Quick Thanks to my Readers
Since my "Facebook prison sentence" I have noticed a decline in article views. However, without advertising or pushing my blog (other than subscriber emails), I am averaging nearly 25 views. So to those of you that are reading - Thank You! As always, I appreciate you and am grateful for your time. God has convinced me to do this, even if there are 0. But many of you have chosen to partner with me in the "Rambling Preacher" ministry and I am grateful for you all.
2021: Stepping in as Pastor
When life takes you through changes, you have two choices: rely on God or rely on yourself. As most all of you would know, my life is currently in transition. For a long time I have dreamed of one day being a Pastor. Don’t ask me, I’m not too sure why any kid would aspire to grow up and be a Pastor. But here we are, the closer I got to this – the less I wanted it. The reality with the less I wanted to be a Pastor was the slow realization that God had called me and it was time – no matter how I felt about it.
Some readers may not be up to speed – but recently, my church announced to be taking on a new vision with a new Pastor, and that would be: me. It has been in the works for awhile now, but I truly thought I would just “one day, far off” start a new church, build it from the ground up with a young generation. However, through prayer and petition with the Lord, I recognized I was greatly blessed with an established church instead. Effective January 2021, I will be the Pastor of a local church (Living Faith) here in Ogden, Utah.
Testimonies are tricky. Everyone could probably write a 5,000-page book on their life. I am no exception, I definitely enjoy writing and could write something in-depth about my life to this point – obviously, on a blog, I will spare you. I just want to cover the most important events in my life that led me to where I am now.
I guess perhaps one thing that is important to emphasize is that I came from nothing. My mother and father definitely had no money. We were living on a Native American Reservation in Pablo, Montana. I still can remember the trailer we lived in, with the blue and white exterior. Other than a few faint memories, I don’t recall much. The therapists I saw as a child said it were due to the trauma I faced. I was abused (physically, emotionally) as a child between 0-4. My mother told me it was most often when my father was drunk or if I had had an ‘accident.’ This led to many issues growing up.
Thankfully, my mind has kept me from those memories. Or perhaps, (more likely) God has kept me from those memories. My mother and father divorced, but I was a boy. I could not help but want the approval and love from my dad. Even with a rock-solid mother, who loved me and my brother more than life: I still wanted my dad in my life. A boy who wanted the approval and love from a father - common story sadly, isn't it? My dad came back into my life a few years later, and I unfortunately sought his approval a little too much. With no avail, I eventually came to a place where I felt rejected.
I had accidents way beyond the normal age and I had pent-up anger. I would scream into pillows (who doesn’t, right?). When angry, I would hit my face repeatedly. I would punch hard objects to hurt my hand. As you can probably imagine (with a good mother watching out), I eventually found myself in anger management. Honestly, to this day I am not even sure what to attribute my internal anger to – perhaps my dad, but I’m not even sure if it is that either. Probably is rooted in my sense of rejection, but I'm still working through it. And I'm not above transparency, I still struggle with anger (at times) to this day.
Now that I am older, I’m not sure how my mother managed to survive while we lived in Idaho. I recently found out that she only made $12,000/year during that time. As an adult, I’m not even sure how that is possible. Yet, I don’t remember ever going without. God truly provided in every way. Those years were actually pretty good. I was young, ignorant and happy to be alive with my mom and brother.
Through all of this, my mother eventually remarried a man named Mark. I did not like him when they first got married. I hardly knew him, had no relationship with him and yet he barked orders like a Drill Sargent (that is what he was when they got married). It took many, many moons to appreciate Mark for who he is and what he represents. But I did not appreciate that man until much later on in my life. Through my childhood I felt fatherless and had a strong burden to receive affirmation from those around me. I remember one time slipping and calling Mark my "Dad" in front of my real dad, to which his harsh words and angry rebuke struck fear in my young heart. One of my biggest regrets was not throwing this irrational fear out the window and committing to call Mark my dad (after all, I can have two if I want to have two). This all obviously led to some character flaws, to say the least.
Growing up from there was (relatively) easy. I went to school, did alright, made friends, played sports and got into video games. Pretty typical kid if you ask me. Church was where the goodness of God kept me from falling apart (that, and once again, a good mother). Growing up in a charismatic church had its highs and lows, lived much of my young life feeling like a less-than Christian because I didn’t speak in tongues. Or a less-than Christian because I never really received visions or dreams. Constant feeling of pressure to be joyful, excited in worship: dancing and charismatic. But I loved the engaged worship, the powerful atmosphere and the love that was shown by God. My roots are to give everything I have in worship to the King - no matter how silly I seem to my peers. To which, I cannot apologize for - sorry to my reformers.
Every time we had a guest speaker (so it seemed), I would receive a prophetic word about my calling. Every single person said the same thing, I was called to be a Pastor. Not by one, or two, or three people but by at least five or six guest speakers. They didn’t see me throughout my week, they didn’t see my life, they didn’t even know if I was a regular attender (guest speakers bring in a lot of guest visitors). But they all echoed the same call. Well, as you can imagine: it stuck. I convinced myself that it wasn't only my call, but what I wanted! Oh how foolish, go back and desire to serve in another way. God's call is irrevocable, and I tease when I say to "go back." I've arrived (not mentally, spiritually or emotionally in my own estimate) in God's timing and I am excited to be here.
The desire to be a Pastor led me to praying, reading my Bible and pushing myself to go above and beyond my peers. Not in a competitive way (as is my nature) but in a way to push myself closer to my calling. I fell short constantly, anyone who knew me in that time of my life knew I was far from perfect. My only saving grace was that God protected me from sins that would cost me my future. I never partied, or drank, or touched drugs. In fact, I made it through high school without one invite to a party or 'take a hit' - my reputation preceded me (most thought I would nark). Perhaps my greatest accomplishment of all though? My wife and I saving ourselves for marriage. Now that I am older, I find it hard to believe two teens could date for (nearly) three years without compromising. We desired God's blessing in our marriage so greatly, it carried us.
I would like to say I lived a life without fault, but that simply is not true. I find myself in awe of God’s grace and infinite mercy. His love is new for me each morning, to which I truly do not deserve. His steadfast love leads me to repentance. My desire to accomplish His will for my life has been the driving factor in most decisions I make- though I continually fall short. God, why oh why am I so abundantly blessed with a life I do not deserve? A wife that is so out of my league in every way - and now, a church that is mature and willing to support me. God is too good to me, and I still am burdened with confusion over His purpose in me.
It is finally time to take what God has taught me throughout my life and apply it to the local church. As a Pastor, the first thing I wanted to do was instill what I believe to be the “better way” of church government. I find this most scriptural, while not opposed to other forms of church government. But I have already asked our former Pastor and another man in the church to help me by becoming elders. If you have read my blog “Elders and Deacons” you would know where I stand on this particular matter. I do believe that churches should not be ran by one man (or woman), rather by an elder board/team where you have multiple trusted people who are qualified by scripture.
Praise be to God that they both are a part of the team now and I am not alone. The last thing on earth that I wanted was to come in as the Pastor and lose congregants because they did not appreciate the changes I will bring. Obviously, a new Pastor will bring a new vision and a new way of doing things. Now, I don’t get to just make changes because I want to – rather, our former Pastor and another trusted elder in the church must agree with my opinion and support it. If they don’t agree, then the change would not happen. This is also a good time for these two to also voice their opinions on change within our church and see to those items as well.
If you are hoping this blog will reveal secrets about the upcoming changes, I am sorry. It will not. Many things are still in the prayer and collaboration phase, but I will say this: changes are definitely going to come. I do believe in the end, it will all be for the best and according to God's plan and purpose.
Many of my readers attend Living Faith. I know this is a bittersweet time for each of us. It is bitter because we love our former Pastor – the good news is she is sticking around and will still be a vital part of this ministry. The sweet part being the amazing support of those who believe in my call and purpose within the local church. Or perhaps, you are simply bitter about the change – in which, I am sorry – but this train is now boarding, I hope you jump in.
I’ll be honest with anyone willing to read this: I don’t feel ready. For a long time I have argued that anointing is not based on spirituality but on consecration. People assume someone is anointed because they are loud or shout. Truly it is based on the depth of your character and depth of relationship with God. I also know that you cannot be anointed without first being appointed. If God did not put you in a position (for His glory) that you will surely never find yourself with a heavy anointing. God anoints those He appoints- I don’t feel anointed (per se) but I do know that God has appointed me, to which I pray His plan and glory are made manifest in my measly life. May His grace always carry me, for I alone am nothing more than a vessel.
Sometimes I hate my brain. I am so ADD that my thoughts can wander far and wide. It is a gift from God that I have yet to master. I’ve become better, I am more organized and scheduled than I have ever been in my life – yet, I still feel as though I constantly fall short. So many aspirations, so many visions, so many hopes and dreams, yet accomplishments and finish lines are still ever so elusive.
As someone with ADD (to which I believe is a gift from God, not a curse), I genuinely believe God uses my mind to establish His vision. I do believe God shows me things or operates in my mind things that are not as common to others. Please understand, I do not believe I am any greater at this than others out there – some people are much better visionaries than myself. But, I do believe God has put me with a people, a local assembly, to be the visionary for this group. So my hopes and dreams require organization and practicality. People who can help me step-by-step accomplish that which I am burdened to run toward. Praise God again for a church that is already established full of good, God-loving people.
There is too much to write for my vision for the church. But what I will say is God has placed three incredibly heavy burdens upon my heart. Firstly, to study the Word in a deeper way: coupling the Word with doctrine, theology and church history. This pairs with a desire to keep intact the charismatic upbringing I have - a church in love with the Word as much as it is in love with God's current wonder. I had previously always avoided doctrines and theology for fear of arrogance. For many are "puffed-up" in that particular arena. Admittedly, it is hard - when you are so convinced of a truth that no one else seems to believe - I'm sure that is not an easy time to practice humility in love. Secondly, I am deeply distressed at the lack of Gospel-centered preachers today. God wants me to always involve His truth in His gospel as a minister. We all are sinners in need of grace. Thank the Lord for His grace and desire to draw us upon Himself - it makes witness so much easier knowing God has already accomplished His will. And lastly, I have a burden to witness through technology. Whether that be through this blog, a church blog, a RP podcast or a church podcast. I am asking certain individuals to be ready to write for the church. I am asking other individuals to research ways to help our church become more modern and more prepared to evangelize and proclaim the Gospel through the internet.
About my heart
My heart has always been for God and for His people. Yet, I probably admire David less than Jonathan because I find myself as I find David, a constant failure. Someone who really has no reason to be called or appointed to his position, yet is, because of God’s sovereign will. I admire, ever so much, Jonathan, a man loyal to God’s plan even if it costs his own life. A man who says, “Let us go up and see if God will do a work for us. If this fails, we shall surely die.” [1 Samuel 14] Jonathan should have been the next king of Israel by my standard. He was a good man who trusted in God. He was willing to forfeit his spot on the throne because he recognized God's plan: David. How many of us could sit back and say, I will fully support his man who is going to take everything that I thought was mine - because God wants him to have it and not me? - can you admire him the way I do? He was a strong man who was raised to be a king. I often view my brother as Jonathan: wise, strong, supportive, patient, kind, steadfast, and faithful to the end. And I’m David: impatient, foolish, angry and full of error. Yet, somehow and in someway – God chose me. I am grateful but also confused. I may have been "preparing" for this my whole life, but I still cannot get 1 Corinthians out of my head. I truly, on such a deep level relate to this passage:
"For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him[e] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 [ESV]
Public Address and Thank you
If you have read this, I know your heart is with me. I thank God for you, because I often wonder to myself if I could continue on without the support of people like you. I don’t believe in myself often, only as to the capacity that I believe God is willing to use me (which I often question deeply). I am both grateful and excited for the future that is ahead – debating whether or not to allow fear in to my heart (part of me thinks fear would keep me ‘in check’). Whether you attend Living Faith, or you are simply a reader – you have allowed me to speak directly to you, thank you. My wife, my love and my constant support: without you, your love, your support, your wisdom and patience, I would be undone. My son, unknowingly you have taught me more about the love of the Father than I even knew I could know. My mother, who has always believed in me, rooted for me and cheered me on – I still only aspire to be as you are. My brother, you do so much more for me than you even know – you are my longest life-long friend and I love you dearly. My sister, your zeal for God excites me and reminds me that the Kingdom can come in waves – the wave you and your peers is bringing into the Kingdom has me excited for the generations to come and reminds me why God’s true church knows no bounds. And to the countless number of you that feel the same, thank you for rooting for me – thank you for believing in me. Even now, when I struggle to understand why God wants anything to do with me – you all remind me of my purpose in Christ.
I have a lot more growing, maturing and studying to do. This is only the beginning of what God is doing in my life. I look forward to growing alongside many of you and learning from each other. May God grant us continued relationship and partnership in ministering God’s message to the world.
Support and Partnership
Right now I am looking for ministry partners. Individuals who believe in me and my call - but more importantly, the work of this blog: The Rambling Preacher. I have aspirations to get this content on to YouTube and/or Podcasts. Also consider, this website alone is not free. I pay more monthly for this website than Hulu, Netflix, Disney+ would charge me combined. If you would like to partner with me (think K-Love), please consider following the link below and becoming a monthly donor/supporter. Soon, I will be releasing content for specific patrons who support the blog financially and create content for their help. There is absolutely no pressure to give, I thank anyone who only reads - but if God pulls on your heart to give monthly, I pray you do - and may God bless you seven-fold for your partnership in this ministry.