Since starting at Anchor Point many things have changed in my life. Most of them I would say are for the good :). I have learned that there is this fascinating connection between growing in our relationship with God and caring for a hurting world.
We may call it loving God and loving people. But somehow it is the ‘ministry’ that propels us to grow deeper in the knowledge of God.
For years I worked at camp throughout my summers! I loved it. Camp was a place that was transformational for me. It taught me how to love people; how to lead bible studies; taught me the value of friendships; revealed character flaws; taught me about other denominations; it revealed the oddity of my upbringing compared to others; it gave me the freedom to explore my adventurous side; it taught me how to have hard conversations; it showed me my need for God; I learned that Satan and demons are real; I learned that God is bigger and stronger; I learned how to worship God etc.
I likely have 100’s of stories to share in regards to camp – but today I will share one!
Kendra and I were married in June of 1998. I was working for my uncle at that time – and shortly after our wedding he was diagnosed with cancer. He was so gracious to keep finding work for me – but construction was just a job for me – it wasn’t what I was ‘called’ to do. I didn’t really know what I was called to do – except I was certain that I was to minister to young people. I wanted youth to love God and to follow him. I wanted them to come alive in a real relationship with Jesus. That was my desire.
While working at camp I had the joy of spending a lot of time with the horses. Giving hayrides and trail rides. Kendra and I had the joy of watching a horse give birth. I participated in breaking a couple of horses. And all in all I loved giving people the experience of horses. Helping people learn that these big and beautiful beasts are a true lesson from God to us. There is so much to learn from them.
Well, as time went on we began to dream (ok I dreamt and Kendra came along for the ride:). And together with some friends we decided that we should start a ranch for troubled teens. We would buy some land, buy horses (our friends already owned several), breed, sell, break, train – and help youth. To me this seemed like the greatest adventure ready to happen.
Eventually we needed to make a decision on what to do. We had looked at some land, we had a stud colt with amazing blood lines in waiting for us to purchase! All we needed was permission from the bank to borrow some money.
I was talking to my Dad about this at one point and he thought it was crazy idea and we shouldn’t do it! It wasn’t because he didn’t think we could – but he felt like we were city folk! That our giftings fit better with the city and lots of people – rather than a few on a farm. If Kendra and I were honest we would have agreed – but there was this great opportunity before us – so that must be God’s will for us right?
Well, we got home, a bit discouraged! But decided that we needed to at least pray about it. So we did and we came up with a ‘sort of’ fleece. If the bank wouldn’t approve us – that would be the answer for us.
So we made an appointment and together the 4 of us went to the bank. Kendra and I didn’t have a lot of equity – we were only married less than a year and we were students our whole lives till this year. But we weren’t asking for much. Just enough money to purchase one horse and all 4 of us would be on the title. Well, the banker listened to everything – and at the end of the meeting looked at us and said ‘if you (Donavan and Kendra) are on the loan we cannot give you the loan. But if we are not on the loan and just the other couple are, then they can have the loan”.
Like what? Really? For a small amount of roughly $10,000 – and we couldn’t get the loan with more people on the loan?
Side note: I am imagining my banker friends right now going ‘duh’, knowing that this is how it works :). But for me I was shocked. I thought this was a shoe-in.
It was like God stepped out of heaven and made it so clear for us. We walked out and knew! So we told our friends that we wouldn’t be joining them in the adventure.
What happened from there? We moved back to Winnipeg to minister to youth in the city (volunteer) and our friends stayed at camp for a while longer and then bought a small farm in the country, broke and trained horses, and have helped many struggling young people through the gift of the farm. And they are still there to this day!
Wow! How did God do that? How did we know that we were always going to come back to the city? How does God orchestrate desires, direction, purpose, calling etc.?
Well the book of Colossians addresses this. Paul is writing to the church in Colossae and he reveals what he is praying for this church. I find it really fascinating and confirming.
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Colossians 1:9-14 ESV
A few things to point out – and the rest I will let you ponder together with God:)
Paul is more concerned about our relationship and response to God then anything else. Praying that we would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. This is going to help us to walk in a manner worthy of pleasing God.
But my favourite part is that this will lead to bearing fruit in every good work AND increasing in knowledge.
So God is giving us wisdom to know his will for our lives – and where he leads us is going to bear fruit! Not just character fruit – but ministry fruit. The work that we do, the ministry that we do – will bear ministry fruit and cause us to grow in knowledge of God.
- I see this happening at the same time – ministry and growing to know God.
And while we are doing this – the Spirit is giving us power – so that we have endurance and patience WITH JOY – to walk out his Will!
- He knows that we are going to need it! It is almost like God gives us lots of time to come to the conclusion of what he is calling us to. And it is beyond what we can handle (each person has a different level of this – this is planned by God) – so that we need to trust Him to give us the power from heaven that we need.
It is all about God, His plan in our lives, His purpose for us, His power given to us, Him delivering us from Evil, transferring us to the kingdom of light!!
- Our job? Grow to love Him and know Him – and minister in the way that He leads.
Why in the way he leads? Because the power that he will give us to fulfill HIS will, needs to be according to HIS GLORIOUS MIGHT.
God know the best. I am thankful! Because it wasn’t my good plan to get Kendra and I to come back to winnipeg and pastor a church at 1400 Pembina.
- God first spoke to me about this location back in 1999;
- He had been working on showing me his will for pastoring since I was in grade 4;
- He lined people up to speak into kendra and my life for 20 years – leading towards this.
- We didn’t see it super clear from the beginning. But now in Hindsight we see how he lead us through every step of the way
Even while we were messing up – he was leading, directing, preparing! We just kept learning to love Him, and loving those he brought before us! According to Colossians – God did everything else!
I am grateful that my failings and shortcomings don’t hinder God’s plan. And that he loves me, wants to walk with me and invites me to minister together with Him. This is the invitation that God is inviting you to as well!
Let’s continue to pray and seek God! And then respond to the Spirit speaking to us as we are in the world – loving those that come along our path!
PS. Please pray for me this week. I am heading to Vancouver tomorrow morning. I am speaking to many church planters and soon to be church planters – about our need to love our King – as priority number one! Thanks so much!