Yesterday I celebrated 41 years of life. I know that 40 is a significant number in scripture being that it rained 40 days and 40 nights while Noah and his family were in the Ark.Moses was 40 years old when he left Egypt and 80 years old when he came back to lead his people out of slavery into the promised land. The Israelites spent 40 years roaming the desert on their way to the promised land. Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert before being tempted by Satan. Honestly for my 40th Birthday, I was not in a good place emotionally and spiritually. I was maintaining but not progressing or growing … or so I thought.
But even in those moments God was preparing me for where I am now and what I am called to do in this my 41st year of life.
During the 40th year, I was able to complete my Master of Ministry Leadership degree from Rockbridge Seminary and I was blessed to receive a promotion at my job from Austin LifeGuard Sex Education Program Director to Community Outreach Director for Austin LifeCare. I was able to renew my certification as a Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist with Ascend.
As a family we were blessed to celebrate 14 years of marriage, sell our first home and purchase a new home along with new cars for the next season of life. My wife completed her second masters degree, a Master of Education in Educational Policy and Leadership at The University of Texas at Arlington. My daughter grew as a 3 year old at Busy Bee Preschool and is enrolled in acting and dance classes going into the new year. My father and brother both married amazing women who love them and love us. All of this was happening as we mourned the lost of my wife’s mother Mother’s Day weekend and her stepfather the week following Thanksgiving. The Ecclesiastes 3 is so true, there is a time and season for everything.
In this next season, I believe God is positioning me to enter what Dr. Robert Coleman
professor of leadership at Fuller Seminary calls convergence. In his book, “The Making of a Leader” Dr. Coleman studied various biblical and contemporary spiritual leaders and discovered a pattern of leadership development:
- Sovereign Foundations – God’s foundation of relationship with you
- Inner-Life Growth – a season of character development designedto prepare you
- Ministry Maturing – learning to use ministry gifts
- Life Maturing – learning to grow as a person who can handle increased influence
- Convergence – experiences converge to serve in your ultimate life contribution
- Afterglow – the time following “retirement” when you pour your life into others
I am walking into the season where God is going to use everything I’ve experienced to make my ultimate contribution to the world. My ultimate contribution statement from my Lifelong Leadership Development class I completed in 2004 including 6 primary roles:
- Saint – being set a part for God’s purpose from a young age
- Public Rhetorician – using my speaking gifts to inform, instruct and inspire others
- Founder – beginning ministries and businesses that make a difference in the world
- Mentor – helping others to reach their full potential
- Writer – preserving the principles of my life in works that live on beyond me
- Family – building a family legacy as one who honors his family as his first ministry
As I move into my 42 year these are the things God has called me to do:
- Continue to honor my wife and daughter while prayerfully growing our family
- Grow as a non profit leader as the Community Outreach Director at Austin LifeCare
- Establish the History in the Making Community Development Center with Full Life
- Grow as a founder and pastor, planting two additional churches out of Full Life
- Write 3 books that impact the lives of people around the country
- Release my first solo album of music that express my heart through music
- Invest in my community through volunteering in the Manor and Pflugerville ISD
- Build two businesses that build a financial legacy of our family
- Invest in college students through scholarships and mentoring
- Prepare myself for my future by beginning my Doctorate of Transformational Leadership at Bakke Graduate University.
For many this would be an overwhelming list of tasks but for me this is me living out my purpose. As I read the parable of the talents or as the 2011 NIV calls it, the parable of the bags of gold (Matthew 25:14-30), I see God calling me to use the many gifts he’s given me to do the good works he prepared in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10). He created me in Christ Jesus through salvation with spiritual gifts, he created me through my parents with natural gifts and through education with acquired skills to spend the next 25 years or so completing the seven ultimate contributions he gave me. This year is where is all comes together. I expect God to complete what he began in me years ago (Philippians 1:6) and to do exceedingly abundantly above all I can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
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Please keep me and our family in your prayers as we seek to honor God with this season.