Have you ever had an “Esther moment”? A moment in time where you pause in the midst of everything and hear God gently whisper “for such a time as this…” In that moment he lets you in on a glimpse of his master plan; he gives you a role to play in the greatest story ever told. It’s both humbling and exciting.
Well, I’m having one of those moments. It’s not the first, and I pray it won’t be the last. I am sitting in my hotel room reviewing my notes and Powerpoint for my workshop presentation tomorrow morning at the North American Christian Convention (www.gotonacc.org). I’ll be presenting out of the box ideas for Inclusion ministry. As you may or may not know inclusion of people with disabilities into the Kingdom of God is what has wrecked my heart, in all the troubling, good, and right ways for most of my life.
It’s the thing that gets me fired up, wakes me in the middle of the night, keeps me dreaming and challenges me to pray for bigger, bolder vision each day.
It’s been a terrific conference already and I’ve only been here a day. They had an incredible time of worship tonight. As the crowd sang out their praises I found myself staring at an empty chair.
I’m often distracted by who isn’t there. By who I don’t see at church on Sundays, or singing in the seat next to me. I find myself looking for people with disabilities, wanting to see them engaged in the body of Christ.
As pastors we must never forget that someone is missing. That for every face we see in the pews on Sunday, there are countless others who still don’t know that there is a loving God who is in reckless pursuit of them. For many people affected by disability, their search party hasn’t arrived yet. And they don’t even know we’re coming.
It’s been 15 years since the topic of disability has been covered at the NACC. There are apparently hundreds of people who have been praying for me and for this workshop tomorrow; asking God to open doors for more churches to answer the call to reach the least of these; to fill the empty chairs with our friends affected by disability. It’s a lot of pressure, but mainly a great honor to have people put their trust in you to use your voice to ignite a movement.
I’m sure most people wouldn’t think too much about it. It’s just a workshop. But I know God is trusting me to steward this hour and a half, and I’m believing if I’m a good steward of that time, he will entrust me with more. More opportunities to cast vision to other pastors and leaders who are passionate about reaching the lost. More time off the bench and in the game. And that’s right where I want to be.
It’s an awesome thing to watch God redeem the broken parts of my story and use it to advance his kingdom. I continue to be humbled and amazed and I wait and pray with great expectations for where he will lead me next.
But for now – he has me in Orlando at the North American …..for such a time as this.
So let’s fling some seed and start some fires.
Here’s to changing the world…..together.