No Longer A Pastor

  

 Pretty dramatic title, right? I cannot believe it has been over a month since I last blogged. Since then, the following has happened:

  • Resigned my job as Life Group Pastor at RLM
  • Resigned my job as Adjunct Instructor of Philosophy at PRCC
  • Moved out of our house we own (now renting it) into my in-laws
  • Working fulltime at a metal warehouse in Slidell, LA

Starting last February, God began to radically turn my heart in a different direction than pastoring. Over a decade ago, the Lord told me that Philosophy was one of my “mission fields.” That time has come. 

I am ready to be a missionary, not a pastor. 

Granted, a pastor can live like a missionary. EVERY CHRISTIAN, if he or she is a real Christian, is called (even commanded) to live as a missionary. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ but never think or pray about how you might share your faith with the people around you, you are compromised. 

After teaching as an adjunct for the past two years, my heart was so stirred and became furiously alive as I had the privilege of interacting with students over questions that really matter. I found that whereas many of them would not have given me the time of day as a pastor, some would stay after class (especially after Philosophy of Religion lectures) to ask me deep, spiritual questions of a more personal nature. This set a fire in me that could not be quenched. “This is all I want to do” I kept thinking to myself. 

John Eldridge writes, “Desire reveals design, and design reveals destiny.” Yep, that about sums it up. I cannot shake my desire to step full-time into the world of Philosophy and be the “salt” and “light” that quite often does not exist in that arena. 

I started filling out applications in April for both teaching positions and doctoral scholarships in both Europe and the United States. Throughout the entire process, my wife and I felt very strongly that the Lord said that He was going to open a door for the Fall. In order to give both of my employers a fair, honest notice (so that they would not get messed over in the process), I had to go ahead and set a date of termination. Both of my bosses were extremely flexible in the process. I once heard a man say, “How you leave one season will determine how you enter the next.” 

Up until the last moment, we kept hanging on to the idea that God was going to open a door for the fall. 

He did not. This was very hard, disappointing, and discouraging. 

Plain and simple, I missed God on this part of the puzzle. But something I have learned is that in the midst of this and after over 30-40 declined applications, my desire to be in the world of Philosophy for the glory of Jesus has only grown stronger. After several clouds and foggy days, I know now more than ever that this really is in my heart. I cannot stop desiring. I cannot stop dreaming. And maybe more significant tha nanything else, neither can my wife. If my wife would not have been willing to make major sacrifices, I would have had to give up my dream after a couple of months of nothing working out. However, unlike most women I meet, she does not want things and stuff and the American dream. She wants adventure. She wants my dreams. She wants us to go for something unique and live somewhere new.

So, though I seem to have missed God on the timing of it all, we are moving forward, hardhat and all. Sidenote: be okay admitting that you miss God when you do. I have so sensed Daddy God’s pleasure over our wilingness to step out and trust Him even though we have not had it all “right.” We are filling out applications every week hoping to end up either in the Northwest, Northeast, or Europe. I desperately want a Ph.D. It is a must for academia. Until a door opens, we will be inhabiting this  in-between season that quite honestly, has caught us by surprise. 

But the question remains: Will I seek God and His glory in and through my life (and my family’s life) every day? Or will I demand of God that He open a door for me and let me do what I want before I really trust Him and seek Him again? These are real questions of an existential sort that are too often skirted with superficial answers from dishonest hearts. I have battled and am still grappling with this. God did not do as I thought. 

So we shall see. My parents and a few friends have been really, really supportive. My wife and I have decided for bettter or for worse, that we are dreamers. In Genesis 37, Joseph’s brothers mocked him with the words, “Here comes that dreamer.” Are not Joseph’s brothers a perfect picture of the religious type of person? We have chosen to risk it all (and have already) and lose everything to go for it because safety and comfort are not all that they are cracked up to be. I gave up “ministry” for a different type of ministry. For now, I am trying ot figure out what it looks like to honor Christ working metal. 

Some days my heart is heavy because I am not yet getting to do my dream. Other days, I am okay. It has been nice for a change having a job that I can leave behind when I clock out. Will I be a pastor again some day? Yes, if and only if, God wants me to be. But as my dad has encouraged me, being a “pastor” can look many different ways. At the risk of sounding a little corny, you can take the man out of the pastorate, but I am not sure you can take the “pastor” out of the man. My heart is the same. Only the externals are changing. 

So this is our story thus far. We are awaiting direction and hoping to have an open door by January. Please pray for us. I am convinced that God is looking for people who in deed, not just word, really are willing to walk by faith rather than sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).  My wife and I are choosing the road less traveled (Robert Frost). 

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11 thoughts on “No Longer A Pastor

  1. I grew up as a child at a non-denominational Christian church. My father taught at an Orthodox Hebrew High School, and he called our Pastor “Rabbi”, because it means teacher and he respected him so highly. The plan God has for you is bigger than any title or job description, and it’s inspiring to see you follow Him with a conviction of faith that I admire and honestly, envy. Thank you for posting this.
    Also this quote: “Desire reveals design, and design reveals destiny.” really moved me. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s not a popular doctrine of God among Christians in general, much less charismatics, but if God is truly sovereign as HE says He is in His Word versus our limited view of His Word we too often misshape as we like, then He has ordained everything from before the foundation of the world in love (Ephesians 1 below) so that we need not fear missing God’s will and even as He has taught in Hebrews 3-5 (below) that we must diligently strive (spoudazO) to enter into His rest, we nonetheless need not fear, one reason He says “Fear not” when He & his messengers show up!
    Preparing these verses has yet again confirmed how much the chapter and verse divisions create roadblocks to us drinking in the richness of God’s Perfect Word, Written-Incarnate (Jesus personally ever-present in His Word Written, e.g. Rom 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh) He lovingly condescends undeservingly to reveal to us.
    See http://www.desiringGod.org
    especially the free pdf book “Desiring God” available there:
    http://www.desiringgod.org/books
    http://www.desiringgod.org/books/desiring-god
    Soli Deo gloria!
    Eph 1:3-14 ASV Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ: 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: 5 having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved: (also read on in 7-14).

    Heb 3:12-5:14
    ASV Take heed, brethren, … and the rest of 3:12-4:8
    4:9 There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest hath himself also rested from his works, as God did from his. 11 Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest … and the rest of 4:11-5:7
    5:8 though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation; 10 named of God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. 11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard of interpretation, seeing ye are become dull of hearing. 12 For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food. 13 For every one that partaketh of milk is without experience of the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. 14 But solid food is for fullgrown men, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil.
    There are several places here where God talks about fearing lest we fall away, but far from the popular modern error of devilry that a true son of God can lose his salvation, contradicting Joh 10:29 ASV My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (regardless of the ludicrous diabolical sophistry pretending one can himself jump out), this rather is God’s very MEANS ordained to make that impossible since He has foreknown His chosen ones from before the beginning in Him, people, not the bogus notion of man’s “decisions” of the popular man-centered, God-belittling error Jesus refutes in John 15:16: “Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” The diabolical notion that one can lose his salvation fails to consider, doubtless satan’s intention, that one God has given the eternal life of salvation by definition cannot lose it or it could not have been eternal, pretending one can be in and out of Christ like a yoyo! Thanks be to God! 1Co 15:28 … that God may be all in all. Rom 11:36 For from him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever. Amen. Soli Deo gloria!

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    1. PS It’s wonderful to see Lloyd Rindels’ labor of love Master’s Commission has borne such good fruit in you to God’s glory! He was a dear pastor at my charismatic fellowship some of that time.

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      1. Wow. I miss Lloyd a lot. I would give a lot to be able to sit down with him over a cup of coffee. So much fun to hear that you know him. Thanks for the comments on this blog.

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