David C. Hughes, Writer

“For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your JOY will be complete." –Deuteronomy 16:15

Archive for the tag “Joy in our calling”

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

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The Epiphany of Joy, Chapter 10: Joy in Our Calling (2 of 3)

Let me ask you another question: If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you be doing with your life right now?  If you could have the ultimate dream job, what would it be?  I pray you’re actually doing what you love right now, but if you’re not, I hope your answer to these questions brought a little thrill to your heart, a little shot of adrenaline, a little hope to your weary fingers and strained eyes.  Because if you’re living out God’s calling–His will–for you, you don’t have to worry about the money; in fact, you don’t have to worry about anything!  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” Jesus told during the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:33 NIV).  Not a few of these things, not some of these things, but all these things will be given to you as well.

From the very beginning of my corporate work experience, and even while attending college prior to entering the 9 to 5 world, I began to realize not many people actually enjoyed doing what they were doing, but they kept doing it anyway.  During my almost thirty year stint in the corporate workforce, I’d heard countless gripes, complaints, and lamentations from folks about how much they loathed their jobs.  They lived the Dilbert comic strip every day, but without the punch line.  I saw how their jobs were making them sick, lethargic, unmotivated, grumpy.  I saw, in other cases, how their jobs were killing them.  “Why don’t you just quit?” I began to ask in response to these moans.  “Because I need the money,” came the invariable answer.  And so these folks kept right on griping, complaining, and lamenting.  It stunk.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain,” the apostle Paul cautioned in his first letter to Timothy, “but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17 NIV).  Notice how Paul said “everything for our enjoyment.”  Everything.  For our enjoyment!  God is the God of provision and unlimited resources.  But for decades I went right along with those complaining about their jobs yet doing nothing about it.

Oh, I may not have complained so much out loud, trying to wear a more positive attitude on the outside.  But I could definitely relate to the complainers, the whiners, and the bellyachers.  And my conflicted attitude about work and money began to rear its ugly head in the form of depression, illness, pain, anger, bitterness, tiredness, and lack of motivation.  I felt trapped between maintaining a lifestyle I’d constructed over the past three decades and remaining miserable, or finally believing what God says about provision, protection, and doing His will, and risk living . . . joyfully.  “Men and women of faith struggle rather to surrender to and trust God and His providence,” wrote Matthew Kelly in A Call to Joy. “This surrender and trust free Christians of worry and anxiety and allow them to focus their energy on the realities of the present moment” (Matthew Kelly, A Call to Joy, “Chapter 3: Building Blocks of the Spiritual Life,” page 77).

I knew God never meant for our work to suck the life out of us like a spider draining the blood from a bug and leaving the husk to shiver in the wind.  Over the years I had allowed myself to be brainwashed by the mantra of retirement planning, coming the realize that no one–no one!–in the Bible ever retired.  Shoot, Moses was, what, 120 years old when he finally died?  Just imagine if he’d turned in the key to the Hebrew executive washroom at age 65 and continued to hang out in the desert with Zipporah, cultivating succulents for a hobby.  Where would the Jewish people be?  Probably still in Egypt, serving the Egyptians, as they’d done for over 400 years prior to Moses stepping in and demanding Pharaoh to let his people go.  No, Moses started his main career at age 80, after 40 years of gaining experience living in the desert.  Noah started building the ark when he was something like 500.  Abraham didn’t even have Isaac until he was 100.  Dang, in Biblical perspective, I’m just getting warmed up!

Dan Rasmussen is the Campus Pastor for New River Mineral Wells, in Mineral Wells, Texas, but before his life in fulltime ministry began, Dan was a chiropractor.  Son of church planter, pastor, missionary, and jack-of-all-trades, Dan went to college after high school, not for ministry, but for football.  After he met his wife, Janna, and they started dating, football suddenly became much less important.  Dan and Janna got married while he was a sophomore in college.  “My thought then was, ‘how am I going to provide for this woman?’” he told me.

“Part of my upbringing was always helping those in need,” he said.  “Watching my parents, and seeing their hearts, I wondered if I could find a career that helped those in need as well.  I began searching healthcare professions and landed on a career in chiropractic.”  After graduating from chiropractic school, Dan started his own practice.  At first “it was great!  I was my own boss and ‘living the dream,’ or at least I thought I was.”  After struggling for five years, “the business was sucking the fun and joy right out of me.”

So, after praying and discussing the situation with Janna, Dan walked away from his practice and began working for a friend in sales, “but it still was just a job,” he said.  “A means to pay my bills.”  Again he began to question what he was doing, then his friend let him go from that job as well.

(continued)

Copyright ©2014 by David C. Hughes

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