Weekend of Firsts
This weekend was a weekend of firsts.
First time flying by myself.
First time meeting someone from Hawaii.
First time visiting Rocky Mountain National Park.
And first time planning and preaching a mini sermon within the span of a few hours.
It was awesome.
However, going into this weekend I was worried. “What if I don’t like it?” I asked my mom as I swiveled on the bar stool in our kitchen - (a popular place for my mom to offer her children her informal counseling services) “What if I don’t get along with the people?” I asked. My mom turned and looked at me with the “you gotta be kidding me” look. “Brady, it’s going to be fine,” she said. “I think you’re going to really enjoy it, and besides, I’ve been praying about it. I know this is where you’re supposed to be this summer.”
And she was right. She had been praying about my summer plans for months. Whenever I said I was worried about it, my mom would respond with the affirmation that she had been praying about the situation everyday.
When the day came for me to leave, I was, you guessed it, nervous. However, everything went smoothly. After the brief hour and half plane ride I was in Denver looking for the group that soon become like family to me just after a few short days. They greeted me outside the Burger King and introduced themselves to me. Everyone acted so kind and friendly towards me. It put a lot of my fears at ease!
Over the course of the weekend, I learned a lot about ACMNP and what was expected from us. I learned about the organization’s mission: “to embody and extend the ministry of Jesus Christ through worship, witness, and the development of Christian leaders.” I learned about the ACMNP’s value of stewardship - caring for the beautiful lands God has blessed us with. And I learned about the forthcoming challenges of this summer. Bullfrog, Utah, after all is a new location. While other teams have set worship times, service locations, and support committees, I learned that we would be starting from scratch. It will be up to my team to establish ACMNP and get the ball rolling in this tiny lake community.
And honestly, my initial response was “why me?” I became jealous of those going to Yellowstone - a location that apparently has a ministry support committee member that is known for her chocolate chip cookies. I wanted that. I wanted the path to be already paved. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of others that had already done a good job. However, that’s not what was handed to me.
Then I remembered words of Paul to the people of Philippi. In Philippians 1:12-14 Paul tells of his imprisonment.
Now I want you know brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.
It suddenly dawned on me. Paul didn’t complain about his situation. Instead of focusing on his own personal wellbeing, he was focusing on the Gospel. While he could have focused on the liabilities of his situation, Paul choose to focus on the opportunities.
Thinking about this passage made me aware of my own selfishness. I wanted things done my way. Of course I want to share the Gospel, but only if it’s convenient and easy for me. These were the lies I was buying into.
After spending time with the many incredible team members, staff, and personnel this weekend, I realized that each one of us has a unique task. We are to follow God’s call wherever it may lead us, and if it’s a difficult journey, we should rejoice in it. Rather than grumble about a difficult situation we encounter, we should be like Paul and look for ways that Christ can be glorified in the midst of our troubles. After all, it’s not about us, it’s about Him. And if nothing else, I hope to carry this truth with me as I go about this summer.