These are words that I’ve been wanting to say in person, and maybe one day I will, but writing will have to suffice tonight. Forgive me if it doesn’t flow as well as I would like, I have to express my heart. My heart is this: Even though I am in a leadership position, that doesn’t make me perfect. Even though I am doing what I am doing, that doesn’t free me from struggle. Actually, it puts a big red target on my back. Anytime the enemy sees anyone in a leadership position, he seeks to compromise that in any form possible. If someone even has leadership potential lets say, Satan wants to stop that before that person can be an effective witness for Christ. Satan wants to discredit that person so people will not believe in their leadership. If you distract a hungry shepherd with a tantalizing meal, where his sheep graze? So is the position of leadership.
So yes, I do face a lot of spiritual warfare as do many others in similar positions where they can influence people. They don’t have to be your typical run-of-the-mill leaders. I don’t think myself one, rather I think I would rather work behind the scenes and be much more comfortable that way. Yet, that is not God’s calling on my life and it’s not on others as well. He has put me in this position by His grace to live as an example, not so much for my hardheadedness and my mistakes, but as a constant reminder of His mercy and love.
I know full well that I do not deserve to be here. I deserve to be drowning in my sin, and on the other extreme there are much more capable leaders than I am. It’s interesting what you learn by where God puts you. I didn’t volunteer for this position, but God knew what He was doing when He told me to take leadership of Breaking Free with Eric. At the time He knew I was struggling with the thought of Him loving me and finding any use for me. I thought I wasn’t useful, rather I was a washout that would live out his days as a mediocre believer always regretting not following God’s ways choosing my own time after time. God saw through those lies, extended his hand of grace towards me, and kept showing His unfailing love. Later on, in the form of a text message, I was told that by Eric God had lead him to me for this position. Naturally I was elated, dumbfounded, and in disbelief.
In the midst of all those emotions, I felt much peace. I knew that was Him working in my life, showing me love and grace I didn’t deserve because of the God that He is. That still doesn’t mean I had it figured out then, rather it’s been an extended process of learning and trying to understand what that really means in the context of my life. I can understand it in others, and in my pain from outside emotional stress and distress. I can’t understand it so well when it’s something within me that spits in the face of His grace. Those are factors that for the most part, are in my control, and yet I fail to because of my perverse desires that aren’t His.
Even with my emotional distress over a mistake, I realize that it’s not because I sinned against Him. It’s because of a selfish reason that extends throughout my past: I absolutely hate making any sort of mistakes. It was evident on the soccer field when I played: I didn’t need anyone to tell me I messed up a play, I was already beating myself up about it the instant it happened so I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. There were times when I saw my life as one big mistake that I was drowning in. I wasn’t so sure I would make it out of them. That same theme has radiated through my life, squashing what God has truly seen in me.
Pretty heavy stuff, but praise God He is stronger than the weight of my sin and failure. He lifted it off my shoulders as His love poured down that splintery cross for my sin. He hasn’t stopped working in me, though I’ve been a hardhead and haven’t been the greatest at listening wandering in my own directions. He is always faithful, so much more than I will ever be. His love extends beyond the wildest fringes of my imagination and His grace lights the basements of my deepest regrets. I know from my own life that God has constantly proven His character in the deepest and most sincere love for me. I know if this has been done for me, that my Father has been so patient with me, that the same has been done for you too. It doesn’t matter how war-torn your soul is, He is the most excellent physician.
Your wounds haven’t festered beyond healing, and the damage to your heart isn’t so great that it will cease to beat. The pain inside is overwhelming, and your soul is gripped in agony because of what is bearing down on you. Hope for tomorrow and happiness have long past. Whatever your case may be, and whatever mine is, there is yet hope for us. I am reminded not only of examples that I’ve seen, but also of Scripture. One that is incredibly reassuring to me right now is these verses:
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
— Philippians 1:6
“Come, let us return to the LORD;
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD;
his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.”
— Hosea 6: 1-3
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.
— Psalm 78: 1-8
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
— James 1: 2-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
— 2 Corinthians 1: 3-7
The last of these is the love chapter in 1 Corinthians (Ch. 13). There is so much more in Scripture that we can run to for comfort in our affliction and to know that God is still with us. It’s crazy how God works. He always does, and most in the time it we aren’t able to see the full extent of His work. There are so many things going on around us that we can’t comprehend or grasp the meaning of why things are happening. Though we can’t grasp it, we can trust Him that His ways are higher than ours (Isa. 55:9) and He knows what He doing. He promises good for us (Romans 8: 28) because our heart is set on Him, and He gives us hope for a future, even if our future is not on this earth. That is the ultimate hope, that no matter what happens on this earth, our future is with Him in heaven.
As we face the battles against sin and outside factors, these things have to be our hope. To gain any sort of ground in the realm of spiritual warfare, our hope has to be set in the victory of Christ on the cross. From that point the battle is ours, so long as we are consistent in putting on the armor of Eph. 6. To weather these storms, we need to refresh ourselves in His word and in communion with Him through prayer. We need to pray for each other, and cover each other in it.
This is where I get back to what I said at the beginning. I am letting you into the dark and light aspects of my life and what I think so I can connect to you in a real way. A real way, at least as much as it can get through words on a page on the internet. I share this because I love people, for me it isn’t love if I don’t allow them to connect with who I am and what I struggle with. As a leader, I want you to know who I am, so I’m not this inhuman abstract figure in charge of something. I am a person who struggles just as you do, and I want to in some way go through this journey of ups and downs with you. In essence, my desire is to share solidarity and interdependence on this campus. I hope you’ll want to dothe same, not only with me, but especially with others that God brings along in your life who you can influence.
It’s been frustrating lately that things with Breaking Free haven’t panned out the way we imagined. We thought our website would be up to its full capacity 2-3 weeks after our chapel. Right now we’re still waiting for that to occur as technical issues are cleared up that are beyond our control. That’s been coming up on a 2 week process already. It’s hard when you plan something like this, and then feel like you’re letting every one down because things aren’t happening the way we would want. That pressure breathes down our backs. So far it’s been a lot of talk, and seemingly little action to go with it.
Thankfully, visible action is beginning and work is being done to go beyond the factors that we can’t control. We’ve been able to launch our email address and we can begin to take those who want to reach out to help. We are sending out cards. There are many other things in the works. The greatest thing with this is we know that God is in control, and this process is taking its time for a reason. I can see how God is preparing this campus for Him to use the tool that He is building. He is working beyond us thankfully to complete His work. It’s exciting to see what God is going to do in our lives on this campus. I’m not just talking about Breaking Free, but every way in which God is going to work. He is driving everyone to Himself, and doing a true in long term work in the individual’s heart. He is raising up a people that will truly follow Him no matter the circumstance, and their faith will be the shining light of His love and grace.
One day, I might this out better and make my thoughts flow better, but I hope what you have read (if you made it this far) has encouraged you and let you know more of who I am and what I struggle with. Blessings to you, I know God is going to do great things.