God’s Masterpiece, Not A Paint-By-Number
May 19, 2007, 6:54 am
Filed under: Church, Personal

Andrea and I had a great conversation with my Sister-In-Law, Brittney last night. She feels called into the ministry. She feels called in the area of music/youth. Her sense of urgency and zeal are contagious. She wants to conquer the world for Jesus right now. I remember how that feels. I remember as a teenage boy feeling a call on my life. I remember in 1992 accepting the call publicly in a church service. I remember wanting to drop everything and conquer the world for Jesus. I remember the blank canvas of my life at the time and remembering how I wanted the painting of my ministry to look like. I also remember that even though I thought I was ready for ministry at that exact moment, God knew I needed to learn a few things and fortunately, I knew that God’s timing was not my timing.

As I look back, I am thankful for key people in my life that cultivated my calling. I have to look back first to my mother and father. They fostered a love for God and for His church at a young age. I witnessed their devotion and loyalty to God’s work like no other people. I am thankful for Pastors Hugo and Peggy Venegas which taught God’s Word to me and under whose ministry I accepted the Lord into my heart as a seven year old boy. I am thankful for Craig Stamper who saw the potential I had to be effective in ministry and challenged me like no other to become a vessel that God could use. Lastly I am thankful for Byron Bledsoe who listened as God spoke to his heart to finally turn me loose in ministry. Without these people the seeds of desire would not have been cultivated in my life. Without these people I would probably not be in ministry today.

As I look back, the span of time between which I publicly accepted the call and the time I actually went into full-time ministry was ten years. It would be very spiritual of me to say that those were glorious years at which I knew God was working, teaching and toughening me up for ministry but that is not how I saw it at the time. I constantly questioned God, “Why not now? Why do I have too keep working in jobs I hate? Why can’t I finish college and go to seminary like my friends? Why, Why, Why?” (I’m glad that God can handle our why questions.) I can remember struggling with the losses of my dad who had Alzheimer’s and my mentor, Craig Stamper, dying in an automobile accident. I can remember filling in as interim music minister after Craig’s death and thinking that maybe now was the time that God would unleash me in ministry and then only to be crushed by not even being considered as a candidate. I can even remember questioning if I was even truly called. But, I did know that the desire I had as a young man was still there and I trusted God enough to know that He was in control even if I had no clue to what His plan was.

Now here I am, fourteen years after I publicly accepted His call and four years after I have been in the ministry full-time. I can now look back and see exactly what God’s plan was. I’m thankful that God put me through everything He did because it made who I am today and made me strong enough to stand when it seems like I can’t go on any further. Most of the time our timing is not God’s timing. We almost always want it now. We are definitely products of our “instant gratification” culture. We want what we want and we want it yesterday. It’s hard to imagine that God does not work the same way. Even today in my life I am constantly asking God, “Why can’t C3 church have 5000 people now? Why can’t you give everyone the vision of ministry like you have given us (pastoral staff)? Why can’t you make everyone love us? Why, Why, Why?” But, then I remember the time of learning and growing that God had for me over the last fourteen years. I know that God is in total control and that he is teaching me valuable lessons that I need to learn for the future. I realize that what I feel now and what I felt in those ten years before ministry are nothing but growing pains. Do growing pains hurt? You better believe they do but without those pains you do not even realize you are growing. Will Brittney have growing pains as she pursues her call? Yes. Will I have growing pains as I continue in ministry? Yes. Will C3 have growing pains as we try to reach the community for Christ? Yes. Is that good? Yes, you better believe it is because if you feel no pain then there is no more growth.

The urgency, zeal and growing pains that God places within us mixed in with His perfect timing create a masterpiece that only God could paint. The difference between a “paint-by-number” and a “Mona Lisa” is the time it takes the artist to create the piece of art. I think the extra time is worth it. God’s masterpieces are definitely not paint-by-number.


1 Comment so far
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Dear Beloved Andrea, my name is Pastor Matthew Raju from India and i am friend of Pastors Hugo and Peggy Venegas. i and family very blessed my their prayers and encouragement. we alway pray for you, your family and your country. YOU ARE IN OUR HEARTS AND DAILY PRAYERS.

Please remember us in your prayers and love. please do not forgot to write to us.

In His Service.


Comment by pastor.Matthew Raju

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