Take the first step
Proverbs 1:7 – Start with God – the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.
I’ve been silent for a very long time on here. I lost a lot of followers because of it. But it hasn’t been without reason or without merit.
I sometimes have a tendency of speaking first and using wisdom later. That isn’t always the best choice, especially for a ministry professional.
I’ve spent the past few months simply seeking God where He has me and not trying to place God in my own purposes.
Today, though, it was like God was telling me to write and giving me very clear word pictures in my dreams and mind.
Let me back up a little.
Since you last heard from me, a lot has continued to happen. My dad moved down to Maryland to be closer to us. My wife lost her job and has been searching for a new one. My ministries have been ebbing and flowing as ministry usually does. Our kids are growing up even quicker now than they were before (that is the byproduct of pushing 50).
Meanwhile, I had hoped to be David Platt’s “mini me” by now. I had hoped to have all these churches asking me to come and preach on Sunday. I had hoped to have the likes of Ed Stetzer, Louie Giglio, and others asking me to write the forward for their books.
Man, I was looking at the top of the staircase!
But last night I was asleep. I was actually awakened this morning by my dream.
By the way, God, when you go to wake someone up from their dreams, next time can you make it on a day that I have to be up early? Not a day that I am able to sleep in? Thanks.
My dream started with me standing in from of this large staircase.
Psalm 37:23 – The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way;
When you go into a building and see an impressive staircase, do you immediately look at the first step? No, you look to see where the steps lead and you focus on the top of the steps.
That’s what I was doing.
This staircase was ornate. It was gorgeous! But it was also weathered and aged. It was like I went into a preserved mansion from the 1800s or something.
When I saw the staircase in front of me, I took in the panoramic view, but my eyes fixated on trying to see the top.
But what I realized is that the last step never came into focus. I couldn’t see the final step that would get me to the top of the staircase. All I could see are the steps leading up to it and I wanted to fix my gaze as high up that staircase as I could.
But then the steps started to disappear. From the upper parts of the staircase down, the steps slows disappeared. It was like watching the Avengers movie after Thanos did his snap. The steps just faded away into dust and blew away.
I felt my anxiety rise as I watched all these beautiful steps disappear!
By the time all the dust had blown away, I was left with one lone step in front of me.
The first step.
God was removing the distraction of all the other steps to show me that the first step is the one that matters.
The beauty of ministry (or the job search for my wife, or the struggles that anyone is going through with marriages, drugs, alcohol, or anything) is not in walking across that final step.
The beauty of ministry et al comes in taking the first step and learning all you can while standing on it.
When I stepped onto the fist step in my dream, the walls around me came alive!
There were portraits on the walls. They were kind of like in Harry Potter when the portraits moved and they are vivid scenes. Mine were from both ministry and family life. While they showed me the bumps in the road, they were exceedingly beautiful!
Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
The first step isn’t writing a forward to David Platt’s next book.
The first step involves the printers in children’s ministry breaking down because of the new WiFi system and having several new teachers and some of the veteran teachers calling out. The first step involves I Sunday service with a lot of moving pieces that had several technical glitches along the way. The first step is not seeing people in the service who normally attend because they don’t like the topic that was discussed on that Sunday. The first step involves seeing someone you, and others, have been working with intently making the decision to get baptized and having the baptismal set up because your senior pastor felt God was telling him to do it.
The first step is the minutia.
The first step is the stuff that ministry is really made of.
Mark 5:2 – And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.
When Jesus went to go and seek the lost, the first step involved Him taking several steps to get to them. But for the person on the other end of the conversation, the first step was simply accepting Christ.
I realize that the Bible says we need to have a vision because if we don’t then the people will perish.
I still have a dream of one day writing the forward for one of my favorite author’s books. I still have a dream of getting the call from Moody Bible Church, Saddleback, Camino de Vida or many others and having them ask me to come preach one Sunday morning.
I still dream.
But the dream is becoming more well-rounded now that the focus is off the dream and is on the people who are walking with, beside, and around me at this time.
The first step is seeing people take the first step of their own.
The first step is resting in that place that God has you.
The first step is contentment with what you have and who you are, knowing that being content is truly the dream come true.
1 Corinthians 14:40 – But all things should be done decently and in order.