Archive for January 7, 2010

This was a picture of a man in Hollywood I just thought it was funny

More Faith for the Faith Journey

So today I woke up totally excited about life and Matt went out to the car to go to the store and came back in and said “Dude, you got a flat tire.” We had AAA come out and then when we tried to start the car the battery was dead. Not dead because of leaving a light on, but dead. Then the AAA guy said “You know you really need new tires.” Which we wouldn’t know because we are not car people…it looks treaded to me.

I began to think about how that miracle car, my Highlander, is like my whole journey. It was given in a season of awe and wonder and took me all over North America, even miraculously a few times (insert teleportation story here :Grin:), but now its old. I feel like my whole last season of life is over and worn, and that something new is coming. 2010 just feels like a new season, it is a new decade, and I am just happy about the new. Realize as I write the rest of this I am not discouraged but aware of a price I have been paying. What is better though is I am aware of what is coming because of being willing.

The faith journey following God in pioneering demands just about everything for a season. The hard part about mine is that I have been in start up mode for almost 11 years. I helped in the start up of the house of prayer in Kansas City, then I transitioned and started up my own ministry then we helped another ministry start up in Alabama, then we started a church in LA.  This has made my life anything but normal. Sometimes people ask me what it is like to hear from God on the level I sometimes have, and I want to tell them these stories instead of the glory stories because there is a price behind obeying His voice.

I have not been able to accumulate time, vacation, finances, everything has been required especially the last 3 years (I do rest though and have a lot of fun as those of you who follow my blogs see). When we moved to LA I emptied my bank account gave away half of my furniture, sacrificed my yearly vacation and breaks, began to live off of far less income in a city that has required far more, and just moved. It was worth it, but it was my 4th time doing that sort of drastic move. During my first 2 years in LA I had kidney stones 7 times, I had a hernia, I was sick about 5 days a month, I traveled 15 days a month on top of doing 1-2 services a week when I was home, I was robbed a computer, gps, security deposits on 2 houses which equaled well over 12,000 dollars, and had to put any extra money into a young ministry team that came out here to help as they were experiencing several of the same things.

The weird thing about this is that I never had an emotional break down or even a major trial, life and love just went on. I felt like muscles were built in me that had never been exercised on this level because I was so full of faith and when we would hit another wall something inside of me (called the Spirit of faith) would just push past my frustration almost like lifting a heavier weight, and I would press into God and He would come.

Endurance in faith is one of the hardest things to develop. It really is an emotion and soul area that you have to be worked out in to develop, it doesn’t come naturally. Change is one of the main builders of it and most people hate change. As a matter of fact I have moved 16 times in 14 years. That kind of change will cost you and you will either implode or if you are following God, thrive. So many times when something did come that I thought was an answer to prayer, God would require even that breakthrough and it wasn’t a weird testing of my heart or convictions, it was His invitation to develop that muscle. The same muscle of faith you use to pray for a cancer and see it healed is developed by the time you hear God to move or to change jobs or to give something sacrificial away or just surrender to Him.

Shortly into our time in LA, I went to Korea and had the largest offering ever given to me released. On top of that my friend heard from the Lord to buy me a new Highlander as mine is showing its wear and tear and he didn’t feel like the senior pastor should drive a car that looks like a college kids car. The last night in Korea I was in prayer and just happy about everything and Jesus said “Shawn, you know for the church to have radical fruit there is going to have to be radical sowing.” I said “Yeah Lord!” and I was thinking of the sacrifice that we had all been making thinking “This is amazing! We are succeeding!”and thinking He was trying to tell me that people were about to have breakthroughs and release money to the church.

Then I heard His voice again. “You know for Expressoin58 to enter into the purposes I have called it to, you are going to have to sacrifice greatly for it.”

Then I finally understood in my heart what He was asking. He always speaks a little in riddles doesn’t He? I knew He was asking me to sow in the money I had just received into the church. Now realize that I didn’t take an income from Expression58 so I have had nothing financially to gain or a way that I will re accumulate it from the church. As a matter of fact this money and this car were going to help put me back on track financially from all the extreme start ups over the years. So when I felt all the money, even the money for the car had to be sown, 10’s of thousands of dollars, I was both excited and hesitant. My faith that had been excersized in dozens of other big ways now had its first major climax in sowing on this level. I wanted that car. I wanted that money. That is not wrong of me at all. But I wanted God to have what He wants more.

So, I put it in..against my human judgement I released it. Part of me thought “The new car is coming!!!! God will honor me with even more!!!” but you know what? It wasn’t about that, a new car didn’t come and its been several years. I have had many words recently that one will come but it just wasn’t what it was about. I went almost 2 more years until today with that old Highlander that looks like its been around the world and back (and has been up to heaven and back) and didn’t have any other financial personal gift on that level since because when you are building your faith muscles the laws of giving and receiving aren’t about giving money receiving money. Its sowing in your resource of time, energy, finances, resources, and then receiving a quality of life back that is just incommunicable. I have had more peace and more security then I know is possible all because I live by a different economy that has a God who really really cares about me more then I do.

So what is the fruit of sacrifice? Changed lives, miracles, cancers and aids being healed, metal melting out of olympic athletes bodies who had had it placed in by surgery, a church in Hollywood, meeting with Presidents of nations, prophesying over celebrities, starting orphanages, pioneering campaigns in social justice, rescuing sex slave workers, and most of all, a level of faith for intimacy with God that is not just satisfying but is just plain awesome.

So, here I am living in LA as a missionary without a normal support mechanism coming in, being fed by faith, but you know what? Its worth it and a muscle in me has grown….if you could only see my 20″ arms in the Spirit! They get challenged sometimes by what isn’t yet, but I am doing just fine with my God. When I see that I don’t have a fixed income and that every month is a faith journey, this is both hard and exciting. I thought it would be different by now and that I would have a stable income and that things like cars would be easy to just buy, but my life doesn’t look that way yet, and He is still requiring a journey of faith but thank Him, its not exhausting because He is so present.

What about you? Of course your journey is different than mine, no two are the same, but are you paying a price so that you can see a greater measure?