Well, I was baptized at 11 or 12 at Summer Camp. I remember daddy drove me 20-30 minutes every week to that youth meeting. Thinking back, the Lord used Wendy Hester – a Pastor’s daughter to lure me into church and a relationship with Him.
I invited God to come along with me on my journey through life. And I liked God – and He was good to me. Over time I learned the ‘cause and effect’ of prayer and how God answered them. I prayed for things – grades, cars, jobs, etc… I once prayed for a new(er) Ford Ranger, blue, with cool mag wheels. It’s funny looking back, I remember the prayers. A week or so later I found and bought the exact truck that I saw when I prayed. My prayer life, and my walk with God took a pivitol turn when my daddy got cancer. I prayed for a loved one and my prayers came with tears. Again God was faithful in answering my prayers. The cancer went into remission for a year and a half. I thanked and praised God for daddy’s healing. The year and a half went by quick. It came back in his bone marrow and I remember I was on the hospital floor, cold and hard, with Nell and daddy unconscious in bed. I prayed the toughest prayer – to this day. I prayed for God to heal him again or take him home I could not bear to watch him suffer any more. That was about 10pm. About 10:45 he was gone. He was 55.
I went along my twenty’s and thirties working, playing, trying to be a good person, always open to God and inviting him into business ventures and my first home in Austin. I was a sinner living with an awareness and fondness for God. He was a faithful provider for me during those years but my heart was longing for something more – bigger. I must have prayed for 15 years for a wife. Not any wife but the right one. After much prayer I kinda got the feeling I would meet her in church. It was a recurring thought – God would give me a good woman if I started going to church again. I ignored that feeling.
I went on 15 dates from a dating site – 15 separate dead end lunch dates. The last one was a nice girl and she introduced me to Gateway Church. I liked it. Good music, comfy seats, lots of singles. I got to know the little church before and after it built and moved and became a pretty large church. I am last in and first out on Sundays. Skipping a lot of the singing and whatnot.
I went to that church for years and I prayed for her for years and one day I kinda hear “no Son, you have to get INVOLVED IN CHURCH. So I did. I served in just about every volunteer spot they had. From stacking chairs to playing with kids to the food pantry, etc… I prayed “what’s next Lord” and “Is this all” prayers.
One day I hear an announcement for a mission trip ….. nothing. Then they said “Mission trip to Reynosa” and It was as if the Lord took off his glove, slapped my face and challenged me to go. I thought what can I do for Mexico Lord? And He showed me that beautiful little dirty faced girl selling Chicle on the bridge. Yea I knew Reynosa, we went there numerous times to party and stock our bar with cheap liquor. I remember the little monkey at the bar closest to the border. That little girls face – it was real – it was vivid – even today. I went and signed up and put down a $50 deposit – God knows me.
The trips was a few months away and I soon found out that the trip was led by a Jewish guy. A Messianic Jewish guy from New Orleans. A Cajun Rabbi – I thought “that’s not gonna work”. The very moment I thought about backing out – I remembered the deposit. Shoot, I aint walking away from $50. So I went to every meeting and did the prayer and preparation guide. The book was “The Art of Listening Prayer” by Seth Barnes – I don’t know how I remember that. I learned, for the first time, to listen for God’s response when I pray. To be quiet and still and wait on him. That did not come natural or quickly, but over time it revolutionized my prayer life and deepened my faith and trust in God. Imagine, having a conversation, asking a question or for directions and then waiting for him to answer you. It was a new concept to me.
The first full day of the mission and we began by praying asking what God wanted each of us to do today. There were 5 choices. I prayed and wrote down ‘orphanage’. I never gave God a chance to tell me what he wanted. The Rabbi was cool but he called me out on that. “NO, you’re supposed to be in the prayer room today”. WHAT? I remember actually cussing. The prayer room your had to sit in a hot room (mex in aug) and pray for all the other teams that were out having fun? I was bummed. We had names, what the teams were doing, contacts, and we were told to write down whatever we saw, felt or heard.
I guess about an hour into it something happened. We began to see things like “red string”, “viscious dog”, “yellow striped shirt”, and other unexplainable things. We wrote it all down. Then the Holy Spirit dropped in the room and we were overwhelmed by the love of God. Grown men wept like babies – myself included. I can’t explain in any other way but the presence of God was so strong we could feel it – and it felt like this great love for me – and the others in that room – and the teams out in the city – and the ones we were there to visit.
The really cool part comes that night at the ‘debrief’. The prayer team went last and as each team described what they were doing it was dotted with all the things we saw and wrote down.
These ‘coincidences’ came so often that we started calling them “Christ-incidences”. One of the guys was out at a youth prison looking for someone in a yellow striped shirt. None of the boys did, none of the guards did either. As they all got back in the van ready to go a man walks outside in a yellow striped shirt. The van stops, they go back and visit with the facility doctor, in a yellow striped shirt. They lead him to the Lord. The Lord sewed that seed into a man in a position to share it with every one of those young men. Story after story, I was changed forever on day 1.
I got back from that mission trip and signed up for the next one leaving in 2 weeks. Over the next 5 years I would average 4-5 weeks in short term missions each year. I loved watching God work so much I told him one day that if I was just to be a single guy doing mission trips I would be fine without a wife – and I surrendered my search to Him for the last time.
I visited Mexico, Choctaw Indians in Miss, New Orleans after Katrina, Israel – twice. It was good. I learned sometimes a NO is not a NO it’s just a Not Now. His favor was on my life.
Then, since I had quit looking, I met my beloved wife at a church event – she was on the prayer team. We laugh at that still today. I fell in love with her after signing up for a bible study she was co leading on Song of Solomon. And that was the first time scripture turned me on – literally.
I went from 47, never married, no kids to 48 married with 3 adult kids to 49 with a newborn. My Son is 4 now. God has a sense of humor. We moved to a smaller community church near our home and we have been there on the prayer team, on the welcome team, in the kids classes. Serving where we can, when we can with the gifts He’s given us. I got to help introduce our church to Community First Village, a master planned development of tiny homes and trailers for the homeless. It is the coolest thing I have ever seen God do – to have the community join with the church, approved by the city, to build housing and a family neighborhood for ‘the least of these’. It will get 20 – 25% of the chronically homeless off the street in Austin.
Our little church is growing, the missions ministry is growing, the childrens ministry, new youth Pastor, life is good. In the world, as the dark gets darker the Light gets Lighter. More and more I see how God is working. I wonder if you see Him working in, around and through you?
I got to read my latest poem “Real Power” to my church last night – that was a gift. I will share with you in parting.
Trying to see things from my spiritual being I look deep inside my heart cause that’s the best place to start. What I find eyes open wide scares me little you must know, I take it wherever I go. I’m a sinner. But the Lord ransomed me, you see, so I could be the best me I can be. He’s got a purpose for a man with love and light in his hand trying to live his life out to honor Father God. IT’S NOT ODD, I repeat it is not odd, to see a man flaws scars and all standing only to fall , with sins new and old yet increasingly bold to shout out the name of the one thing in life I know to be true. Jesus is alive inside me and you too. Things have never been the same in my heart or in my brain. When I found Him it changed everything. I surrendered to my heavenly King. Now I am alive and in love with Yahweh above and His Son and His spirit of love hope and peace. He’s helping me be the best me for Him I can be. The power of one being alive for the King used to be the most powerful thing I had ever seen in this heavenly kingdom on earth. From God I draw my worth.
Then I met Yadi – my special Potadi and God showed me again how He’s always had a plan that was bigger than one man — to be the best me for Him I can be – I needed her. Two hearts moving for Him is the real win – win -win and now the newest most powerful thing in the Kingdom I’ve ever seen. Until we had a son. And the Lord showed me I needed Family to be the best me for Him I can be. A whole family sold out, standing firm with no doubt that the God of Israel … is REAL. Jesus is REAL. The Holy Spirit is a person and He is REAL. The same Holy Spirit that rolled back the stone and raised up our King, to whom we praise worship and sing. He works through our lives – ALL of our children, husbands and wives. So see, to be the best me I can be for the one true King I need the Holy Spirit of Truth Grace and Love. Not mine but His up above with my wife and my son all as one – That’s the most powerful thing in this heavenly ring that I’ve ever seen.
But then there is you – what do we do when our families both serve our big God above? With all of our labor and love. You are right over there, not too far and I swear, that we can run stronger together – through both sunny and stormy weather. How the Kingdom expands as we walk hand in hand in God’s spirit and plan. THAT is the most powerful thing in the Kingdom I’ve seen and it makes my heart swing to look at all of you knowing you know our Christ as King too. Now what are we to do? It seems God greatest plan, His might and power at hand, may be for us to work together to bring love and hope to the lost. To love full out no matter what it may cost. Maybe, you see, for me to be the best me for Him I can be I need you.
Maybe we need each other, brother to brother to bring Christ’s light and hope and love into the world. No matter how bad it looks out there or how hard the darkness scares – God wins in the end, of this my heart is sure my friend. With or without us He wins, there’s no way around it we can flee, watch or surround it – mark God’s word the darkness will fall.
It’s the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth Y’all. That’s all! The most powerful thing in the Kingdom I’ve seen is community and family working together, digging Spiritual treasure; it’s life in the spirit all for one. We’re invincible with the blood of Gods Son. And there is so much that needs to be done. That’s how the Lord wins in the end. We all, GO, Pray, and Send. We’re all part of His adventure and plan. That’s my heart and my hope, understand?
Happy Ever After
for Yadi and Glenn
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? …
Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”