Part 5 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.
In the Summer of 1999, I was 20 years old and I had met a band called PAX217. I immediately hit it off with these incredible guys who were taking their music to kids all over the country and sharing Jesus with them.
Incidentally, they were looking for a second guitar player.
Fired up, I began hanging with them more, visiting them in the studio as they recorded their first record, learning songs, and rehearsing a couple times with them. I was in Bible College, but had decided after being offered the spot that I wanted to join the band and start touring with them almost immediately.
I’d prayed, for sure, but quite literally the week before I was moving up to Orange County to join them, I was going on a Men’s Retreat with my church, Grace Chapel of the Coast, and I figured I’d give God one more time to speak last minute.
On the second night, as I sat in the front worshiping, all of a sudden something happened that I had never experienced before, and haven’t experienced since.
As I sat there, I saw very vividly a picture of me when I was about 2 years old, in a striped shirt on with overalls and sideways hat as I was pulling my red wagon. In my heart, I got sentimental as I was filled with kind of a gladness of heart. But then, I saw a picture of me when I was 17. The gladness went away, and it was replaced quickly with anger. I saw this picture, this 17 year old, and only one phrase instantly came to mind:
“I hate that kid.”
And I did. It was only three years previous, but a whole lifetime away. I felt like that 17 year old kid robbed and stole the innocence of the 2 year old little boy. He ruined him, and that made me angry. Even disgusted.
Then the picture instantly changed to me at current day, 20 years old, beginning to walk solidly with the Lord. But I was confused. I had no real “feelings” about it. No anger. No gladness. Just…nothing. I didn’t know what to think.
And then I heard what I believe was God, saying, “Before you were born, I had a plan for your life. And when you were this 2 year old boy, that plan hadn’t changed. When you were 17 years old, even though you wanted nothing to do with me, my plan for you had never changed. And now, today, you are walking that plan out.”
And then the bomb dropped.
“Jobey…you’re a worship leader.”
A worship leader. At this point in my life, I had been leading worship, but I really, really, really wanted to play in a band, travel, record, and live the life that most young guitar players dream of. I really wanted to be in PAX217.
It was the desire of my heart.
But Psalm 37.4 had other plans for me.
I knew, deep down, that God was calling me to be a worship leader. And I knew that by joining PAX, I was running from it, because though this was God’s plan for them, it was not His plan for me.
I was a worship leader.
Back in 2011
So now, you see part of my dilemma. Here I was, a worship leader, late at night reading, when these words from another man’s mind had perfectly described me and were pulling the curtain back to reveal what God was already doing in me.
And it wasn’t about being a worship leader.
He described this “inner call” in many eerily ways that were perfectly spot-on. He said things like “a preacher doesn’t decide to preach…there is a disturbance in him, one that he doesn’t think of deliberately. It isn’t one of many ministry options that he chooses from; it is something that happens to him, something that he becomes aware of, and it is thrust upon him, as if it is forced on him.”
He goes on saying that “the man has the feeling that he can do nothing else but this. He becomes unable to resist it, even though he tries his utmost to stop it. He says, ‘No, I will keep doing this other ministry, because it is good and God-glorifying.’ You try to rid yourself of the disturbance, but you reach a point where you can’t any longer. You feel inadequate, you question your feelings and motives and examine them as you do your utmost to push it away. You shrink away from it.”
This is exactly where I was at. I had realized that God was revealing to me, slowly, this new direction He had for me. It wasn’t one that I would have picked for me, that’s for sure. I loved being a worship leader. But as the Doctor said, I didn’t pursue it, it pursued me. I was not looking for it, nor did I desire it. I didn’t go into studying for the Doctrine & Theology Class thinking this would be my opportunity to show my half-baked teaching skills and get out of this worship leading gig. I didn’t go into the class thinking anything would change.
Little did I know, however, that God was setting me up; He was preparing me. He slowly and progressively developed and conformed my heart in new ways, piece by piece, step by step. I had been delighting myself so much in the Lord, that He truly was giving me the desires of my heart, desires I never had before, desires that actually changed my heart. It was in this moment, the night I was reading this book, that it all became clear to me and I freely and joyfully abandoned anything that I thought was in the cards for me and became deeply convinced of what I was called to do.
I’ve been called to preach. And I can do nothing else.
What is it in your life that you must do? If you could do anything at all, and you knew you wouldn’t fail, what it be? How do you think God would be most glorified in and through your life? That last question is tricky, because what I thought wasn’t quite what God thought, but nonetheless, it’s a good place to start by asking that question.
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