First time blogging in a long time…but I’m moved to talk about an upcoming book.
Full disclosure…I’m recommending a book I haven’t read yet. Yeah, I get that it’s a little weird. The book isn’t out yet…but I hope you’ll bear with me (It comes out on August 1, 2017…you can find more details at www.ifollowthecloud.com).
After we moved to a new town a few years ago, my wife and I made a list of several churches that we wanted to visit. I had one of them already picked out in my head that we would end up at and I made sure that we planned on visiting that church last so we could give an “honest chance” to the others. We visited another one of the churches first…and we never left. It’s been over four years. That first Sunday we visited, Pastor John Stickl taught from Luke 15 (The Parable of the Prodigal Son)…I still remember it vividly years later because I knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that Valley Creek Church was where God wanted me to be as He began a work that He is (still) doing in my heart and a journey that He is (still) taking me on.
Obviously, I can’t comment directly on the book yet. But my own journey in “following the cloud” has been and still is an amazing experience where God is daily showing me who He made me to be, and more importantly, revealing more of who He is. It’s an amazing thing to step into the work that God is doing…and that is what I wish for you. That’s why I’m recommending the book and why I want to share a little bit of about my journey.
Several years ago, God began to call me to “something.” But I didn’t know what. I resisted for months. But finally, thankfully, I took a step of faith and said yes to something, but I didn’t know what. I never would have expected at the time that saying yes would take me into places like refugee camps in Iraq and Buddhist temples in Hanoi, Vietnam.
In this whole journey, I am almost daily reminded of something that Pastor Stickl told me shortly after I said “yes” but before I really knew what God had in store for me. He told me, “Always remember that God is more interested in what He does IN you than what He does THROUGH you.”
That’s a hard thing. The world is performance based. We want numbers and quantifiable results. We can’t quantify what God’s doing in our hearts. We can’t put numbers on our faith level. And so I still struggle with maintaining my focus. Sometimes I get focused on what I’m doing, instead of Who I’m doing it with.
That’s why books like “Follow the Cloud” are so important to me (and the current book that I’m reading, “Real Love in an Angry World” by Rick Bezet). And that’s why partners in our work like my brother and the other board members at The Great Need are so necessary. And why I need the relationships with my small group and friends and family. I need the constant reminder that while we live in a results-oriented world, God wants my heart, not my results.
And I’m so very thankful for that. Because I’m inconsistent at best. But when I get to go to work with my Good Father, it’s always an amazing adventure. It’s an exhilarating, world-altering journey that I get to be a part of. Whether the current leg of that journey is at home being a husband and a father or it’s stepping into a refugee camp in the middle of Iraq, God is teaching me…molding me…and hopefully making me a love a little more like Jesus every day.
Over the past year or so, “Go. Love.” has become a very personal “mission statement” for our organization, but even more so in my life. It combines “The Great Commission” and “The Greatest Commandment.”
The Great Commission – Go and make disciples.
The Greatest Commandment – Love God and love people.
Go across the street or around the world, wherever God has me at the time. And bring the hope-giving, life-changing power of Christ’s love with me through real, authentic, sacrificial love.
That’s what my journey “following the cloud” has been and is currently. I hope that God is working in you in a powerful way. If He is, maybe “Follow the Cloud” can help impart a new revelation from God. If He’s not, maybe this book is the next step that you need to take. I hope you’ll check it out.