It’s Whatever, Man

December 31, 2015.  The years just move along a little faster with each passing one. Gracious!  It’s always a day of at least some reflection.

I never declared “One Word” for 2015.  In fact, if I would have it probably would’ve been “It’s Whatever Man”.  Ok – that’s not a word, it’s a phrase so it wouldn’t even be a “One Word”, it would be a “One Phrase” (because just “Whatever” doesn’t quite encompass it all). Ha!

I mean – look at this blog.  This is only the 4th post in 2015!  It’s whatever, man.

At the end of 2014 we made a difficult decision to stay in the States as God began to show us it wasn’t His timing for another overseas ministry appointment. It’s whatever, man.

We began 2015 still picking up the financial pieces of the previous years where Kevin and I took turns being unemployed or going without a paycheck.  Starting over in your early 40s is not exactly delightful and we’re not where we want to be… but it’s whatever, man. 

On one hand it’s whatever, man, can be a cynical place, a white flag or a time to just go through the motions.  And there has definitely been some of that in 2015.  But it can also be a quiet surrender; trusting a Sovereign God in His timing, in doors that He opens and shuts and a season of patience and waiting and healing and refueling.

As I glance back over 2015 with some of the hindsight the Lord gives us, I can see some of the whatevers as blessings.  I only wrote three other blogs posts because I was so busy GOING BACK TO SCHOOL to renew my license for my NEW TEACHING JOB!  God has opened doors for each of us Grubbies for new opportunities and different communities to be a part of – strategic placements for His glory, we pray.  We still have a long way to go but Kevin and I are both EMPLOYED, have steady incomes and are on a financial plan.

In Job 2:10, Job asks, “Should we only accept good from God and not adversity?”  Great question. Sometimes the challenges that come along life’s path are just whatever to us, but maybe, just maybe, they are a part of His greater plan, a part of His refining work IN us and stuff He will use for His glory.

It’s all about PERSPECTIVE.

Perspective can mean the difference in wallowing in self-pity and trusting in a Sovereign God.  Perspective can mean the difference in fear (of the future, of the unknown, of failure, of lack, of __________) and walking by faith.  Perspective can mean the difference in despair and hope.

With 2016 just hours away, that’s my word for this year:

PERSPECTIVE

Will I fix my eyes on my circumstances or will I keep my “eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our (my) faith?” Heb. 12:2

Will I freak out at the not so wonderful things that will happen this year or will I “hold on to the confession of our (my) hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”  Heb. 10:23

Will my life answer the question that the enemy posed to God regarding Job (Job 1:9) – “Does Kendra fear God for nothing?”  Which is basically asking will Kendra be devoted to God only throughout good things in life? Or will she, will I, be devoted and bless God through EVERYTHING that comes across my path in 2016?

It’s all about perspective.

Defining Moments Part II

How do you respond when you’re going through a difficult situation? Do you see it as a “Defining Moment”? Do you see it as God working, someway, in your life? Or do you respond with anger or maybe blame? I know I have reacted in both ways at times. Instead of the initial thought being, “What is God doing?” I either get angry or I pick out who or what I can blame. As I was reading through 1 Samuel I came across this example from David’s life.

David and six hundred of his men were away preparing for battle with the Philistines against the Israelites. At the last minute the Philistine commanders went to King Achish with concerns about if they could really trust David and his army when they went into battle against the Israelites. After much thought, King Achish decided to send David and his army back home to Ziklag. Upon returning home, David and his men saw that Ziklag had been raided, burned down, and their women and everyone from youngest to oldest had been kidnapped! David and his men were devastated, and so they wept until they could not weep any more.

When David and his men found the ruins of Ziklag, they wept. They were hurt, confused, angry, and felt helpless. So they did what most do in times of tragedy, they wept! David and the troops with him wept loudly until they had no strength left to weep. I Sam 30:4

After giving it all they had to weeping, the only thing they knew to do next was to blame someone for allowing this to happen. Unfortunately for David he was caught in the crosshairs. Even though David was in the same boat having lost his wives too, the troops talked about stoning him for what had happen. They were playing the blame game. David was in a difficult position because the troops talked about stoning him, for they were all very bitter over the loss of their sons and daughters. 1 Sam 30:6. 

fault

As we continue to read we see that David didn’t respond by playing the blame game back. Instead, David strengthened himself in the Lord! He took a deep breath, and sought the face of God for comfort and answers. But David found strength in the Lord his God. 1 Sam. 30:6b. 

The bottom line is that we will all go through heartbreak, disappointment and defeat in life. Not that we ask for it or want it, but it happens. So when that time comes the question will be, “How will you respond?”  Will you respond by getting angry, playing the blame game, or strengthening yourself in the Lord?

I know at times it’s not easy, but I hope you will take David’s example and strengthen yourself in the Lord. I truly believe that God is faithful, gracious, and doesn’t make mistakes. And, if you seek His face, He will comfort you and strengthen you.

God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1 

Indeed, God is my salvation; I will trust Him and not be afraid, for Yah, the Lord, is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2

WE ARE – MARSHALL – A Defining Moment

Defining Moments – we all have had them. Some we don’t remember, some we like to forget, and some are much needed.  In these moments there will be times when things just don’t make sense to us; heartbreak, discouragement, or defeat.  Deep down we know that God has a reason for why He allows things to happen, but near the surface we just don’t understand. In the last four months I have had not one but two defining moments. One that knocked the wind out of me and the other that gave me breath and life again.

The first defining moment was the day we closed our church plant (LifePoint) of about five years. I didn’t understand why God would allow that to happen. Why would God call us to plant a church then take it away?  Why would God have me (and my family) give everything we had physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually to something that He was going to take away? I felt like someone punched me right in the gut! I felt the wind leave and I was left gasping for air.  For a while all I could do was continue to beat myself up, ask questions like, why? What didn’t we do right? Did I not listen to God’s voice? Did I try and do it on my own? Or I would think, “Kevin, you failed!”  “Kevin, people don’t like you!”  “Kevin, you’re a loser!”  All throughout this time I was gasping for air, begging God to heal me and my wounds.  One thing I never did throughout this time, by the GRACE of God, was lose heart.  Not that it was the first thing that was on my mind, but like I said down deep I knew God was and IS faithful and would restore my breath.  Here are a few verses that God gave me during this time.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Over the next few months I stumbled through the scriptures, allowing God’s infallible Word to speak to me and heal me from the inside out. I was reading but just not totally believing. I went about life, because it  does in fact go on, but actually was in mourning on the inside. It just felt like a part of me had died, and it had.

Then came the second defining moment where God restored my breath and gave me life once again. It was one of those moments that you aren’t expecting. It wasn’t the right timing. I wasn’t in a solitude place where it was just God, me and my Bible – but to God it was the perfect time.  I had been cleaning up around house, when I noticed it was lunchtime.  I made some lunch and sat down in front of the T.V.  Being honest, I never eat in front of the T.V., but this day I did.  As I was flipping through the channels, I came across the movie “We Are Marshall”.  It was about half over, so I decided to finish it while I ate my lunch.

“We Are Marshall” is based on a true story (I recommend you watch it) about a plane crash involving the University of Marshall’s football team and the heartbreak the whole town was going through.  Basically, the movie shows how the town was in mourning.  They brought a new football coach in to try and get them back on their feet.  For the coach it was an uphill battle.  It didn’t matter what he did, he kept running into this wall of heartbreak and mourning.  That is kind of how I felt, heartbreak and mourning. In a lot of ways, I felt unable to move forward, paralyzed and insignificant.  ~ Back to the movie… The morning before the first home game, the coach took the team on a field trip to the cemetery.  He had the players gather around a memorial that was set up for six of the players that were buried together because their bodies could  not be identified.  That is where he gave them a pregame speech and it was during this speech that I had a defining moment, all because of one line! Now, the crazy thing is, I have watched this movie many times and for the life of me cannot remember ever hearing this line before.  If you don’t really listen for it, it is easy to miss. Near the end of coach’s speech, he looks at the team and says, “The funerals end today!!” That is when air came back into my lungs.  I sat there, stunned and in tears. Hearing God’s voice saying to me, “Kevin, the funeral ends today! Stop mourning, and start breathing! I have told you I will never leave you nor forsake you. I am not done with you yet.  I am going to continue to use you for My glory, so stop mourning and breath in the Breath of Life.”

I still don’t have all the answers.  Maybe someday I will, maybe I won’t.  But what I do know is the funeral is over and God is in control!

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I’ll close with a clip of the movie, “We Are Marshall”.  Check it out!

-Kevin