ruston, First Baptist. In the mid-90's, our church was thriving under the leadership of Danny Wood. It was a great time for me to be in high school. During my freshman year, we experienced a huge influx of families from the CCC split, and I got to know many of those people.

In 2000, my church began to experience tough times. Through leadership failures and competing ministry philosophies, the unified vision of my church morphed into a PR campaign to make sure everyone was happy. My closest friends were hurt, and I was hurt. I took a couple of church jobs in the area in an attempt to find excuses not to go to church in Ruston. I was bitter, and I was wrong. But God used my mistakes, and the mistakes others to open doors that never would have opened. In 2002, many of the families who had left Christ Community in 1995 planted a new church in Ruston called Crossroads. They asked me to be part of the team and lead worship on Sundays. Karen and I decided to give it a shot.

If the 1995 split at CCC had never happened, Crossroads would not have started. If FBC had not hit such hard times in the early 2000s, I would not have taken a ministry job in my hometown, because I wouldn't have been able to leave my home church.

God has a way of taking our screw-ups, raking through the carnage, and rebuilding something beautiful. That's essentially the story of planet earth, right? We destroy, He redeems. We sin, He forgives. Beauty from ashes.

In Genesis 50:20, Joseph says that what was originally intended for evil, God used for good. The ultimate example of this, of course, is the cross. Jewish leaders thought that by killing Jesus they would destroy His influence over the region. But God used their sinful decision to redeem fallen humanity.

Take a look behind you. How has God used your mistakes or painful experiences to bring you where you are today?

What's broken in your life right now? Maybe you're going through something terrible, devastating. You've got reason to have a lot of hope in the middle of that circumstance. God's probably sifting through the rubble, gathering materials to build something that you wouldn't believe.

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's Official

Well, I'm a blogger. I've dismissed the idea of blogging for some time now, for a couple of reasons. First, I wonder if I really have anything to say. Well, I know I have something to say, but I wonder if I have anything to say that would benefit someone else. Second, would anyone read it if I did say anything?

As for my first concern, I've decided that I have lots to say. Often times, I have too much to say. But how often do I get up in the morning, live my life, and go to bed without stopping to think, "What have I learned? What mistakes did I make today? What do I need to change?"

You get the idea.

I think blogging will help me to process my life. I'm 30 years old right now, with a two year old and a two-month old. I fear turning 40, doing the exact same things I'm doing now, just trying to keep my kids from making huge mistakes, making sure the mortgage gets paid, keeping my marriage together. If I never stop and think, that's what will naturally happen, because I'm a routine type of guy. And my life will pass, decade after decade, and I'll eventually die. Not that blogging will keep me from dying (how great would that be!), but I think it will help me to LIVE my life, and not just let it pass me by.

My second concern (fear really) is probably the bigger issue for me. This fear really stems from a time in high school where my band was scheduled to play a concert with another band at Watertown in Shreveport. (I know, I know, that's a whirlwind of awesomeness.) We set up all day, and even did a radio interview to promote the show... and I'm not kidding, the four guys in the other band were the only people who heard us play. Was it Watertown? Was it us? Did the combination of the two create a perfect storm of negative synergy that kept people away? Either way, it was a blow to my already fragile 15-year-old ego.

I fear spending all this time throwing my perspectives on the world out there, and my mom being the only person who reads it. Or, to complete the analogy, the three or four guys whose blogs I read so they feel compelled to read mine. But should that stop me? Maybe my mom needs to hear what I say; maybe it'll benefit her in some way.

So here goes my blogging experiment. I'll discuss my journey of growth as a worship leader, a husband, a father, and a Christian leader. It's a long story...