Lori and I arrived at the Minneapolis airport exhausted. We had just completed a marathon weekend of ministry with our good friends, Pastor Dennis and Dana Calhoun.
We flew in Friday. I went straight to a men’s retreat and spoke four times over the course of twenty four hours, while Lori spent time with Dana and some of the women who needed ministry in the church. We met up again on Sunday morning and I shared my message, “The Seven Dirty Little Secrets of Resurrection” with the church.
After lots of prayers and conversations post-service, we had lunch with Pastor Dennis and Dana and about 15 of their key leaders, and then were spirited to the airport.
Standing at the check-in counter, the American Airlines agent informed us our plane was delayed and they could not get us home. We would have to spend the night in Dallas. And the first flight out the next day was not until 2:30pm.
Deep exhale. Stay calm. It’s not her fault. She’s just the messenger. And God bless her for putting up with exasperated passengers like me 365 days a year. It is then that the thought occurs to me…
God, Why do I keep doing this?
I’ve been traveling and speaking at churches and conferences for more than 30 years. I have three million miles on my American Airlines loyalty account. That's equivalent to 125 trips around the world. American made me a Lifetime Platinum Member. (all that means is I am first in line at boarding — nothing else — haha) Needless to say, the new has worn off and any allure of being a keynote speaker anywhere is gone.
I’ve been to all the big churches.
Invited into the green rooms.
Met the “who’s who” of Christendom.
SO - WHY - DO - I - KEEP - DOING - THIS?
What used to be an ego rush, is simply calling to serve today.
I used to love speaking. Today, I love people.
Each weekend we travel, whether it's to Los Angeles or Bald Knob, West Virginia, (yes, Bald Knob is a real town and respect to the founders who came up with that name) all I really care about anymore is three things…
One — how is the Pastor and his (or her) family doing?
We are primarily there for them. To love them well and allow the Spirit to breathe new wind into their sails. 15,000 pastors in America leave the ministry every — single — month — for a reason. They feel unappreciated and forgotten.
When we step off that plane, we wrap our arms around the Pastors of that church and let them know, in every way possible, “We celebrate you. Your endless work and dedication is not unseen and will not be unrewarded!”
Two — We are there to be vulnerable and honest about issues that must be talked about in the church.
Pornography in the church is epidemic. Affairs are rampant. Addiction is silently... secretly... out of control.
We cannot go on acting like the church is a holier version Disney World. Paul told young Timothy that being a follower of Jesus is more like being a good soldier and going to battle together, than wearing a Mickey Mouse mask and pretending everything is ok. (2 Timothy 2:3)
Lori and I never attempt to hide our struggles and past failures.
Because grace is only amazing, when we realize how awful our sin was... or is.
Transparency and truth set captives free.
Three — We are there to sniff out death.
In all the lives of those who are secreting their brokenness.
Every time we speak.
Every lobby moment we engage in.
Every table conversation we have.
We are asking Jesus to breath resurrection into those who are living silently without hope.
God has called us all to be resurrectionists. When Paul told the Roman believers that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, dwells in our mortal human-ness — know this — the Spirit is not there to just take up space.
We are meant to bring spiritual life-support to those who are suffocating in sin and shame. The last-leggers. Those who may have just one final breath in their soul, whose only hope is a resurrection encounter with the real Jesus.
I could tell you story after story. Marriages pieced back together. Men walking away from decades of lust and porn. Hearts being set free from the brooding thoughts of suicide.
So today I humbly appeal to you for prayer as Lori and I continue this good work.
Though we don’t want to be away from home (and our local church) every weekend, when we do go, we earnestly want to make it count… to arrive at the departure counter — exhausted — spent —- but with a deep sense of Jesus-satisfaction. We made a difference.
Oh…. and our Minneapolis trip last weekend… suddenly the kind agent at the counter looked up at me and blurted this little miracle out, “You know what, how ‘bout I send you over to Delta and get you a straight shot home to Tulsa right now?”
I looked over at Lori and we both just smiled. It doesn’t always work out this well. But when it does, all you can do is smile. And whisper thanks to Jesus.
So many of you respond to our blogs, pray for us, give financially to our work…. and we never really have the opportunity to thank you in person. I really do hope we will have that chance one day soon. That at some future moment, our travels will take us to your church or area, and we can hug your neck and say thanks!