Friday, June 10, 2005

How God Changes People...

I received a very challenging and thought provoking email from one of my best friends from High School and College in the States. He and I spent countless hours together in the dorms, at big camp, driving and even singing duets together to entertain a caravan full of family members!

As I have been here in Australia ever since going into ministry he was quite surprised when he discovered that I am a pastor. And rightly so...

Here's his email...

  • I have a question for you? One that had been bothering me for a long time.How did you become a pastor? when I saw you name in the ministry magizine I was floored. YOU a pastor. it just did not seem to fit the person I remember? could you explain that.

That really got me thinking! I reflected on my life and realised that he had an excellent question! Here is my response...

  • That is a very good question!
    I took a volunteer position to Lilydale Academy in Melbourne, Australia in 1994 working as an assistant dean in the boys dorm during the evenings and mornings and as a campus ministries director during the day. I was working with a girl named Toby Norris who was doing the same thing. Together we really enjoyed the campus ministries role. After that year I decided that I really wanted to be a high school chaplain. I did some research as to what study I needed to do to become a chaplain and Theology was the answer. So, I did Theology at Avondale College (the only Adventist university in Australia!)... When I graduated I made it very clear that I wanted to be a chaplain. Instead, my internship was in a country location with one big church, one church plant, and two small country churches that were over an hour away. I was really frustrated at first. But the more I ministered to church folk the more I realised that God had led me to pastoring!
    I have been told by many people ever since I was a child that I would be a minister one day. I always argued with them. Not me. And I rebelled against that direction in my life. But, looking back, I see that God has been shaping me all along. At Rio I was Class Pastor in my Senior year (along with Jenifer Bottroff). I was also the Head RA that year. God was shaping me for leadership and spiritual leadership.
    I have often asked myself the same questions as you asked. How can I be a pastor? How can I lead people to God? How can He use me as a leader of His people. And the only answer that works at all is, "Because Jesus died on the cross for me and stands in my place before the Father." I have had a few doses of humility since being a teenager. I was spoiled and selfish. God has been working on me for the last 10+ years. This Sunday is my 10th wedding aniversary! Marriage, Fatherhood and pastoring have all lead me to a more accurate view of myself.
    I must say, looking at who I was as a youth and who I am now as an adult, that God can use anyone. He has great plans for everyone. His plans for each of our lives are specific and exciting. We just need to humble ourselves before Him and allow him to lift us up and direct our paths.
    God bless,

Isn't it amazing how God changes us so that we can be used by him? I am still greatly humbled every time that I consider what I have been called to do!

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