As Kellie and I are just starting off in our journey to plant a church I felt compelled to write out the key steps over the past decade that led us to this decision. This is Part 4 . . . and I title this segment “Waking Up.” I’ll be writing the other parts over the upcoming weeks.
Kellie has it easy when it comes to Christmas shopping for me. I love to read. I always have. So each December when Kellie asks me what I want for Christmas I give her my “wish list” of books. So she goes on Amazon.com, picks a few from the list, and her Christmas shopping is done in five minutes flat.
One of the books I got for Christmas in 2008 was Wide Awake by Erwin McManus. God used that book in huge ways in my life. It was one of the most impactful books I had read in a long time. Here are a few quotes that hit me as I read:
“You know that little bit of sadness that greets you in the morning? Maybe it’s there because you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing. You’re not living the life you’re supposed to be living. You’re not dreaming wide awake.”
“The real battle is not between good and evil but between less and more. Most of us don’t choose the worst life; we just don’t choose the best. We can’t afford for you to sleep through your dreams.”
“Sometimes we think that if we leave everything we know, it’s going to get worse from there. But it is possible you’ll never find greater contentment or joy or exhilaration until you’re willing to give up what you know and what you have for what awaits and exists in the unknown.”
As I read those quotes, it was as if Erwin had written them for me. I had a little bit of sadness that greeted me each morning. I realized it was there because I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing; I wasn’t living the life I was supposed to be living. I was not living the worst life; I was just not living the best life. Let me explain.
When I got hired at Kensington back in 2002 I knew without a shadow of a doubt that it was God’s best for me. God moved mountains to get me hired there, prompting the Management Team to hire me during a time when there was a hiring freeze. I was blessed beyond words to have Craig Mayes as my supervisor. Craig is one of the most godly men I know and he mentored me much like Paul mentored Timothy. I coveted the time we spent together just hanging out in his office. Plus, I was doing what I loved doing – spiritual formation. I wanted people to become more and more like Jesus in their thoughts, words, and actions and had the opportunity to do that at Kensington. Finally, I had the opportunity to use my spiritual gift of teaching to impact thousands of lives through teaching at weekend services, New Community, and spiritual growth workshops.
Yet, just because Kensington was God’s best for me back in 2002, I could not assume that my role at Kensington would be God’s best for me in 2008 or 2028. Back in seminary I had dreams of planting a church and always hoped/thought I would at some point. For the past six years I had been working at Kensington and got priceless experience . . . but I got comfortable in the process – with a steady paycheck, good health insurance, and an office. Yet, Jesus does not call us to be comfortable. He calls us to follow him. As I read each page of Wide Awake I knew God was waking me up to my dreams.
That’s the end of Part 4 of our journey. Stay tuned for Part 5.