I sat down at my computer and I was going to write a year in review for 2012 but the words just wouldn’t come, I couldn’t think about 2012 without writing about where I am now and what God has been saying for 2013.
Right now I am sitting in a Starbucks, looking out at the snow, in New Hampshire. I work almost full time as an intern at the Northeast Foursquare District Office doing my dream job and I am also a youth pastor at a small church in Manchester.
A year ago I was in Starbucks in Sunny California having the conversation that would end my hopes of the relationship that I was in.
I am full of hope, excited and joy.
I felt lost, broken and almost hopeless.
It is amazing to think how much is packed into a year. The things that can happen in your life that you never expected and that really you did nothing to receive. My job at the district, my position at my church, my relationship with my teens.
When I first arrived in New Hampshire I knew that I felt at home but I wasn’t sure what that meant. To be perfectly honest I still don’t know. I don’t have a time frame for my time here, I don’t know if it is for a year, two years or my whole life. For the first couple of months as I feel in love with the Northeast I felt unsettled. I felt as though my future was up in the air and I didn’t know what would happen.
I know that I wasn’t the only person who was wondering what was going to happen. After about 3 months of living in New Hampshire I declared my church and I became a pastor at the church. I gave them a year and then we moved forward into incorporating me into the life of the church. Then I became the youth pastor. One day one of the other pastors said something to me that challenged me. He told me that he wanted me to be careful of what I said to the students because we didn’t know how long I was going to be here and we didn’t want the teens to become too attached if I was going to leave. It was then that the Lord reminded me that just because I am currently here as an intern it doesn’t mean that everything depends upon that.
The Lord has placed me as the youth pastor at New Life Community Church and I am committed to the church and to the teens. And I will only leave when He tells me it is time. I need not worry about the ways in which He will provide for me because as long as I am obeying Him, He will give me what I need either through my current job or another one. I should not box myself into depending on any position to tell me what the Lord is speaking to me.
He then brought me to Matthew 11:12 –
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent takes it by force.”
The Lord has given me this time and this place and these people. He has given me the position as the youth pastor at New Life Community Church for such a time as this. It is my job to take by force His Kingdom upon this place. It is kind of a strange scripture to have the Lord give you, right?! Violence is bad right? Why would the Lord be telling me to be violent and whatever could He mean?
Well if you look up other translations of Matthew 11:12 it say that the Kingdom advances forcefully and the violent take it by force. The enemy of the Kingdom has come to steal, kill and destroy… he is not above using anything and everything in his power to take us out. In the same way the Kingdom is not lying down and allowing this to happen without fighting for the advancement of the Kingdom and those who desire the Kingdom are taking it by force.
I have been given teens, I have been giving other members of the church and I am called to not allow the enemy to take them away from me but instead I am called to forcefully take possession of the Kingdom in my own life and to aggresively go after God’s Kingdom in their lives.
I will not stand on the sidelines and allow for circumstances to dictate my life.
I will stand and proclaim the Lord’s will over my life.
I will go after the teens within my influence that they would be dramatically changed and encounter the Kingdom.
I will preach the good news of the Kingdom and not allow for the World and the enemy to take back any ground.
I must forcefully protect those within my protection.
I must forcefully protect against wolves in sheep clothing.
I must forcefully protect my own integrity.
I must forcefully protect God’s future for me.
So you see… In a year the Lord has taken me from asking me to wait and to trust to instead ask me to take possession, to stand and to fight. The Lord is still in control of my life but He has given me the command to stand up, go after and forcefully possess the Kingdom in my life and for the lives of those He has given to me.