Letter to My Fellow Sheep! (of His pasture)
Wow, let me start by saying a BIG Thank You for being so encouraging to me and my family over this past year on this new journey in our lives. Also, let me say Thank You for your patience with us as well. There has no doubt been some very high mountains and low valleys along this path. So thanks for sticking in there with us.
Today I want to be frank and honest (as if that is odd, LOL.) There is so much to tell, but hopefully I can say it without typing another book.
First, this journey is full of ups and downs, and for an emotional guy like me, it has been quite the roller coaster ride. I was honest in one of my early video devotionals that I live on the edge of hope and despair. One day I can see the exciting hand of God on the move, the next I wonder if He is even paying attention. I truly believe that is the true life of any man or woman who serves Him. That is why the Psalmist can switch tones in the middle of a song, first praising God, then wondering if God has forsaken him, then back to praise. Seems like a theme for David and the other Psalmist.
That has been my journey with Enjoy the Shepherd. I never asked, or expected to have a video go viral and open up a door for me to share the love of Jesus so broadly, but it did. I also did not figure on how that same viral video could caused such huge disruptions in my personal family life or finances. But, for a guy who is passionate, especially about Jesus, to have a glimpse of a potential full time ministry open up, I jumped in head long hoping God was planning the same thing I was.
That is where I made a mistake. I assumed because one video went viral, and then follow ups continued to reach many people, that I would continue with an open thriving ministry and somehow I expected that to suddenly become my full time gig and I presumed that the financial part of life would just take care of itself. I read George Muller and Hudson Taylor's stories of God providing and I just assumed we would not have any worries when it came to that area of life.
When the reality set in that maybe I had miscalculated God's purposes for ETS versus my dreams, I started to panic maybe a bit. Then I got angry, and I "let God have it!" I worked months on the devotional book, figuring maybe that was how He was going to turn things around. I hoped and prayed that somehow the book sales would help lift us up, only to realize it was not going to happen.
My heart has always to been to offer these devotionals for free, not charging for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But, secretly I was hoping, wishing, and even praying that somehow God would bring in enough money through the ministry that I could give it all my time. When this did not happen, I became frustrated and angry, and at times like Caesar, pouting about not getting what I wanted.
So, instead of seeking His face for direction, I pressed even harder, trying to fix it on my own. This was again another mistake on top of the rest. Just like a sheep who hopes he knows where the shepherd is going and runs ahead, I too tried to figure out His path, hoping it would lead to what I wanted. And, just like that sheep who ran ahead of me and got stuck in the muck and mire of the pond, I have found myself stuck.
However, like the flock of 1500 sheep who followed one another off the edge of the cliff, many falling to their death, some other sheep followed me and have suffered the same fate of getting stuck in the mud. Those sheep are my wife and kids. Because of my desire for ETS to maybe be more than what God intends for now, I have fallen prey to becoming like the man in 1 Timothy 5:8. For that I have had to ask for their forgiveness, and now I must ask you for the same.
Yes, I allowed my own desires at times along the way to try and surpass God's actual plan. Today, I praise His name that He has used me in spite of this flaw in my soul. I also am thankful that although He has allowed me to follow my path, he has never once forsaken me or left me, or allowed me to stay there. His grace and mercy is beyond my wildest imagination. I am also grateful He has kept me from falling prey to one of the greatest temptations of many who have made my same mistakes. He made me with a stubborn heart, which has at times served His greater purposes. But he also has created within me a new heart, one that is sensitive to His ways. Today is a day of rejoicing for today I see as the day He has brought me to the end of myself and has shown me more clearly what His plans are for now and has given me a heart to follow His ways instead of passionately pursuing my own desires for Enjoy The Shepherd.
So, to you who are reading, thank you for listening, thank you for encouraging, and thank you for praying. Thank you for being willing to follow Jesus as you Good Shepherd. I am so grateful for a family like you to call our own.
Starting today, there will be a few changes in how Enjoy The Shepherd is handled. Our primary focus will be on putting out the morning devotional videos. The Devotional Book will be available on Amazon and our WebSite. If and when opportunities arise, we look forward to traveling and sharing with others the good news of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. I pray my life becomes more engulfed in prayer and His Word as I seek to be like Jesus, and where I am not like him, that I will trust Him to transform me into His reflection before those who see me.
However, I am going to have to devote more of my time in the present building the business I have been blessed to be in for 23 years so that I am a man who provides for his family. If I share the Gospel but fail at providing for them, then I am according to the verse in 1 Timothy 5:8, worse than an unbeliever. That is not something I want to be. So please pray as we have prayerfully kicked off a new campaign in my Real Estate business here in Gallatin Tennessee. Pray that as I seek to serve Jesus, that my heart as a shepherd will also help me lead my clients as He would. And also, that I will be a good shepherd to my family, leading them closer to Jesus, and a good shepherd to those Father puts in my path here near my home.
Prayerfully, for most this change will be hardly noticeable, but I pray the impact here at home brings God much glory. Thanks again for your love, support, prayer, and encouragement. We look forward to God continuing to use Enjoy The Shepherd despite my efforts to make it more than He has intended for now. I cannot wait to see what All God does.
I pray today that you Enjoy Jesus, our Good Shepherd, and I look forward to seeing you all again soon!
(p.s. We do have a few upcoming events. This Saturday, 4/8/17 we will be setting up a book booth at a local ladies conference . We will also be in Ohio this coming Sunday to preach at Fairfield Church of Christ. And again on May 23rd, 2017 we will be setting up a book booth at another local event with Agape to the Nations.