I'm in my office this morning, 3 days before Thanksgiving, giving thought to what I should share. Not wanting to write another article that will in some way make me look wise, powerful, and transformational. I'm listening to some worship music and reading Jeff Deyo's new book "Awakening True Worship". What I have read to this point is ringing so true with where the Lord has me, presently on my life journey. Next month, a four year long endeavor, on a Masters Degree. Why? Tom's old, why is he getting a Masters, for the same reason, I want to grow in my relationship with Jesus. I am once again, asking myself, "Tom, why are you doing what you do?" I have not contrived long answers, I just have one... I was moving towards a degree in Aero Space Engineering, when God stopped me cold on a Sunday Morning, at Bend Faith Christian Center, seated, in the balcony, between my best friend Mike and my girlfriend, and soon wife, Dalleen. It wasn't the message being preached, it wasn't the worship being sung, it was God from heaven, entering into my physical world, and making his presence made known, He asked me stop doing what I was doing, and come follow Him into Pastoral Ministry.
You see 9 years before, God called me as a 10 year old to follow Him and live out my life for Him in salvation, 2 years later He once again, made Himself very real on a Sunday Morning, where He showed me what true worship, was like, again, no one else was apparently experiencing what I was. It was that same year, the Holy Spirit came and filled me. Never would I be the same again. Now here 43 years later, those decisions were incredible, my life has grown, but the reason has never changed. "That None Perish". Yes, I've been in valleys that slowed down the journey. Yes, life has not always been great. My decisions have not always been driven by His voice. I can say this I would not go back and change one bit of the journey. I would prefer that my daughter didn't do what she did at 16, I would prefer that my son wasn't abused, but I am who I am because of living through those incredibly difficult journeys.
Just a month ago I stood at Youth Convention, after our Network Lead Pastor, Bill Wilson, shared a message that stirred the hearts of our Oregon students, to respond to a call to ministry. Many responded because there was a stirring/calling in their heart and they moved towards God and God moved towards them. Others responded because God was calling them to something more. Like He did for me that Sunday morning. God was so good to me in my journey, he provided incredible leadership to help me on that journey, one of their names was Jon Davis, He's been an Oregon missionary to China for around 30 years. Then his brother-in-law came, and Verlon continued my journey, all the while God gave me Bill Galaher, my Lead Pastor to stretch me. There were so many others they are too many to count, God had a plan, and He never thought about making me walk this journey alone. In fact, Jon was so instrumental in my life change that I named my son after him.
As I worship today, as I talk to Jesus in my quiet time, I have just one question to wrap up this testimony... Reminding you of Youth Convention and the 200-400 that responded to the "Call of God". It's been a month, what are you doing to help your students be obedient to the "Call". Not all to vocational ministry, I know that, that's not the point. Are your raising up your replacement? Are you raising up Peers in Vocation? How? Bring them into your inner circle (Peter, James and John), Encourage them in the good and hard days? Remind them often of what God has asked of them. We can together see Oregon know Christ.
Two things to do:
Join me at 9:38 am. every morning, put a timer on your phone. Matthew 9:38 New International Version (NIV) 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Live this out. Matthew 28:19-20 New International Version (NIV)
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”