The Epiphany of Joy, Chapter 10: Joy in Our Calling (3 of 3)
“Soon after we moved to Mineral Wells we began attending a traditional church and realized there weren’t many younger families there. We were really bothered by this.” So falling back on his desire and ability to fix things, he and Janna started looking into how they could reach younger families with meaningful church experience. “After a lot of prayer, research, and meetings,” Dan continued, “we were approved to start a new ‘contemporary’ service in the gym. It was my first taste of real ministry and I absolutely love it.” Despite opposition against this church service, it grew. “We knew that God had ordained these steps for us to take, and we took them. It was the first time in my life I felt like my life had a purpose. I was finally able to scratch the itch. I was like a fish that had been flopping around on the shore, gasping for oxygen, and finally finding water.”
Dan and Janna moved away from that church after a year and a half, but the service they established continues to this day. Then God led the couple to plant another church in Weatherford, Texas. “Church planting is the hardest, most thankless job,” explained Dan, and yet it’s “the most rewarding and exciting job all the same. I love everything about church planting. Once it’s in your veins, it’s hard to get out.” As they drove back and forth between Mineral Wells and Weatherford, Dan and Janna realized God had planted them in Mineral Wells for a purpose, so after New River proposed opening a campus in their town, New River hired him as the Campus Pastor for the extension in Mineral Wells.
“I love doing what God has called me to do. It is awesome knowing that you are at the center of His will. I love sharing the love of Jesus with people who are so far away from it, to see people who are broken in so many ways become healed and whole again.” One of Dan’s favorite Bible verses is Philippians 2:1-4, a passage, he said, which greatly expresses his ministry of service and compassion. “My joy comes from serving the One Who is the glue that unites us all, and gives our lives purpose. Where He guides, He provides. He makes my joy complete.”
“For we are God’s handiwork,” Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians, “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV). Notice what Paul said: God prepared our good works in advance for us to do. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book,” the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 139, “before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16b NIV). God’s will, His calling on our lives, was ordained even before we took our first breath. Dan followed his heart of service first to the medical field, then to sales, and each time his heart yearned for more. His intentions were right, the vehicles were, at first, wrong. God finally removed him from those vehicles and placed him into full-time ministry. And He has made good on His promise of Philippians 4:19, where Paul wrote “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Dan is living out his bloody-tail passion. With a passion!
Jesus said to His disciples, “’Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done” (Matthew 16:24-27 NIV). Are you forfeiting your soul? Or worse, are you ignoring your calling, trading it in for a life of comfort and security rather than excitement, purposefulness, and joy? For the sake of pure joy, it is your imperative to seek God’s will, find His calling on your life, and dare to step out and live it with all your heart. Because life’s all about bloody-tail passion, and I want to have the bloodiest!
Copyright ©2014 by David C. Hughes