Milestones: #1 The Call

Recently, I have had the blessing of becoming a part of a small group of pastors, who are beginning to meet together monthly for mutual encouragement and accountability.  We began with a challenge to reflect, celebrate, and share 7 specific milestones in our life/ministry.  Pick up a stone, and on it place words or drawings that represent these milestones.  Each one is determined by a set of "moments".  The first...

An encounter with Christ that was life changing.

To be honest, every one of the seven will be a representation of life-changing encounters with Jesus.  But here's my specific milestone moment...


An encounter with Christ that was life changing was what I simply refer to as "The Call." 

In 1994, my wife & I were driving down I-30, just west of Little Rock, AR.  I was working retail full time in Shreveport, LA.  I had kicked around several career options, and attended college in three different "spurts."  I had worked a while as a DJ in a night club.  I was 4 years happily married.

As we drove along, Shelly asleep in the passenger seat, I heard a voice.  Now, I'm not one who hears, nor claims to hear, an audible voice of God on even a remotely regular basis, but this was one time that I did.

"Stephen.  What are you doing?"

Now, I immediately understood that I was hearing from God, but my answer was, "Well, I'm driving home." Pretty lame, right?

The rest of the brief conversation was more like thoughts in my head & heart, instead of an audible voice. 

"Haven't you done everything you wanted to do?  Haven't you tried all the career paths you wanted to try?"

"Yes."

"Are you happy?"

"No.  I mean I am happy, but I'm also... empty."

"Isn't it time you let me do what I want to do in your life?"

"Yes."  I didn't need to hear anymore; I knew what was happening.  In the church world, we call it, "being called into the ministry."

"Preach my Word and work with young people."

That was it.  The Call.  The Call to something different.  The Call to be different, to make a difference.  The Call to come and die. 

I woke up Shelly and told her about the conversation.  I was even more nervous than when I had asked her to marry me.  She didn't marry a pastor.  She married a wild-child.  But I swallowed hard and told her, "I'm pretty sure God is calling me to become a pastor."

Her response? "Oh yeah, I know."

REALLY??? 

We proceeded to pray and seek wise counsel.  Within 6 months, we were relocating to Oklahoma City, OK, where I would attend Mid-America Christian University, while still working retail full time. 

The years since have been full of ups & downs, college degrees, continuing education, kids, leadership roles in churches and larger organizations, and today... planting a new church, which is absolutely rocking my world!

The Call was, and is, absolutely life-changing.  And I'm so happy that answered!

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