Saturday, November 27, 2004

My Call, Part 4

Sorry its been so long since I posted last, but work has been really busy.

I thought I would get back to what happened after I returned from CBF in Charlotte. While we were at CBF, we purchased a few books by a couple of the speakers we heard: Tony Campolo and Brian Mclaren. While I was reading these books, I started to get the feeling that this was something that I wanted to do, and the more I read, the more I began to feel that it was something that I had to do.

One morning at church, an odd thing happened. Our minister of congregational life, Nancy Burke, came into Gay's office one morning and asked me if I thought I was being called into ministry. She said that she had woke up that morning thinking about me. I told her that it didn't matter, I couldn't leave my dad's business.

I guess you could say I started trying to run away from this calling. I tried really hard to make other business options work out, but it seemed that the harder I tried, the more I failed. Partnerships that I thought would happen in my father's business failed, and I lost clients in my own business. I can also remember driving in my car alone and just being overcome with emotion whenever I thought about going to seminary. But, rather then answering this calling. I came up with another excuse. I was too old to start over again.

I started thinking that I would be 36 when I finished school with an MDiv, and did I really want to start over again at 36. I thought I could do it if all I had to think about was me, but I didn't know that I could drag Gay through all of that. We would have to move and give up the house we both love. We would both be leaving family and friends, and moving to a place where we knew very few people.

I kept this argument up for a while. Bayshore has 3 services every Christmas Eve. We have a family pajama service, and 2 candlelight services. I can remember Gay telling me that night how tired she was, but I can remember is feeling really energized. I told her that I looked at these services as a ministry, and I really enjoyed doing them.

I felt God talking to me all during the candlelight services. I kept up the same argument, I was too old. My former pastor, Dr. Tom Pinner, was preaching that night, and the topic of his sermon was the wise men. To summarize, he said that the wise men came late, because they missed the birth, and that it was never too late to do what God wants us to do.

I have come to realize now that I am only late in my timing. I am the one who thinks that I should have my career and family established and be settled down by the time I am 35. In God's timing, I believe I am right on time. I never felt a call into ministry before a couple of years ago, so it is not something I have been ignoring. I think God has his own reasons for calling me at this point in my life, and although I don't know what those reasons are, I am now completely comfortable with my decision.

So, I asked God to let me know for sure that this is what he wanted me to do, and not pursue a new business opportunity I had working with churches. There is an old saying that you need to be careful what you pray for, because you just might get it. In a couple of months, the business deal I had with another company fell through, and I really felt God telling me that this was my answer.

It was then that I really started sharing my decision with a few select people. Gay and I spent a lot of time talking about it, and we finally came to a decision that we were going to start investigating schools. I told a few of the ministers at Bayshore one Sunday, and I clearly remember waking up the following morning. For the first time in a long, long time, I didn't wake up on Monday morning with a feeling of fear and dread about what the future held. I woke up feeling great. I was completely comfortable with what the future now had in store. I remember thinking, "Wow! This is really different, and I like it!"

In my next post, I will write about how Gay and I started looking at schools.

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