398786165_a57d85ea3b_m.jpgAs promised, this post summarizes the seasons and events that led to our step of faith, into what we now know as inLight Consulting.  It is our, and our kids, “outside the camp” experience.  As you might imagine, supporting such a crazy notion would be a challenge to any family.  I am blessed to say that mine is walking together in the LORD’s faith.

My desire in this exercise is the glory of God and any edification and encouragement you may receive.  This could get lengthy with the faith lessons included, so I will try to be brief here and discuss those individually as a series.  Let’s begin with a quick look at change management.  Yes, it’s worth reading further; just look at the title:

 

 

Getting the Frog Out of the Pot

As an IT innovator for 25 years, I learned a lot about the art of organizational change.  There are many theories and approaches, learnings and leanings, successes and failures, books and seminars.  When you boil it all down, it is about three simple things:  Getting someone to take a journey from their current reality to a future state. 

The keys to a successful transition generally start with a current reality so painful that people will go just about anywhere to get away.  Couple that with a future state that looks so promising they would leave anywhere to go there, and you have a great formula for change.  However, if the journey is not well defined and reasonable to the target audience, people will boil like frogs in a pot with an open window in sight, before they will take the first step (uh, leap).  This is why leaders with vision and courage are in such demand in the corporate world.

Interestingly enough, this basic perspective also applies to our spiritual maturity (with one important exception I will explain later).  Check out 2 Corinthians 3:18:

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

For those willing to trust and obey Him, the LORD is intentional about moving us out of our comfort zones into new areas of faith.  Some times these changes are sudden and out of our control.  Most of the time they are lengthy processes that we only recognize once we have gotten some distance down the path.  This has been the case in my journey to full-time ministry.  Here are the steps as I’ve been able to understand them.

Invitation to Dance

For the first time in my life, the LORD started the change process by enticing me with the path – the journey He wanted me to take with Him.  Not the particular steps (that would come later), but the way He would lead me.  Through a song, a verse and a book, He called me out to dance with Him.  Amazingly, this all began in June, 2004.  Looking back, it seems like no more than a brief moment.

Getting Free from the World

Most of you know that I was included in a reduction in force at SunTrust at the end of 2005.  Looking back, it is obvious how the LORD was preparing Beth and me for that eventual “launch” into a new phase of our lives together.  It was not an easy decision – certainly not one I would have made on my own.  Like my Dad, I valued the security of a career at one company; and SunTrust offered a lot of incentives to those that stayed with them for the long haul.  I had enjoyed my career at SunTrust; that is, until He started shaking things up – making the current reality quite uncomfortable.  In His grace and mercy, He created and allowed a series of circumstances that broke the bonds, and provided a provision for the days ahead.  In the end, the change was an expected relief.

The Call to Something (Much) More

In one of those coincidences that don’t exist for God’s children, the LORD set me free from SunTrust at the same time our Pastor was hospitalized and home-bound for three months.  It was a blessing to carry the leadership torch at New River Community Church .  I was also allowed the time to lead a mission trip to Desire Street Ministries, in New Orleans.  It was during this “sabbatical” from the “real world” that the LORD began to impress me with His desire to do something powerful with His Church in America.  His eyes are searching far and wide for a people that will do anything to see His glory fall. 

A View into the Future, Dying to the Past 

From April to July, I contracted with Chick-fil-A, in their Corporate Marketing area.  My hope was to leverage this into a position in their IT management group, but despite my concerted efforts, this was not an option for the LORD.  I didn’t know it at the time, but He had a purpose for me beyond IT.  I still had some dying to do.  Leaving SunTrust was one thing, but giving up 25 years of experience in IT was something all together different. 

Thankfully, this was more than just a dying time.  It was also a view into the future, a great time of refreshing and an introduction to the Christian business culture.  Chick-fil-A has a model for partnering with ministry organizations, both nationally and locally, that we hope to share with other transformation minded companies.  During this time, the LORD continued to encourage me to surrender my dreams and aspirations to see Him do a mighty thing.

Surrendering to His Purpose

In July and August, the LORD clarified His call on our lives – full-time service to Christian ministry and business leaders.  In short, the LORD has called me to glorify Him by supporting the transformation and growth of Christian Ministries and Businesses through the spiritual and practical application of Kingdom principles.  This is to be accomplished by training and encouraging leaders to surrender to the LORD’s purpose, sacrifice for His plan, and humbly submit to His power.  This will free them from the striving that creates frustration and discouragement, into joyful, exciting Spirit-filled ministry. 

The LORD is no respecter of person; meaning, I was required to go through the same “surrender, sacrifice and submit” process that He expects of all leaders.  Once I surrendered, He began sharing the details of His purpose and plan for me, my family and this ministry.  He has also personally (i.e., in my face) challenged me to trust and obey Him.  The most incredible thing about this season of the journey was the peace that came over me.  I cannot see the bottom of the well of peace He has offered.  It has increased my faith, making it easier to “trust and obey” Him for even greater things.

Sacrificing for His Plan

Here we find the most significant difference in the LORD’s approach to change:  He doesn’t give us the whole plan.  What would be the faith in that?  This makes the challenge of sacrifice all the more difficult.  I don’t know anyone that easily commits to sacrifice that can not be measured, and agreed to, up front.

The sacrifice for His plan comes in many different forms – including stepping away from something that appears to be a long-term, substantial gift.  In the end, it is about obedience regardless of appearances and persuasions.  For inLight Consulting, the test came early, in the first three months of actually walking in His plan. 

After much prayer and consultation with those I trust, I began working with Proactive Evangelism Ministries (PEM), as a Ministry Growth Consultant, on September 18th.  The LORD was so gracious and loving to open this door for His calling on my family’s lives!  This seemed like a great opportunity to save the time, effort and money that would have been spent starting a ministry organization. 

Once again, my perspective did not exactly match the LORD’s.  In January, we agreed to the parting of ways with PEM.  This was done amicably and with Rev. Jim Hollis’ encouragement and blessing.  We are grateful to Jim for the counsel and the help he provided during this formidable time.  I am hopeful that we will partner in the future for the advancement of the LORD’s Kingdom. 

It would have been easy to continue down the PEM path, but I could not chose to be disobedient; for disobedience, even in the littlest things, will preempt the LORD’s direction and disrupt the dance.  In response to our obedience, the LORD began to move in areas we had not expected and to give us additional direction – a strategy and plan for community transformation.

Humbly Submitting to His Power

And now, the word of the LORD for inLight Consulting is shifting from one of “trusting Him for the understanding” to trusting Him for the strength (Isaiah 26: 3,4; Psalm 31).  This marks a new season, where we will be called to humbly submit to His power. 

The life of ministry is one of continual submission; to the LORD’s plan for the day; to trust and obey in every task and moment; and, to accept the gift and power of the Holy Spirit.  Our desires as leaders would naturally (read, carnally) tend toward the gifts of prophecy, administration, evangelism; those gifts that keep us in the spotlight.  We must beware the motives of pride and self indulgence, and die to all desires except the glory of the LORD – in whatever gift we are given.  In this way, we will find more power in the exact gift we need for the particular task to which we have been called.  For example, I must submit, and gratefully accept, the gift of helps if I am to serve the Church in power.  Otherwise, the work will be in my strength and all will be lost. 

The LORD continues to work in, and for, those that will give Him all the glory.  He deserves more than we can give, so we must give it all.  May He exact from each of us what He is due! 

 

Dying for His Glory,

Rob