I began attending Normandy back when it was just a bunch of small groups and didn't meet formally as a church. I remember the day they announced the name of the church we would plant. I remember the first Sunday, the first Easter, and the first time I hugged a drunk guy on Greenville Ave. on St. Pat's. When I started attending Normandy, I was fresh out of seminary, underemployed, and doubting God's calling on my life to go into ministry. The love and Truth I was fed at Normandy kept my soul on life-support as I worked through some very difficult times of transition in my life. Since leaving Dallas in 2013 I have been on four continents and have been involved with some amazing people, but I continue to think of Normandy as my home and a place that served God's purposes for me in such a crucial season of my life.
There was a man named Saul who hated what the early followers of Jesus were saying. He felt like his version of religious truth was THE truth and that the early followers of Jesus were heretics because they didn't believe exactly the same way he did and they didn't follow the rules like him and they didn't interpret Scriptures like him (man, the first century was TOTALLY unlike today, right?). Saul was so mad at these guys that he was roaming town to town making sure they were arrested and even executed.
One day he was heading from one execution to another when a light blinded him and then Jesus asked him why he was persecuting these guys. Jesus spoke to Saul from a light and he was immediately blinded. After that event, he changed his name to Paul and started preaching the Gospel of Jesus to non-Jews all over the Mediterranean area. Well, there was a bit of him "working out his salvation" and all that, but basically he was called while riding a donkey, and then he answered the calling. This is a special case, and is obviously not indicative of the way God calls most people. I'm not sure about you, but I don't know anyone who has been blinded by Jesus and told what he or she was going to do for the rest of his or her life.
To me, "calling" is a progressive revealing of the future God has for you. You may not ever see your whole calling all at once, but instead you'll see bits and pieces of your calling coming through the fog while the rest hides behind the next curve on the path to be discovered next. To believe that I know I am called to spend the rest of my life doing one specific task would probably be a bit presumptuous. I believe I am called to work with students right now, but as far as the next 25 years go, I have no idea what I'll be doing. And that is part of being on an adventure with God! He determines the times and the seasons of our lives.
Recently I took a job with Youth For Christ. I'm going to work in Germany with international students. These are kids whose parents have been transferred to Germany by their jobs. The students I will be working with are from all over, giving me the opportunity to share the Love I have found with young people who can take that Love back to their homelands and spread it all over the world. I am extremely excited about this next step and believe it is the calling for the next few years of my life. I believe God has revealed through my study of my past as well as prayer about my future that I am supposed to go do this, that I am skilled in what I need, and that he is going to make me adequate. God's absolute futurity -- which is just a fancy word for God being the future and the present and the past all simultaneously -- speaks to His ability to prepare me completely for His calling. He has prepared me, is preparing me, and will prepare me in the same way He has called me, will call me, and is calling me simultaneously. In fact, it is His promise to do so. He equips the called! God has always been calling me in the same way I have always been moving through God to the moment in which He called me. Normandy Church played a huge role in my life and I am grateful for it as the Normandy family kept me on this path.
I would love your prayer as I move into this new position. I would love your support as I try to raise the substantial funds needed to make this ministry possible (Click HERE to donate to my ministry account). I would love your encouragement because the hardest part of this calling is going to be leaving so many friends behind in the states for long stretches, and loneliness can kill a calling.
This is an exciting new chapter and one that I could not have foreseen for me even a year ago. I am excited to step into it, and excited to see what God is going to amaze me with as I do. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and I will continue to follow His love like a pillar of fire in the night.