Life as a Christ-follower will always have its ups and its downs – times where you feel like you’re in the “sweet spot”, and times of confusion or even bewilderment. But, as you remain faithful to God’s plan, it becomes clear to see that all these seasons are actually opportunities for God to mold and shape you for His purposes.
For instance, in my early years of ministry, it all seemed to come easy. The congregation grew and grew. People were happy and fervently seeking God. But as more and more people gathered, so did more and more opinions and priorities; and conflict reared its ugly head from time to time.
So, I’ve learned to continually pray that God would keep my heart soft and that I would be willing to allow him to mold me into the man He wants me to be, walking and working with people with patience and wisdom.
All this to say that today, instead of pastoring a church like I had done for so long, God has my wife and I working with Cadence International. It’s a ministry to the military.
A few years ago, I had been asked to speak to Cadence’s high school ministry (comprised of soldiers’ teenage kids) in Europe. It was an incredible experience. We got to travel to several of our American bases throughout Germany and minister to military families as well as see some amazing parts of the world that we hadn’t seen before. All this was in preparation for an Easter-week camp with high school students on the isle of Ibeza, off of the Spanish coast. It was amazing to see, not how God could use Jan and I to minister to these 500 high schoolers, but how He would use these students to bless us.
We pretty much knew right away that Cadence International is where God was calling us to serve.
So, today, we are located at Fort Carson near Colorado Springs, doing a different type of ministry than we’ve ever been involved with before. The soldiers we meet are under extreme pressures – you can imagine being a young adult in your early 20’s, being told what to do and needing permission to do practically everything every day. So, we offer from our Hospitality House an opportunity for them to relax, eat, play and study God’s Word. We have couples studies on Tuesday nights, family pot luck dinners on Friday nights, as well as singles studies and activities throughout the month.So, keep these soldiers and their families in prayer. These are times like no other in regards to our military families with the global picture constantly changing and different opinions and philosophies swirling around these young people who have committed themselves to serve their country.
We hear stories on a regular basis dealing from the “simple struggles” of parenting and married life, to dealing with losing friends and roommates that were shot to death at a bus stop in Afghanistan.
Additionally, many of them feel like chess pieces being moved from here to there as part of the higher-ups overall strategy. Therefore, the soldiers and their families are hesitant to develop relationships or grow roots anywhere since they know they will likely be shuffled off within a couple years.
Needless to say, this is a great stage in Jan’s and my lives to minister in new and unique ways to both people who are completely unchurched and are seeking a new way to approach life and eternity as well as Believers within our military who want to grow and serve God as they serve our country.
You can find out more about what we’re doing at cadence.org.
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