THE ENCOUNTER III > The real life saga of one man leaving the safe confines of his Church building to make a difference in the streets. Like Batman saying, “Gotham needs me.”. In this day we live, there will be many hearing this call of the spiritual Caped Crusader, to leave the safety of the four walls of our building and venture out into exploits, but do not go without an understanding of what it means to be “Caped”, God’s COVERING. Only God knows what your experience will be like, but this is an account of mine. Hope you enjoy.
The back injury which had pulled Don out of truck driving, leading to surgery and many months of healing, had also led to unexpected things. He did not know that on January 1st, 2014, he was beginning a one year spiritual journey, a one year sabbatical with God. And now that one year was nearing and end, it was time to find a job. But once again, there were unexpected things coming. Events that would seem to have no logical explanation, and yet leading somewhere.
The night of ministry with Chris, “Oasis of Hope” Southern Baptist Church, was behind him. He now understood what was meant by a “Point of Pain”. Not that he did not mentally understand before, but now he had lived it. It had affected him. A part of him needed to be involved in the pain of this city. The big production of what went on in the safety of a Church building now left a bad taste in his mouth. He knew he would likely not preach another message from a pulpit until he was also successful in the streets. He felt he had no right to teach others when he himself had such a great lacking.
It was ironic that the last message his Pastor had let him preach had not gone over well. It was a message about true Priesthood and sacrifice. In this message he had stepped on a sacred cow. He did it respectfully, pulled his punches, dared not attack God’s anointed, but he had dared to say it. He had pointed out the unbiblical message of a Joel Osteen concerning money and having your best life now. As Priest we were called to sacrifice, not live like kings. Jesus laid that aside for later, and we are not at that “later” yet. The Jews also wanted “King” Jesus, but rejected the Priestly servant Jesus. Don had dared to say it, and he felt the ruffled feathers. He knew it was his last message, and it was time to go seeking. God was calling him to something different, but where would he find it?
The Southern Baptist were reaching out to him with a different way of doing things. A very basic and simple way with an emphasis on the streets, reach and teach, go to them, and disciple. But Don had been praying with some men in a large Pentecostal Church, and he loved their fellowship too. He would try there first.
However, a storm was about to hit again, one that would seem very confusing, one that would challenge the Prosperity teaching again, evidently there was more he needed to see. It was time to find a job. The right job. So he sent out four applications to some downtown Starbucks! This was just before Christmas. It seemed logical. If God was calling him to downtown inner city, then why not work there, and find a job in which to make “contacts”. So he took the first step that direction and then got sick!
Yup, that is what happened. With everything just ready to come rushing in, a new Church, a ministry calling, time to get a job, money beginning to run out, hospital bills beginning to mount, after almost 12 months of God providing in a miraculous way, Don began to job hunt, but was suddenly hit with a virus that would not go away! His lungs were so full of congestion and coughing, that he certainly could not do a descent interview! Christmas of 2014 came and went. Then his wife got it too! Now she was missing work and only half performing when she did go! All emergency money quickly dried up and the bank account dropped into the red! 2015 came and they were both still sick! What’s going on Lord? Do we not have a work to do? I don’t know Lord.
In desperation, Don started dropping strong hints to his Church friends who were well-off financially. For the first time in his life he was in real need, confused as to the reason why, and feeling led of God to “test” the Prosperity teaching that some are gifted in making money so they can help those in need. He didn’t doubt that some were called and gifted of God to make money, but it’s the giving part of which there seemed to be a real problem. A blindness…a deafness…a preoccupation with doing their own thing…and they do not see all the needs right under their own nose. This story will continue.