Monday, July 4, 2016

God said, "HGTV?"

God said, "HGTV?"

In early 2013 I was sitting in a meeting with other pastors watch a leadership video. The video had nothing to do with family or children, but in the middle of it, God spoke to me. “Leave the church or you will lose your daughter and go home tonight and register to win the HGTV Smart Home.” 

This hit me out of the blue. I knew when God said to leave the church he meant for me to resign the church I was pastoring.  The church was dead, the last of the people there did not want to grow and the only youth was my youngest daughter who was 11. I wasn’t worried about the money, I wasn’t being paid and the budgets were being paid out of my chaplain’s salary. I did not have another church lined up so it would mean that I would be a pastor without a church. I was hoping to go somewhere but to just quit without somewhere to go sounded crazy. It would look bad on my resume.

I also realize when God said I would lose our daughter, he meant that we would lose her to the world. She would lose her faith. This I could see easily. There were no spiritual people in the church that weren’t family and no one else to see as an example of being a Christian. Church would be in her mind her parents and a few old folks. 

The strangest of all was being told to go home and register to win the HGTV Smart Home. There was no way this could be God, at least that is what I thought.  My daughter Elizabeth had seen it a few night before and asked if we could register to win. I told her, No it was a waste of time, we were not going to move there, and besides we weren’t going to win. 

Through the day, the words keep coming back to my mind and by the end of the day, I decided to try a test. There wasn’t anything scripturally wrong with getting on the internet and registering to win the Smart Home, so I would do it. 

I went home after work that night and announced to Elizabeth that we were going to get online and register to win. What happened was amazing. She lit up like a Christmas tree. We sat down and began the process, but of course, she had to show me the features of the house. I told her that if we win we couldn’t live there because there was not a church for me to pastor there. As we talked we came to the conclusion that we could turn it into a retreat for pastors and their families. We spent hours talking about what we could do and how we need to use all the things in our lives for God’s kingdom. It was a great time. When we were done my daughter gave me several hugs, and I reminded her that we probably wouldn’t win, but if we did it would be in God’s hands. By the way, we did not win the house, but we did get something more not from HGTV but from God and each other.

What I thought would be nothing more than a waste of time turned into a great teachable moment. I knew what that meant, I needed to resign the church. However, I was still afraid. I was going to call the DS and tell the church I resign because I registered to win the HGTV Smart Home? This really would be hard to explain, but God wasn’t done. For the next month, every time I turned Christian radio on I heard a teacher say that those in ministry do not want to sacrifice their children on the altar of ministry. I finally said, “God I got the point, I called the DS two weeks ago enough already.” I don’t think I heard another message on the same subject for a year after that. 

Looking back now after several years, I know it was God. Things did not go smoothly and there were hardships because of what I did, but in the long run, it was good. I needed the time away from the church as I finished my MA degree, my daughter’s faith is becoming her own, and I now pastor full time in the place God wants me. All of this because God spoke and used a very unusual request to confirm it.

Now, what has this to do with you? Listen for God and do what he says. If you're not sure, if it doesn’t contradict scripture, try it and see what happens. You will be surprised what God will do for those who listen and obey. 

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