Monday, May 14, 2012

All I Went For Was a Salad...

One night in May of 1999, I stood in the vestibule of the little country church that I had called home for all of my young adult life, and with knees knocking, told my pastor that I felt I was being called into the ministry.  At 28 years old, I was about to make a life change.  Ed, my pastor, told me that if I said "yes" to the call I was feeling, doors would be opened and others would be closed.  He told me, "Jamie, if a door opens up, walk through it.  If it's closed, leave it alone."  Thirteen years later, I'm finally beginning to see the wisdom in that...and...I'm finally beginning to notice when those doors are opened...and when they're not.

Today, I had been working in the office all morning.  I'm taking my leadership team on a retreat this weekend to focus on visioning for the next 5 to 10 years, attempting to discern the Spirit's leading for Grace Church, so I had spent all morning putting together the pre-retreat packet for the team.  Lunch time rolled around and I kept working.  After 30 minutes or so I decided that a salad would be awful nice (Doc told me to drop a few pounds) so I jumped in the truck and headed to one of the restaurants here in town.  I took my paperwork with me, sat down with my soup and salad, and went to work (on all three).  After I finished eating, I saw one of my preacher buddies from across town and we started talking about how things were going in our respective churches.  Conversation moved to the Celebrate Recovery group that meets at the church I'm serving (with a lot of help from our friends in other churches.  It would not be possible without them, honestly) and when the man sitting with my buddy heard "Celebrate Recovery" his whole face changed. 

He looked so familiar but I just couldn't make the connection, so I introduced myself to him.  He told me that his name was Mike...that he lived down the road, and...oh...he was the county jailer.  (Now I know where I have seen him before).  He went on to tell me that he had been wanting to get a Celebrate Recovery program going in the jail for months, and you could see the excitement building within him.

What happened next is a blur.  Mike scooted over, told me to sit down with them, and we began to talk.  Two hours later, after a trip back to my office to tie up some loose ends, I'm sitting in his office at the county jail and we're planning the launch of a Celebrate Recovery program in house. 

I just went for a salad.

"Jamie, if a door opens up, walk through it."

Confession time: When I woke up this morning, if I had been made to list 1000 things that I thought I might possibly be involved in before I went to bed tonight, starting a Celebrate Recovery program at the county jail would not have even made the top 1000.  Honestly, I'm scared to death.  Oh, I'm not scared of being involved in jail ministry.  I think that is a wonderful mission field.  Maybe scared isn't even the right word...awed, would be better.  I am awed at how God opens doors when there is kingdom work to be done, and I am awed at how things begin to fall into place when we step through those doors...into God's will...and surrender ourselves, literally, to only God knows what.

I don't even know why I blogged about this, other than to encourage someone else, anybody, to step through whatever door God may open before them.  It never ceases to amaze me to see what God can do when I get out of the way. 

"Here am I, Lord.  Send me."


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