God Said He Is Going Ahead
So it has been a little over 3 years since I have been here. God has been doing a LOT. Let me just share some. Many times we wonder what God’s will is…Most of the times it is given to us in black and white! For example:
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”1 Thessalonians 5:19
So, pretty clear, eh? Or how about this one:
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified [set apart for God’s use]: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God…1 Thessalonians 4:3–5
So again, pretty straight forward – especially when it says “It is the will of God..” There is much more to be said about this will of God stuff…very important!
But how about things that are not so “black and White”?? 2 years ago, I was in a job that was threatening to have layoffs and/or even pay reduction due to COVID’s ugly impact. I – had just before that – been laid off from Gateway Church along with 200 other pastors due to poor management, so was not about to have yet another layoff! So I put my application “out there” to find another job back in the public sector. I am pretty much done with the whole ministry thing – don’t get me wrong, I love the Lord, and am committed to Him all the days of my life. And I am committed to His people as well! You can’t commit to just one without also committing to the other! But since people are fickle (God’s people less so, but even they tend to be fickle unless they let God do His work on their lives!)…I was done trusting in people’s character to support me. To be clear, trusting in God’s people for supporting the ministry is something the Apostle Paul said was quite Biblical and proper. However, I have always been amazed at what people will allow themselves to live under when God’s people do not support the ministry…how pastor’s could allow their children to live in such poverty is beyond me.
Anyway! I digress…I had put my application out there all over the country and received several interviews in places such as Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas and even Alaska! I asked God to please open the doors to where HE wanted me to be. I had a follow-up interview in Alaska, but no offer…waited several seeks, and nothing. I was about to go with a small Texas offer when I got a call from Alaska again. I received an offer to be a principal of a small school (K-12) school in a bush village only accessible by air or boat. Not on the road system. That was the one God offered me, so I took it. I had told God that I would take the first offer HE gave me.
Now for years I had a best friend when I was an assistant principal at Haltom High School in Birdville ISD named Leonard. It was one of those God appointed things. We were both believers, so we got to school early every morning circa 6 am so we could pray EVERYDAY for things – from faculty, to leadership to students. God truly did work! Well, one of my favorite things about Leonard was his past an Army Paratrooper Jump Instructor…he was a Master Sergeant and Jump Instructor. I truly and greatly respected Leonard!
One of the things he told me is that when he was to go on a mission, the army would always send all the supplies they needed FOR that mission. When they would jump out of the airplane, they would land in a place where their supplies were already waiting for them. Housing, food, weaponry, etc. The first thing they would do was set up a perimeter and stand guard against the enemy. See the parallel??!!
I thought about that. God send us on missions too. And He promises to meet all of our needs in Christ Jesus, and to NEVER abandon us!
So what about my new job? I had just taken a job in Alaska, but didn’t know how I was going to get there?? How do I get all my stuff up there? My car? This all takes money, and I was working at a Christian School, and they don’t believe in paying their teachers well. Even if given the opportunity! I heard the president of our board at Grapevine Faith say just that! I knew I had to drive – 5,000 miles from Ft. Worth Texas…let me do the math: Just the gas alone was $500, let along food and lodging…I was looking at easily a $1500 trip. I will have to mail a bunch of stuff up there ahead of me…that is roughly $75 to $125 per box. That is easily another $1000.
God gave me the idea to take all of my paperback books that I truly want to Kinkos/FedEx and have them cut the bindings off and send each one through the copier at school and digitize them into a PDF file, and bring them on a thumb drive! Yep…here they all are – over 200 of them!
But still…I need to live until my first paycheck from my new job – two months away. And working at the typical Christian school, when I put in my resignation, my pay stopped immediately. Even though every other education contract says I will be paid through the full 12 months ending in August. I was given a “Special” contract that says pay will end when I terminate. So there is that. Why are Christians to bad at treating other Christians well? My Bible says to give our Christian leaders double respect.
Well God saw all of that and already had a plan before time began. I had a POC Chevy Silverado Pickup Truck that was near death, and was parked on the street outside of my house. It sat there for months. I was afraid the city would tow it as an abandoned vehicle! Soon as I signed my contract for the new job, it was just a couple of weeks and I saw this orange tag on my truck while I drove by it one day. I figured, “Great! The city wants to tow it!” Well I checked the tag and it was a little card from some guy who said he wanted to buy it! Now I figured “Awesome!” But then thought that when he finds out my truck has all of these problems (I will never buy American vehicles again – let alone diesel!) he will back out or greatly reduce the price. I had a mental idea of $3,000 I wanted for it…thinking that $3k is what I would need to live on and get me to Alaska. I called the guy and he comes over, and in full disclosure, I tell him what repairs I have had done to it, and what it needed to be repaired – probably over $1,000. He said he can fix those things….and offered me $3000 cash for it! Remember my paratrooper friend Leonard’s story about the supplies being sent ahead? This just happened!
I was now set! a month and 5,000 miles later, I was in Anchorage! Next step was to board a little plane and get to Koliganek! I had 700 lbs of freight and my own $300 ticket, so $1100 later I landed in Koliganek.
It was a great village. Great people! Right on the Nushagak River – full of Salmon! The school year comes and goes, and pretty soon I am asked to apply for a position in the district office. I do, and I get the position as a Director.
This will mean a move to the city of Dillingham, which has roads. My car is in storage in Anchorage – 300 miles away. Remember, no roads between Anchorage and Dillingham! I check and it will cost me $3200 to have it put on a barge to Dillingham. Well, that is money I do not have! I could probably pay it out…but AML does not see it that way!
Moreover, there is a housing shortage in Dillingham. It is a city of 2500 people until summer time when it swells to over 7500 people due to commercial fishing…I would be moving in June. Yep, going to be tight!! I hear just a basic apartment is over $2000…ouch!
But God’s promises are still true. In fact, 2 Corinthians 1:20 tells us
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God…” Okay, I have only seen it happen hundreds of times before, so why will now be any different?!
A week before I am to fly the 80 miles to Dillingham in the little single engine propeller plane for $100, I go online to get some tax info from an old account I had when I was with Gateway Church. I had long since closed it and cashed in that old account. So I was surprised when it said I have over $4,000 in it! I was like “This has got to be some mistake!” So I called them. Sure enough, there was money actually in the account! But I was curious why it was there…I truly had closed it out when Gateway got rid of the 200 of us! Ironically THAT VERY DAY when I checked my mail, there was a letter from Gateway church saying that when they severed our relationship, they accidentally took too much of the retirement account , and they were refunding me the error! Now timing is everything! I Needed $3200 pretty soon, and just found out I had $4000! Once again, God went ahead and confirmed my next step in life.
What is next? I do not know…but I will say it again and again: There is a God, He is actively involved in every aspect of our lives. His promises are true. His Word is true. He is good. I am honored to have been called by Him to serve Him. Word up – EVERYONE OF US is called by Him to serve Him…not just a few. Now I live here:
Then there is this view just a few miles from my home…
Want to know God’s will in a more intimate way?
“…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”Romans 12:1-2
So, it is clear that we CAN know the will of God beyond that which is in the black and white pages of scripture…we can follow the bread crumbs of the clues we are able to see. It is a lifelong pursuit! Look at what HE says to us through His apostle Peter:
As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.– 1 Peter 4:2-5
Will you choose to do the will of God? It will be difficult…no lies here! But really no more difficult than living in the world! And it will be far more rewarding than what the world could ever offer! HE truly does go before you and provides what you need to do what He has called you to do! God is not like the federal government that gives unfunded mandates! LOL! God is faithful..What will it require? Go to God and seek His voice…Listen to it! Ask Him! Present yourself to Him. Say, “God here I am! I am all Yours! What do you want me to do?” If you can’t hear anything, or if you are hearing crazy things, then take a minute to rebuke satan or any of his emissaries…just say, “In Jesus Name any spirit of darkness I command you to leave. I belong to Jesus, and I desire to hear HIS voice above all others!” Then ask Jesus to speak…make sure you are ready to listen! It may take a little while of silence. He may speak in a voice, maybe an idea, maybe a vision, maybe a picture or maybe in a dream that night?
For God does speak—now one way, now another—-Job 33:14-18
though no one perceives it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on people
as they slumber in their beds,
he may speak in their ears
and terrify them with warnings,
to turn them from wrongdoing
and keep them from pride,
to preserve them from the pit,
their lives from perishing by the sword…
I would love to help you on this journey if you so desire! God is already there waiting for you! 🙂
Posted on August 29, 2021, in God is Good and tagged Gateway Church, God is Good, Grapevine Faith, Will of God. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
Hi Rick, Thanks for the post. It is good to hear how God is leading you. Tell me a little more about your job in Alaska. It looks beautiful. Is there any one else with you? What does a normal day look like?
Sent from my iPad
Hey Glenn! my email is firstname.lastname@example.org I am the director of Instruction. Our district is one of the larger districts in Alaska – about 3x the size of Rhode Island. It has 8 village schools – the largest school being around 300 students. SO I manage all of the curriculum materials, offer the professional development for the district, and offer help to the principals. No, there is no one with me. My daughter Micah is in college of U of Houston studying Asian Studies. She is fluent in Mandarin and manages a Korean Restaraunt. My son Tallon is in Todd White’s school in Ft. Worth – Lifestyle Christianity University. He also drums in their worship band. Mary is still doing accounting and working in a little Chinese Church in their kids ministry. We have been separated for a couple of years now. Normally, I am up at 6 am, to the office between 6:30 – 7. Play my guitar a bit, then do actual work until about 4:30…maybe later. Then I go home and make some dinner, and visit people I have reached out to. Like Isaiah – he is 29 – met him on his 29th birthday (I was playing pool at the bar – I do not drink, but it is a great way to meet people like Isaiah or Jeremiah). Isaiah did some prison time because he and some friends got drunk and that is when he shot and killed a man. He was recently released, and again alcohol deceived him into getting drunk again and this time Isaiah was the one who was shot – and paralyzed. So he now lives in a wheelchair alone in an apartment. So I am working with him to get him to take a Clifton Strengths test so he can see his strengths, and help get onto the road to become a counselor. He wants to become a drug and alcohol counselor, but his “friends” say he would not be a good one. Pretty ironic, eh? I have also loaned him my Steven Curtis CHapman Concert DVD where he share s the story of Nate Saint, and how he forgave the man who killed his dad. Isaiah (ironic name too!) needs to know more about God’s grace and forgiveness. Jeremiah is Isaiah’s friend. I told them both that their names are Biblical and challenged them to find out more about their names. I am going to start a bible study in two weeks with them and their friends. Anyway, then at the end of the day I crawl in bed and continue in my reading of scripture. It has become a sweet time everyday. Weekends I go out exploring, climbing a new mountain, or exploring new roads or go berry picking, or bear hunting. I do not want to shoot them with a gun, just my phone camera. They know I am coming for them because they always hide! But I will find them!
Hope you guys are doing well and that your health is improving! I have prayed for that! Love you brother!