design

Design Call

My assignment: After studying the three readings: “Called to What,” Myths about God’s Call,” and “Types of Calls,” share at least two or three points that were especially meaningful to me and explain why they were meaningful. On the other hand, point out ideas or concepts presented by an author in which I was not in full agreement. Explain.

Myth #6 in “Myths about God’s Call” repudiates the notion of an intuition automatically standing as a direct call from God. So many times I see an individual’s intuition so out of line with their gift set. Some examples are: the worship leader who can’t sing in pitch, the marriage counselor on their fourth husband, and even the church treasurer who is loosing their home due to financial disorder. I am very aware of my gifts and try to remain at peace with what God did not impart to me. I am not a motivator in the traditional sense, but God has instilled in me the ability to reach a certain type of individual.

In “Called to What” McManus states that Jesus wasn’t modeling servant-hood when he washed the disciples feet. He was a servant. There is a huge difference between role playing and being. In essense, a leader needs to make decisions with a servants heart. God, as an example, is almighty and more powerful than anything and more humble at the same time. Humility is not weakness. Francis Schaffer comments about having tears when you impart discipline. The character of a leader is strong enough to make the necessary decision with the right heart. I pray that I aways use authority with humility.

I have a little difficulty with the concept of a “Heart Call”. So many times, there are Christians who are gracious, God fearing believers that just seem to have a heart for something they are not qualified or gifted in. I would propose the “Heart Call” should really be called a “Design Call.” God designed each of us to fulfill a specific part of the body. If we are chasing the hubcaps of ministry because we feel “led” to a ministry that is not part of our God given design, we are simply operating on emotion and throwing God’s sovereignty and plan out the window.

beautiful

Beautiful

My assignment: Share a Bible verse that has guided my life in a special way. Explain how.

2 Corinthians 8:21 states: “…providing honorable things, not only in the site of the Lord, but also in the site of men.” Paul says this after commending Titus for his dedication to looking after the tithes and offerings. Titus was appointed to make sure there wasn’t any monkey business with the money that was given. It was important to Paul that they be above reproach.

What grabbed me about this passage is, when I looked up honorable in the Greek, the main connotation was “beauty”. I thought about this not in so much in a flowery or frilly way but more in an upstanding way. Imagine a firm handshake, an officer taking a bullet to save an innocent civilian, or an infantryman jumping on a grenade to save his company. These are all things of beauty if you really stop to think about it, the sacrifice and selflessness, that is. The point being, our interaction with each other should look appealing, beautiful and should make people take notice. The verse also says “…in the sight of men”. So, contrary to popular belief, it does matter what people think. This reinforces the importance of being above reproach and in addition, our interactions should also represent our best reflection of Christ.

Digging into this passage brought conviction and self evaluation. I had to make some adjustments after reflecting and getting God’s perspective.

Poised for Ministry Success

My assignment: Write a 750-1000 word reflection after completing each workbook that explains what I learned personally about focused living from the workbook.

Everything about my journey towards ministry has been unconventional. I did not opt for seminary right out of high school; in fact, I never saw value in furthering my education. However, I have traveled from childhood to my mid forties with a gut level attraction toward leading. Looking back at all of the circumstances, I can see a pattern of guidance from above. Reflecting on the people I came into contact with as a young man; I see the many ways their influence would resurface as I became mature enough to recognize the value in what was shared with me so many years ago.

As a preteen, I witnessed our pastor expelled from our church due to his wife’s infidelity. It was traumatic and it made me feel like life would never be the same. Later, as a professional musician who traveled and made it to the big stage, I saw the business side of the Christian music scene show me how corrupt a Christian could be while taking advantage of people under the guise of “ministry.” Both of these events at completely different stages in my life convinced me of how much we all need Jesus. I witnessed human nature call for self-preservation and selfish ambition perpetually into my 30s. One could say I gained perspective about avoiding trust in people over trust in God.

Self-reliance, work ethic, conviction, and perseverance became a higher priority as I became older. I really did not want to impart those feelings of being let down to anyone on earth. I committed to work hard, honored my commitments, and always followed through on keeping my word. I was quick to help anyone to the fullest when asked for help. To this day, I find joy in completing a project or task regardless the situation. God has truly wired me this way from my life experiences.

It is funny how there is always a flip side to every coin. On one hand, God has used some negative experiences in my life to instill useful values. On the other hand, the same experiences have left me with a character flaw or maybe we can call it a character challenge, which is difficulty dealing with excuses for incomplete tasks. Tolerance is one of the toughest virtues in my life to make peace with. I want to extend grace and understanding, but not honoring a commitment or unreliability does not settle well with me. I lose respect for those who take commitments so cavalier. Intolerance becomes especially magnified when church and the ministry are involved. When it comes to God, I default to a, “there is no excuse” stance, because I do not take my commitment to Christ or the church casually.

God has used several divine appointments in my life. The very first people God sent to me were sent as a pair during my first years of high school. Monty Sharp and David Stanley worked for Campus Crusades for Christ and had started a Wednesday night Bible study for teens called Student Venture. Monty loved to share Jesus and David could play his guitar and sing like no other. They were both equally demonstrating the love of God in a powerful way. The Wednesday night study became the norm for me through high school. I continued to attend and assist with worship years after I finished high school. My second divine appointment arrived at this same study; I met my wife. She keeps me grounded and encourages me to think before I speak. My temperament needs someone in my life to save me from myself at times. I thank God she is willing. One Bible study and three divine contacts; God was most definitely efficient in this case.

In my mid twenties, I had an opportunity to play guitar professionally. I teamed up with two friends from Junior High School. We happened to be in the right place at the right time, and were signed to a Christian record label in Nashville. We were young and admittedly naïve, and I lost one of my best friends in the process. The whole experience amounted to a giant negative preparation for ministry later in life. I know my experiences reinforce my now careful approach to new commitments. God built a healthy skepticism into me to serve as a balance to overzealous endeavors.

My fifth and final process item falls in the category of Destiny Revelation. When I began attending Calvary Hills Church, I had no idea what was in store for me. After several months of attending, I began to notice that most of the needs and deficiencies lined up with my strengths and skill sets. I began to get involved and solve issues with the church one item at a time. The relationship between Pastor Jeff and I grew and a bond of trust was formed over a four-year period of time. In 2012, Jeff asked me to serve on the Board and I graciously accepted. I spend 20+ hours a week working on and in the new ministry direction God has called me to, realigning my life to make ministry a priority.

My life has been full of challenges and faith sustaining events, taking the long way around the mountain to my destination. Once I became aware of my calling, ministry maturing happened quickly. He has also made it clear what is not necessarily in my wheelhouse. As I continue to mature, I realize how much I do not know. It is ironic that being enlightened means you realize you are not enlightened. God has and is providing ways for my unique shaping to contribute. Simply put, he is giving me tasks and opportunities that no one else could do. I am experiencing fulfillment in the work of the church and I will not be setting aside my gifts any time soon.

Imperfection

My assignment: In Step 4 of the Perspective/Time Line Self-Discovery Workbook, Terry Walling refers to “blind spots.” What types of blind spots might Christian leaders possess? Could any of the blind spots I mention have been shaped through the leader’s time line journey? How?

I know we all have blind spots. I would argue that a true blind spot might not be recognized right away by any of us or any other leader. It takes a work of the Lord to reveal these deficiencies. Another technique would be to truly ask and submit to another brother or sister in Christ. This is why accountability with our fellow Christians is so important.

Rick Warren says “The Foundation of Leadership Is Character, Not Charisma” This points directly to the willingness of each of us to examine who we are. The bottom line is we never see our blind spots but everyone else around us does. Are we really ready to accept criticism?

I see the value in each of us selecting a mentor at the beginning of this process. My mentor is someone I can trust to tell me what the Lord needs me to hear, to be effective for the mission God has given me. I pray I always remain moldable by our Lord.

Refiner’s Fire

My assignment: Robert Clinton concluded his paper “Paul-Deep Processing” by repeating the saying “All great leaders walk with a limp.” Have I observed this to be true, either in my own life or in the life of a leader whom I have observed up close?

I have seen Christians viscously attack a Pastor for ridiculous reasons. Maybe they didn’t get exactly what they wanted in a new ministry endeavor, or some decision from the leadership emerged they didn’t agree with. The most disturbing part of this is; most of the time I have seen this happen, the attacker did it in the name of ministry while blatantly wrapped up in getting their way and had lost sight of the goal. I find it common for church “middle management” to resist leadership at times.

Clearly, God is orderly and requires some sense of hierarchy in church leaders. The higher the calling in leadership, the bigger the target for the enemy. Some of us have been shaped through rough circumstances to expect criticism and to remain steadfast in our directions from God. These leaders, with a limp, have been through the refiners fire, but they have persevered and serve as an example of true commitment to Christ.

Just Do It

My assignment: Discuss my view of the implications of Ephesians 4 on the idea of ministry calling.

It is no secret Ephesians 4 exhorts unity and love before moving to our gifts and holy living. Paul makes hard hitting points about speaking the truth in love while each part of the body of Christ “…does it’s share…” (v.16 NKJV).

The typical explanation of the body of Christ shares the obvious call to diversity, the explanation of why we are all different, and how we are all needed for the body to function properly. When I am asked about God’s call to service, and I read Ephesians 4, I can hear another way we might look at it. Each of us, as a part body of Christ have a purpose. This means there is work to be done, and tasks to be completed, that only that particular body part can fulfill. Most often one reflects on what part they are, and not on what work they should be doing.

When meeting a friend for a devotional, or even with a church staff meeting, I always push the conclusion to: “What is our next action.” What are we going to do about what we just heard or decided. Do ministry!

Israel Shrugs It’s Shoulders

My assignment: In my reading this week, Reggie McNeal uses Moses and David as examples of how God shapes spiritual leaders for spiritual purpose. Which leader connects most with my spiritual journey and shaping? How specifically?

It is a little easier for me to relate to Moses than David. I tend to observe what is happening around me and start to focus on everything that is wrong or being overlooked. I notice laziness and lack of effort instantly. This annoys me to no end. Moses had to be deeply frustrated at the Israelites and maybe even disillusioned at God a bit after some of the treatment he received for his efforts trying to bring them out of Egypt. I have experienced this many times in ministry. One gives a radical amount of effort to assist or organize an event or particular ministry, to be met with a mediocre shrugging of the shoulders and a less than desirable effort from all involved.

After the Israelites shrugged their shoulders at Moses, grumbled in the wilderness, and even blamed him for hunger, he continued to lead. Listen to Moses’ frustration as he talks to God:

“Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me? Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which You swore to their fathers’? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat that we may eat!’ I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.” (Numbers 11:11-15 NAS).

I am striving to have the devotion, the commitment, and the concern for God that Moses had, And I have something Moses never had, Jesus Christ.

Square #1

My assignment: How do I hope this course will help me develop for my ministry journey ahead?

As I arrived at a decision to enter school at 44 years old, friends and family asked me all of the time, why Seminary? What do you hope to gain?

It is pretty simple for me. I want to bolster the “Fundamentals”. I have no formal training or credentials to reinforce the various ministries I am involved with. I have an opportunity to go back to square one and learn from the ground up. This appeals to me as I know I have a lot to learn and can benefit from teachers and schooling greatly. I have always been the type to fast track most things in life. This time, I am hopping to slow down just a bit and really dig in a little deeper.

One other benefit I am looking forward to is “Articulation”. I hope to be able gain more insight, more knowledge, more experience, and more ability to put it all together as I have opportunities to share with a large group or the entire congregation at times. Being able to deliver a well reasoned and inspired message is a goal of mine. My nature is quick and to the point so this will be one of my greatest challenges.

This is truly a new beginning for me.

Introduction

My assignment: To introduce myself to fellow students and help them get to know me.

Good afternoon everyone. Glad to be here and glad to get this party started!

Age: 44
Birthplace: Hollywood, CA
Current Location: Menifee, CA
Married: Yes
Children: 2 boys

I currently serve as an Elder at Calvary Hills Church in Menifee CA. Our community sits between San Diego and Los Angeles but further east. I serve in mostly an administrative role but also serve as a musician as I have played guitar since I was 13.

I have been involved in ministry for quite a long time with no formal training. Rockbridge (Seminary) is something I thought I would never do. Me, right here, right now, is evidence that miracles do happen. My former schooling includes a PHD in the School of Hard Knocks. I am blessed beyond belief to be here.

My day job is as a Draftsman. I do residential and commercial swimming pool design which includes masonry and concrete work. I started behind a shovel years ago and now I point and say “This is where the hole goes”.

My wife says I have too many hobbies and she is right. I love bbq, hot rods, guitars, sports, gaming, technology and most importantly, my family.

Recruit a Mentor

My assignment: To recruit a mentor to support me through out my seminary studies.

jeff_jJeff is currently Senior Pastor at Calvary Hills Church in Menifee, CA. He founded CHC in 1993 and the church has grown to 2 services and thriving ministry. His experience also includes several years as the Youth Pastor and Missions Pastor at Calvary Chapel Menifee AKA Revival Fellowship. I believe Jeff has been called by God without question.

Jeff and I have a unique relationship. I serve as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for CHC. I am convinced God placed us together because honestly; we challenge each other in our respective areas that need improvement or attention the most.

Jeff lives less than 5 miles from me which makes meeting for ministry purposes convenient and frequent.

Jeff studied and completed his studies at Calvary Chapel Bible College in Murrieta, Ca. His knowledge of the Bible and the ability to deliver God’s Word are obvious.