Part 3 of a Blog Series Called “How Did We Get Here?” (click here to go to the beginning), the Story of How I was Called to Start Life Mission Church and What Got Us to Where We are Today.
So, fast forward a few months later into the middle of Summer of 2010. Because of this deep spring of worship that was breaking open from deep in my heart, my natural thought was to do whatever I could to bring this to my church family. As a worship leader, my heart was completely welling up with a desire for my church family to come to a place where this same kind of spring would burst in their hearts. My desire was to bring to them, as well as I could and by God’s grace, this broad and deep picture of the Gospel story in a way that somehow would bring the same kind of wakefulness to their soul and worshipful response as it did mine. What transpired over the next few months was hours upon hours of study, preparation, and writing for what became a 13 week class titled Doctrine and Theology.
The Doctrine and Theology Class was amazing. It began in January of 2011, and we had 408 people show up the first night! Three years later, I still hear from people how much that changed their life and their relationship with the Lord and their love for the Word!
But now, here’s where it gets interesting. Throughout the class, I loved teaching week in and week out (thoroughly loved, I should say). The class, particularly the faces of the people that were there, has become an incredibly fun and humbling memory that I carry to this day, but I remember still thinking, “I wouldn’t want to do this every week.” I even remember once or twice during the course of the class someone asking, “have you ever thought of leading a church?” My answer, as it was before, was “no, I definitely would never want to do that.” I had my reasons, and they were many.
Be Careful What You Ask For
But an odd thing began to happen in me, something that caught me off guard. I had made a statement some time in 2010 where I said “if I could just get people into the Word more, I would die a happy man.” It was a somewhat nonchalant, flippant remark I made during a class, but it now started coming to a weird fruition in my heart and life. Seeing the excitement for the Word and God’s truth in the faces of my church family was deeply impacting me. There became a deeper longing in me, a realization that a passion was building in me that was never there before.
This passion grew and grew, getting stronger and stronger, even when I wasn’t teaching. And then, for me, the bombshell really hit. In a moment, one day I realized that the unthinkable was happening in my heart. Truly, for me, the unimaginable. Over the course of many months I came to realize that I was now more passionate about teaching the Word than…I’m just going to say it…
I know, I know…”say it ain’t so, Joe…bey.” But it was true. And I will tell you for certain that denial is not just a river in Egypt. This became a real battle for me. It was an internal war in my spirit because I would think to myself, “but I’m a worship leader, this can’t be happening! I’m not a preacher man, I don’t even want to be a preacher man, I want to keep leading worship! That’s what I do best! I didn’t ask for this and I’ve never wanted it!”
And so Psalm 37.4 begins to show its interesting face. It’s funny how the desires of your heart don’t often begin as delights, let alone even desires. Sometimes the desires are actually things you initially wanted nothing to do with. But really, this makes sense, because in the beginning, they aren’t even your own desires, they are God’s desires! And our hearts, much like our bodies when we are sick, fight against these “foreign intruders” because they aren’t natural, they are from somewhere else. Just as our bodies fight viruses from the outside, our human, selfish desires fight God’s desires, because they, too, come from not within us and our own hearts, but from God’s heart. And since we don’t have the desire naturally, and He wants us to have the desire, He gives us the desires of our heart!
So I really began to realize that this was not up to me, that somehow I had become so obsessive and immersed in the truth of Christ on a deeply personal level that when I finally came up for air, I found that my heart had been changing. It was a scary revelation for me (what a novel concept, being changed by God!). This was part of the “ruin” that Christ brought me. I mean you would think that even your deepest passion and ministry, which for me was music and worship, would stay the same, but apparently, nothing is off limits when it comes to the power of Christ in your life!
So, I did what anyone else would do when their life begins to change and it makes them feel terribly uncomfortable. I kept it a secret as I fought it. And the secret would get even deeper and stronger.
Is there something in your heart that needs to get out? It could be something like what I was experiencing – a new dream or passion – or it could be something like a sinful habit or something from your past that is weighing you down. The question to ask yourself is NOT “what do I risk by saying something,” but it’s “what do I risk by NOT saying something.”
This Can’t be Real, It’s Only a Story: I was totally blindsided when I found my thoughts and my deepest feelings written in a book by another man.