The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. - Proverbs 16:9
I read this verse 8 years ago as I stood before you as a congregation at EK Baker gym and shared my heart. I shared that day that God had made it clear to myself, as well as Belinda, that God had called me into ministry, and specifically youth ministry at Clearwater Baptist Church. What an incredible 8 years it has been!
I have been blessed as well as amazed time and time again by our students. I have had the privilege of seeing a group of students who love God with an unrestrained love and earnestly loving others from the center of God’s heart. We have seen students saved as a result of realizing that salvation is not praying a prayer, but surrendering their life to Jesus Christ. I have had the amazing privilege of having students return to the student ministry later to serve and pour into this generation. We have seen students not leave the church by abandoning their faith because of their growing love for Jesus and the reality that you can’t abandon something that you never had to begin with. We have used the name Opposite Way Ministries because we believe God has called us as Christians to live differently than how the world leads us to believe, pointing the world to Jesus. We have done ministry differently which has allowed us to see fruit as we operated under Galatians 1:10 – “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
Over the past 2-3 years Belinda and I have been seeking God’s direction in our lives and He has been at work in our hearts. As a family we have spent much time focused on one my favorite Scripture passages in Exodus 14 where Moses parts the Red Sea and the Israelites cross over on dry land. The moment before the waters are parted is a time where the Israelites had to wait and depend on God’s deliverance, and allow God to refine them. Then when the right moment occurred, God instructed the Israelites to move forward into the water and Moses stretched out his hand and parted the sea. A very similar moment occurs in Joshua 3. What I see in both passages is that God did not part the waters until they stepped in. After much prayer, discussion, and tears, we now know that God is calling Belinda and myself to step in the water. God has spoken clearly to us that our time at Clearwater Baptist Church is complete and it is time for the next chapter. My last day at Clearwater will be Sunday April 24. We are going to have an amazing time that weekend at our Disciple Now. I look forward to seeing what God is going to do in our students.
We have no immediate plans, but are stepping out in faith and trust our Lord Jesus Christ who holds our future in His hands. We are so thankful that God brought us to Clearwater 15 years ago, and allowed me to serve on staff for the last 8 years. We love Clearwater dearly and consider you family. You hold a special place in our hearts and we will continue to love and pray for you in the future. We pray that you have bright days ahead. If you would like to hear more of my heart and what God has spoken to us, then my sermon to the students will be on the church website in the next few days. Thank you for what you mean to me. I love you greatly Clearwater.
April 3, 2016