Critical Points in the Journey:
At nine years old, I found myself facing a sobering – no terrifying – decision: trust Jesus or go to hell! As a nine-year old, that didn’t seem like much of a choice – I trusted Jesus. Unfortunately, that perspective of God dominated my view of Him for the next 18 years – God was madder than hell, just waiting to nail my hide to the wall! – “You better go to church (read your Bible, give, pray, etc…) ’cause God is gonna get you if you don’t!”
Then, at 27, God did two things that impacted me deeply. First, He brought Charlie Bing and his understanding of Grace into my life. Through his influence, I began to realize that while God is just and holy, He desires to be gracious to me. As a result, my view of God shifted from that of an angry God, to a God who is kind and merciful. However, He still seemed distant.
At the same time, He led me to Dallas Theological Seminary where I was profoundly shaped by my experiences. Three significant developments took place during my time there.
• My passion to be a “workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the Word of Truth” was fed, and my skills developed.
• My intense desire for disciple making was awakened and focused when I read The Disciple making Pastor, by Bill Hull. Although my exposure to any formal experience of disciple making was very limited, Bill’s message resonated with me.
• God used a small group of men that I met with to show me that He had wired me to reach men that the traditional church was missing.
These three things have guided the path my quest has taken in the years since. Right out of Seminary, they took me to northeastern Colorado, where I pastored a rural church for 3 and a half years. There I began to learn about discipleship in the context of a local church, and met Bob Fobes, a Navigator who was instrumental in teaching me to walk with God daily, in a real, relational way. This transformed my view of God once again – no longer did I see Him as a kind and merciful, yet distant God – I realized that He desired for me to walk in close fellowship with Him on a daily basis, and that He was not so much angry as disappointed and grieved when I don’t make time for Him.
From Colorado, ny quest brought me to Katy, Texas, to pastor a second church. Although I had envisioned this being the perfect place to spend the rest of my ministry teaching The Word and making disciples, we disbanded the church after 6 and a half years. Weary and exhausted, I began to seek God for what was next. As a result of my experiences, I had a couple of more criteria that would help me find the “perfect” church this time.
Within a couple of weeks of the church disbanding, I began to read Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. The things that John was saying resonated deeply with things I had been processing deep in my own soul, but which seemed to go against some of the assumptions I found in the Christian culture in which I had grown up. It was extremely refreshing to realize that God was leading other men to the same place that I sensed Him leading me. As I was processing all of this, God showed how misguided and unrealistic the pursuit of this “perfect” church was. I realized that this was, in reality, a very self-serving ambition – I was looking for a place that I could serve and experience fruit without much difficulty! It was as if God said to me, “I didn’t call you and give you the training and experiences I have so that you can lead a boy scout troop; I did those things so that you can go to battle for My Kingdom!”
As it turned out, the next four years were to be another phase of training, where God taught Kasie and me much about trusting Him – completely – even if it meant loosing everything. It didn’t – but there were times when that was far from certain. During this time, God also showed me the strength that He had given me and clarified, in a very specific way, the mission to which He had called me, and for which He had prepared me. In short, that mission is to help others in their pursuit of the True Quest.