These are probably not the words you would expect to hear from a children’s pastor. And if you attend Heartland and I minister to your children, I’m sure these words raise more than an eyebrow. Rest assured I not only like your kids, I am passionate about seeing them grow in a “Kingdom Relationship”.
Those words did come out of my mouth, so let me explain. It was spring of 1990, my wife and I were in the Air Force and living on base. The one thing we were not doing was serving the Lord in any way. So, when I leapt out of bed at 8:30 on a Sunday morning and shouted, “Wake up, we have to go to church!” that more than surprised her.
It wasn’t a dream I had or even a forethought the night before. I just woke up abruptly with that thought in my head. Now, it took some convincing, but I was persistent enough that she got our son ready and we headed off base to Colorado Springs.
As she was putting her makeup on in the car, she said, “Where we are even going? We don’t know any churches in the area.” I answered with the utmost confidence, “We will just take the first right when we get in town and keep turning right after that. If we do that, we will be making the right decision.” I know that logic probably blows your mind, but imagine what I was thinking when we got to that last right and the street sign said “Dead End”.
My wife and I both looked at each other (her look was a little more perturbed), but I apologized and said, “We’ll just go home and go back to bed.” However, sitting at the end of that dead end road was a little white church, steeple and all.
We walked in (late, of course) and sat down on the left side fourth pew from the front. Now this is where things get really interesting. As I was trying to listen to the message, everything went black, like an old television set being shut off. For those too young to remember that, just know—everything went black. The next thing to go was my hearing, like it was being turned down slowly.
There I was sitting in this church blind and deaf, when all of a sudden there was a bright whiteness all around me and, stepping out of the brightness, was an even brighter figure. He began to speak to me. I remember it was like a whisper, but extremely loud and it made my insides shake. He said, “I am calling you to change a generation, to teach them to walk in my way, to bring the Kingdom to their lives.”
Now, as He was saying all this, you would assume I would be freaking out or unable to respond. In fact it was quite the opposite. I began to disagree and said, “No, that’s crazy. I can’t do that. I don’t even like kids.”
The wildest thing I remember is that, no matter how much I protested, I could still hear Him and He just kept talking. When He was through, everything went black again. I could hear the volume of the preacher’s voice slowly being turned up and then my vision came back.
I looked around expecting everyone to be amazed at what had just happened, but they were just listening to the message. I turned to my wife and asked if she heard or saw any of that. She replied with a “shush.”
It took me a while, but I finally came to the understanding that this experience was me being called to where I am at now.
In an attempt to keep this short, I will condense what happened next. An incident occurred at that church and I became offended. I ran even harder from the Lord for the next five years then I had in the previous five. When I came back to the Lord in February of 1996, I began to walk that call out and thus here I am today.
Let me leave you with this final thought. A calling from the Lord is just that, the Lord calling you for a lifelong purpose. It is not a calling for a particular time in your life. He doesn’t change His mind later if you decide not to answer the call.
You have a calling on your life. The enemy may have tripped you up and lied to you in attempt to make you feel like you aren’t qualified. Don’t be deceived. The only thing that can disqualify you is if you never answer that call.