I remember reading from a book called "The Dream Giver" by Bruce Wilkinson about a young man named "Normal" who lived in Normalsville, or something to that effect. He felt called to go to another land outside of Normalsville, yet there were many challenges ahead of him. He faced "Border Bullies" and "Giants" and had many tests of faith before he would reach the destination that God had called him to. At one point he even had to give up his dream to God.... then he waited. Eventually God gave him the dream back after his faith was tested. Normal had to learn to trust God, to face challenges with faith and to persevere when doubts are thrown at him.
I have felt a lot like Normal during these last few months of unemployment and now raising support for ministry with InterVarsity. I am certain that God has called me to plant new ministries at community college campuses throughout Detroit and Ann Arbor, but I am still faced with doubts and uncertainties. I ask, "Are you sure Lord?" Many people have mentioned and stated, "You sure picked a bad time to try something like this Todd." I appreciate the insight, but I didn't choose this time or this ministry - the Lord did. Who else would choose a time when the economy was so low for me to raise support? Who else is able to bring about the impossible? This isn't just a time of faith testing for me, but for all of us. But I do have doubt, fears, worries and anxiety even though I know that the Lord has called me. Look through the bible did the people the Lord called ever have impossible circumstances to overcome? Yes, time after time the Lord continued to prove that He is our Lord and our God. He is our provider, our sustainer our deliverer and our savior. That my friends is encouraging!
Someone recently sent me an encouraging note that helped me set my focus back on the goal. It is easy to hear the Border Bullies and Giants cast doubts at me. But with encouragement from my wife and others I am able to press on. I strongly believe your prayers sustain me in my efforts to persevere in serving the Lord.
Here is the email:
God has given you many gifts that I believe He would desire to use in ministry. You work well with children and youth ministry is a good fit, but the college years are such a strategic time of life. People make life time decisions then. Additionally the best and the brightest from around the world choose to gain their education on US campuses. That allows you to influence the world more efficiently and profoundly than any other ministry venue. You may well have contact with future foreign presidents, business executives, and kings. Because we have such privilege and access to higher education in this country we easily lose sight of the uniqueness and power that it provides. Pick up your stones and sling them well.
I appreciate the prayers and encouragements. Please do not think less of them as you continue to support me by various means. An encouraging word, a smile, a prayer, though they may seem small can and will lift the spirit of a man, especially with the help of an Almighty God!
What about your dreams and call from God? Have you fallen to the Border Bullies or lost a battle to the Giants? Seek the Lord, pray and ask for prayer and watch the Lord help you defeat them. Our God is Awesome! Do you believe it?
(After thinking about it the character in the books name was "Ordinary" who lived in Normal.)...
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