John 15:15 (ESV)
15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
It was in the back seat of a fifteen passenger van when I saw it, so vivid it felt real, the answer to an unanswered question. On the way back from my very first mission trip somewhere between hour nineteen and twenty-three in the van the question that changed my life was asked. What is a picture of what God wants you to do after this trip? The question hit me like kick-drum. After becoming a Christian a year earlier and switching to a religion major three months before; a picture of God’s plan is all I wanted. I closed my eyes as we entered a prayerful time of asking God for images of his plan in our lives. My head was flooded with thoughts from the past week of intense service and worship. Then suddenly there it was my picture, God’s picture, I was lying on my stomach reach down a cliff to people at the bottom. It became quite clear; God’s plan was for me to reach those that are stuck in the pit of sin. As I told those in the van of this image I had been given and that I had decided to stop dating God and get into a committed relationship with God. Our fifty something years young Pastor darted from the front seat to the back seat to give me an embrace I will never forget.
Years have passed since that moment and I have gone through a lot with that Pastor. I have built homes for the poorest of Texas and torn down the best building complexes of Pella. I have seen the tornado torn Alabama country side the Katrina battered New Orleans cityscape. I have been to the sketchiest parts of cities and the most peaceful parts of the country. I have seen him well up with tears of passion, heart break, and joy. He has taught me the very heart of worship, the Christian faith, and has brought me farther in my faith than I ever imagined. I have learned the greatest mysteries of God and also the greatest simplicities of humanity. I am indebted to him; he has been a great pastor and mentor to me. After doing two years of camp ministry with him during affirmations he said this “I never have to worry about why you’re up there because I see you on stage crying and I know it’s because the power of the Gospel is just hitting you so hard. I know I ask a lot of people but I know we are on the same page and that’s why I do it. Doing ministry with you is doing ministry with a friend.” I cannot say I can relate to every story in the Bible, but John 15:15 I get that. That is because my greatest Teacher did for me what Jesus did for his disciples and that is become their greatest friend. I know what the emotions of that story feel like, I know level of empowerment and confidence that story gives the disciples. This blog goes out to the greatest Teacher, Employer, and Friend I have known; Joe Brummel. Thank you for your love, support, and for being an example of the Gospel.
So the question is who will you speak friend to and enter into a relationship with? I pray the answer to that question is a meaningful as my friendship with my friend Joe Brummel is.