"The devil does not know what to do with a man who just won't give up."One day I just woke up and decided to be "missional and incarnational." No...it didn't work that way! A decade of failure after failure after failure followed, and a heart and mind that had been broken of everything I had learned and had known. Sifted like wheat? Yeah...been there/done that! Went through a period of darkness, where I actually resented God. I started thinking that this whole church planting thing was just not for me and that I had somehow deceived myself into ...thinking otherwise. Well, we did manage to maintain a healthy youth ministry out of all of this...so that's what we focused on for a few years. There were so many times that I wanted to just go back to Schenectady...even had an offer to get my old job back at the rescue mission. But something just did not feel right. The Holy Spirit still tugging at me...that still small voice saying, "I'm not done with you yet." I remember shaking my fist at God. "How much more am I supposed to take?" And He began to reveal to me how wrong and self-centered I had been. It was never my job to build a church. It was not my responsibility to add to our numbers daily. What I thought had been failure was merely misguided direction.
My wife and I fought constantly. Our sons started hanging around with the inner-city kids we were reaching out to, and adopting some of their behaviors. Our finances and savings were just about dried up. God brought us to a point where we had absolutely nothing to rely on. But then he started to show us what faith and obedience really is and where it comes from. It's that inner tenacity...that drive...that fire inside that just won't go out.
I remember what an older, wiser pastor once told me, "The devil does not know what to do with a man who just won't give up." I almost did many times...but by the grace of God, I haven't yet!