Love and Lordship – God and Me…Part 2

God has been faithful, as always…of course that’s what faithfulness is…ALWAYS, to teach, prune and bless me over the years.  It’s not always been easy and the decisions and follow through at times were very difficult.  I’ve learned that as I choose to seek and follow His Word and Spirit that no matter the struggle or outcome, I can count on Him!

One of those lessons that I heard early on and continue to learn to this day is what John the Baptist stated in John 3:30 explaining he was not The Messiah, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  At one point when I was studying this text The Holy Spirit taught me a great lesson.  It was not an audible voice but simply a very strong thought at just the right time and in line with this Scripture and the principles throughout God’s Word. 

The thought was, “In order for Me to increase in your life, you must choose to decrease.  I will never force or demand either.  The choice is yours.”  That was powerful and has been proven over and over again in my life, marriage, family and ministry.  I wish I could say that it had always been my choice to decrease so He could increase in and through me.  It wasn’t but as I said He’s always been faithful.

I had a mentor tell me that God has given me a story and by His grace I’ve won, as my mentor said, at marriage and family and that is why God has called me to speak to it.  You will hear numerous stories and anecdotes throughout this series about our marriage and family as well as others that I’ve had the privilege to encourage, challenge and point to His Love and Lordship.  Christ has saved us and given us His Holy Spirit so that we could be His witnesses to others (Acts 1:8).

As my mentor encouraged me to do, this story was a pivotal moment where I died to myself for the sake of my wife, marriage, and family, ultimately to honor Christ.  That is what each of us must do in discipleship and in our marriages and families.  Not necessarily the same decision that I made but He must take priority and in order to do that, by His grace we must choose to decrease.   That’s how we become His witness…a testimony to His life in and through us!

“Fame” or Family

During the early years of our marriage I was a high school athletic director and basketball coach.  As I ended my time at one school and went to my second school as a head coach, I stepped into a team that was picked dead last, 17th out of 17 teams, in their region and predicted to go 3-25 that first year.  We won 12 games that first year and ended up sixth.  We won 16 in the second year, finishing third in our region.  We were slated to be first in the region the next year with eight of our top nine players returning and hopes high for a state tournament berth. 

As we neared the end of that second season and school year Ami found out she was pregnant with our third child that would be our precious Princess, Haidyn.

I knew that moving away from family and friends for this coaching job had been difficult for Ami as she knew no one and was raising two toddler boys.  They were very good, but they were both “all boys.”  She had been a great support for me.

I approached her one weekend and asked what she thought we needed to do.  We prayed and on that Sunday evening she said she thought it would be best for us move back where there was more family and friend support.

I went to my principal the next morning and resigned, knowing we had a potential regional, and possible state championship, contender.  Actually that team lost by five points in the regional finals to the eventual state champions!

Little did we know what God had in store?  We moved back to Lexington and I ended up taking a long-term substitute position that paid about one-half of my previous salary with no benefits.

God is Faithful

On October 1 of that year, Ami checked into the hospital with the largest DVT (major blood clot) that two top hematologists had ever seen.  She was in the hospital for 23 days and went through two surgeries, the last being a C-section delivery of Haidyn on October 18. 

There were seven specialists and seven other nurses and assistants in the delivery room! Two healthcare executives that have gone through the Love and Lordship series stated that the bill would have been between $500,000 – $1,000,000. We never got a single bill for the hospital stay and related procedures and surgeries.

There was a song by Avalon entitled, “Can’t Live a Day Without You” that was #1 on the Contemporary Christian charts in October 1999.  I would hear it several times a day.  I wanted Ami to hear it as it had a double meaning for me and was right in line with what I’d been praying:  I couldn’t live without Christ, but I also prayed and put it in His hands that I needed my wife, and my two sons and our new baby needed their Mother.  Yet I knew He knew best. 

A couple days after the delivery her ob-gyn came in and shared that he was so relieved that both of them were doing well as it was hit or miss throughout her time in the hospital.  God is good and I have learned that He’s always good even when things don’t turn out the way I desire.

On the day Ami was discharged from the hospital, I strapped Haidyn into position in the vehicle and helped Ami into the passenger seat.  I got into the car, turned the key and flipped on the radio.  Guess which song was playing?  “Can’t Live a Day Without You.” We sat and cried, praising Him for His goodness. I thanked Him for being with us and allowing me to have my wife and daughter with me.

God’s Covenant Design – Living According to His Priorities

Would I have liked to stay and coach a potential regional and state champion?  Absolutely!  But the decision was easy; my marriage, wife and family came before anything but God. He was and always has brought us through it all!

And through it all, God has been calling me to disciple others in His Love and Lordship. He has encouraged and equipped me to teach others to seek Christ as Lord and walk as His disciples, building up Godly men and marriages, and faithful husbands, fathers and families.

Through the years of learning and growing, God has shaped and pruned me, and this message for His Kingdom purpose, and He continues to confirm the calling.

As we continue through this series you’ll learn how Ami and I started a young couples’ class with another couple that grew from four to over 100 in just six months.

You’ll read or hear about two conversations, 19 years apart, with two pastors from two different continents that clarified the formation and continuing of this message and ministry.

There are stories of men, women, marriages, and families whose lives have been radically changed by the Love and Lordship of Christ.

My hope and prayer is that your knowledge of the Bible and your personal relationship with Jesus will grow exponentially as you continue with us through the Love and Lordship series and message.  I know that if you do it will make a tremendous positive difference in your marriage, family and legacy, and in His Church and this culture through you. 

Make it a great day and God bless in Christ!

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – What does it mean to you to decrease so Jesus can increase in your life (John 3:30)?  How might that impact your marriage, family and relationships?  How can these choices be a witness for Christ (Acts 1:8)?

Love and Lordship…Action Item – Choose one thing each day (at least one thing) that will decrease your own importance and elevate Christ.  This may often be done by placing others above self in the decisions you make and actions you take.