A few months back Michael Clary asked all the residents to choose a subject and write a blog post pertaining to that subject. I immediately chose the subject of how the Residency challenged my walk with Christ. It exposed my ministry idolatry. After immediately choosing that topic I immediately began to postpone writing the blog. My heart wasn’t in it.
A few weeks earlier through the prompting of the Holy Spirit and Doug Shell’s coaching I had come to the inescapable conclusion that my faith was shipwrecked. I had long ago replaced a genuine spirituality centered on faith and repentance with a pseudo faith based on pride and works.
Perhaps more accurately the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I never really had a spirituality centered on faith and repentance. I had dedicated my entire life to serving a God that I never really made my Lord. I was like Jacob following a promise that had not yet become my own.
He was the God of the Word, the earth, the church, my theology, my worldview but not my heart. My heart had been consumed. Half by pride and half by shame. I lived in fear that my fragile faith would at any moment break and people would find out that I am not the man I had made myself out to be. I had gone to seminary, became a pastor, preached a theologically sound Gospel all from a heart far from God.
I covered my lack of love and repentance with works. The worst part about it was that it worked in the sense that I found success in ministry. No one questioned my heart and that drove me further into the darkness. All the time I felt alone and weak. When I got to CTK I tried to continue on the same path that I had been going on but the Lord removed His hand from me and I found little success. The elders of the church saw through me and challenged me.
The residency forced me to look at myself honestly for the first time in years. By the grace of God the Holy Spirit, the Elders, and the Godly men I let in my life broke me. Also by God’s grace He provided me with a chance to start over. I left the residency early to allow for a time of healing without the distraction of ministry.
Though much has changed in my life I still have a very long way to go. I battle fear every moment I’m awake. I constantly fight a deep sorrow, an ache in my heart and soul. I often feel cold and alone. By God’s grace though I’m in a community that loves and cares for me. I have men who push me to faith and repentance and a wife that loves and supports me.
Over the next couple years I intend to walk in faith and repentance and trust that the Lord will piece my heart and soul back together. I don’t know when the Lord will restore me to ministry. The thought of not serving scares me and deeply saddens me. I cry often over what I have allowed my life to become but I still have hope.
I am thankful for my wife who is my greatest encourager and for the Elders who loved me enough to speak truth in love. Looking back now as I’m writing this I have no regrets and if I could do it over again I would still choose to come and be a part of the Ctk residency. The last 18 months have been the hardest time in my life and I praise God for His faithfulness to me.
I wanted to end this post with a verse that gives me hope and sums up how I feel and the Lord gave me Psalm 51: 7-12.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.