The subtitle of this post is: Heath is more than a city in Ohio.
So, I’m not going to lie, it is rare a pastor doesn’t enjoy speaking. It’s part of the calling. I have had the joy of speaking at a short term missions experience built for teenagers called World Changers several times On these trips students pay a lot of money to sleep on school floors and repair homes for the less fortunate. See James 1:27.
The blessing to speak at one of these week long events it is to connect with students as much as possible at the event. You have this immediate flock you are attending to as much as time allows. It is a daunting task and an awesome privilege.
Last year as I was contemplating my exit from Jersey I knew I could not commit to speaking without knowing what my future entailed. As fate would have it I did not get asked, nor did I volunteer to speak in Neptune. Now, World Changers does a fine job of picking speakers. But, the control freak in me likes to know what our students are going to get from the pulpit. When you are that guy, you know. When you are not, you don’t.
When you lead such a big group to a WC you tend to be in the office quite a bit. As a result you get to know leadership and the speaker pretty fast. This year that guy’s name was Heath. Probably, in all my contempt, I was trying to figure out how effective he would be. I know, so shallow. But, my ego forgets God has all of this figured out. So, I wondered would this guy be effective? Would he challenge? Would he bore us? And then Sunday night he spoke.
When you are the worship speaker at World Changers you are given a template to follow as you speak throughout the week. This way all the devotional materials align with the messages each day. I saw Heath’s approach resembled mine right away. Sometimes, you can’t stay on script. Sometimes, it is more important not stay on script. Sometimes, the Holy Spirit is more important to follow than what is written in a curriculum. And from the first night, there was no doubt, Heath was listening to the Holy Spirit. It was incredible. I was blessed. Our students were blessed. The six hundred attendees were blessed.
Somehow, I knew Heath and I were going to be friends. Good friends. You just know when someone is on the same page as you in life. Heath pastors a church in Illinois. We don’t really have the opportunity to spend any time together. And yet, from a distance I feel like he’s ministering to me. Here’s why. Walking this journey these last nine months has been challenging in every way. There were times I needed to vent to someone who wasn’t caught up with I was doing locally. Heath listened.
There came a time I no longer knew what to specifically pray for and how to ask people to financially support The Roosevelt. Somewhere during this time Heath sent me a book about the prayer life of George Muller. You’ll just have to Google him and see the fruits of his faithful and confident prayers. As I read that book I counted on God in ways I had not done before. This led to revisiting patience in the Lord. Something, that I struggle with when I lose sight of His clear direction.
Then, fast-forward to the spring when Heath approaches us about helping The Roosevelt with this idea called Five Bucks Once. Again, to be clear, he doesn’t live near me and doesn’t have any attachments to The Roosevelt beyond the friendship we began last summer. And yet he decides to feature us in this simple program called Five Bucks Once. The idea is to support a ministry by giving as little as five bucks once. Or, five bucks once a month. That’s it. We are hoping that this really reignites people’s desire to give, to understand, and to partner with what we are doing. And we hope people realize there is never too small of an amount to give. See Mark 12:41-44.
So part of this post is to let you know about Five Bucks Once. But, the reality is; this post is about faithful friends. And Heath is just one of many. Those who have stood with us have come in many forms so far, by praying, by financially giving, by showing up at our house on Saturday morning for some free coffee, for volunteering their time at events, by doing everything they can in the social media world to advocate for what we are doing. Even by people connecting us to opportunities to be featured in local news rags.
I can tell you this, when you get a crazy vision that you know can impact the world your character is built by those who say you can’t. Your faith during times like this is built by people who say you can. I listen to the naysayers. I process their naysaying. But to survive, I can’t camp on those who say I can’t. I camp on the promises of those who say I can. These are the faithful. These are the ones who give when you think the well has dried up. These are the ones who text and say they are praying for you. These are the ones who like every status you post because of their love and support for you. These are the ones who are all in.
So, I camp on the faithfulness of those who say I can. I camp on the promise of God; who said that as long as I remain faithful in prayer and desire for His glory to be known, that he would show up.
Daniel 10:12 Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.
He has come. God has shown up and God is not done showing up in all of this. It’s just going to continue to happen.
If you are reading this then you have some part in what we are doing. Thank you. And if you just discovered what we are doing in this post; thank you.
Join us. We don’t want you to miss a thing.
If you want to pray for us specifically; email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put ‘How Can I Pray’ in the subject line.