Friday, March 5, 2010

The Great Adventure: Lessons Learned

I want to thank all of you who have been so encouraging to us about this great adventure we are in. Those of you who actually made it through that whole long story - wow. Thanks. I think I could've cut the word count in half and still have been able to tell the story. Sorry about that. Thanks for persevering. :-)

As I wrap up this blog version of the Great Adventure, I want to share with you a couple of things that the Lord taught us through all of this. Of course, our lessons were many...some easy, some painful...some funny, some brutal...some to share, some to hold quietly. I imagine that God is going to continue to teach us things that are directly related to this calling and this season of searching. But there are a couple of huge lessons that wave over all of the other smaller lessons like a big banner, and that is what I want to share with you.

1. There is always something next with God.

Listen to me: You have not been disqualified, overlooked or undergifted. You may be in a season of life where things seem questionable; maybe they even seem desolate..hopeless...over. Your circumstances may be trying to dictate to you that God has not come through, nor will He. But guess what? That is not true. It just isn't. Not only is it not true, but what actually is true is the very opposite. And if you will free Him up to be God in your life by giving Him your surrender, He will give you beauty for your ashes. Strength for your weakness. And He will turn things around more quickly than you can say MAYDAY.

Your gifts (or lack of) are a non-factor. Your geography? Not a factor. Your past? Only gonna feed into God's redemption, if you will let it.

You know what really took me by surprise by this fact that there is always something next with God? The fact that there was something next for us, and I didn't even know we needed a 'next.' So, the question is not is there a next. The thing to do is just be in a posture of surrender for when it comes. And it will.

2. There is nothing God cannot do.

I'm a church boy. I know churchy stuff. I'm sad to say that I was sort of "religious" before I ever loved Jesus. I mean, I pretty much always loved the Lord, but I didn't really know Him until I took up my faith for myself sometime around college and began to try to know Him for myself.

I knew in my head that there was nothing God couldn't do. I had been told that. I had read it in the scriptures, and I believed it. I could quote all of the powerful verses, like Jeremiah 33:3 and 29:11 and Zephaniah 3:17, to name a few. I had seen Him do the impossible in other people's lives. I had seen Him work in ways that were undeniably Him. He had even done amazing things in my heart through the years...answered prayers...brought direction and revelation for my life...mended fences and healed wounds. I had experienced His power.

But this time, He did something I didn't expect. He not only changed my heart. He changed my mind. He literally changed the make up of my thoughts. He altered my dreams. He did a complete overhaul of my understanding of my calling, my purpose, my hopes. I never saw it coming. But, man, oh man, am I so thankful for how He moves and how He loves. I thought I had my life figured out. I had written the ending in my head. But by the grace of God I found myself in a season of surrender, and He swept in and reconstructed.

I am a strong-willed man. A strong-willed man who likes control. And I would have never prescribed a mind-overhaul like this for myself. But God knew best. And here I am on the other side, sitting in a sea of gratitude that has overwhelmed my life. There are so many miracles interwoven in this story. But in many regards, one of the greatest ones is that God took not just the heart of this stubborn, change-fearing guy; He also took his mind...and changed it.

There is nothing God cannot do.

So in conclusion, please hear this: Fear not.

Fear not.

God has not left you. God has not chosen you to be the one who has circumstances or mental and emotional make-up that is beyond change. Your struggles, your mountain, your pain is not beyond Him. Who are we to ever be so presumptuous to think that we would actually be the ones who have issues beyond the reach of God's power?

Seek the Lord. Immerse yourself in His Word. Submit yourself to good, godly teaching and counsel. Ask for prayer. Ask for help. Open up your heart to the work of the Holy Spirit in a deeper way. It's time for us to stop walking around bound up with hurt and fear, and start giving God the canvas of our lives to paint some redemption.

Fear not. There is nothing that God cannot do. I know it to be true. He did the miraculous in me.

52 comments:

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

Thanks, Travis. I'm so glad you included this as part of your story. And lesson #2? Exactly what I needed this morning. That God can change my mind, my thoughts and bring them to alignment with his. Amazing!

And this: "I am a strong-willed man. A strong-willed man who likes control." Insert woman and it so applies.

And finally, A "mind overhaul." Love that--the perfect description for what I've been asking God for. Or maybe a "mind makeover" cause that sounds less like one of those car shows on HGTV and more like something I'd watch. :)

Joanne

Pat S. said...

Travis, Thank you for sharing this incredible journey with us. I am so excited for you and your family.

Deirdre said...

I do think that having our minds changed by God is one of the most difficult miracles God does.

And Travis, no one would have ever expected you to cut the word count down. You are an expressive guy. we wouldn't want it any other way.

Deirdre
@ screamofcontinuousness.wordpress.com

fuzzytop said...

I LOVE that God changes minds and hearts... Just six months ago He changed my sister's heart, and she became a Christian after years and years of chasing everything but God and choosing her own path. I was and am still amazed and grateful.

I loved what you said about sitting in a sea of gratitude! Amen!

Blessings to you, Angela, and family.

Adrienne

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness gracious this rocked my world today, I needed to hear it, I'm reminded again of how we all need each other, because I can tell myself these things all day every day but to have someone else speak it over you and remind you takes it to a whole other level, to know someone else experiences these struggles makes a world of difference. Thanks Travis!!

Jessica
Greensboro NC

Anonymous said...

Thanks SO much for this reminder. As the wife of an ex-minister I needed the powerful reminder that God can redeem. My husband has been out of the ministry for 5 years and is far away from the LORD. I know He can bring him back to Himself in 1 day, 1 moment, 1 touch. I just keep waiting...

Tiffani said...

Excellent Lessons.

Great reminder. You totally could've kept these things and pondered them in your heart but by sharing what you have learned the the GA you've encouraged us in our great adventures...

very cool.

Melanie M said...

Thank you for writing this today. I have been given the challenge of writing my testimony this week and your post reminded me that my story is not a "beginning, middle and end". It is an ongoing story. I praise Him for that.
Thanks again for being vulnerable, honest and real with us in sharing your story. I have been challenged anew. He is a GREAT God!

Holly said...

You know? I've learned, too, though our journeys with God that have been our "nexts," that often it's not as much about the destination, as it was about knowing another aspect of God's character--His reveal, if you will. It's quite a gift to not just know with my head that God is faithful, but know with all that I am that He IS faithful. Tested and tried!

Travis and Angela, thank you for being a display of God's glory to us. We love y'all!

Wander said...

Gee whiz! Thank you Travis for speaking that truth. I feel like it was written just for me.
I believe every word of it. Intellectually. But my heart has been through the wringer.
Ministry is tough. Being a follower can be tough. Knowing that God is working and doing things in our lives....is our hope.
I have felt just the way you described so many times.....(my issues are SO BIG why would God even bother!)
I'm ashamed to even admit it outloud. I feel encouraged after reading your post. Even though...I know! I know! I know! God has great things for me and for my family.
Disappointments, wounds, and other junk satan throws our way...can almost be paralyzing!

I'm open....I'm surrendering....I'm believing....He's got this!

heids124 said...

Thanks, friend. Really needed to hear that there's always something next with God. Too often I let myself feel forgotten, but I know that's not true. And thanks for helping me remember that.

Also, in your house hunt, please get a master bedroom with closets big enough for all. Your. Jackets.

(And sweatervests.)

Daughter of the King said...

Amen

HisTreasuredPossession said...

Sitting this morning I started asking God "Why?" in my present season. This post is an encouragment to me ~ and you posted it on the exact Day I need such encouragement.

Praise God!
~rachel

Dionna said...

Travis I'm so glad you shared these thoughts because they really were something I needed to hear. My favorite? That we are not disqualified.

Daniel Semsen said...

Beautiful. And also...


>>>>Also, in your house hunt, please get a master bedroom with closets big enough for all. Your. Jackets.

(And sweatervests.)


HAHHAHAHAAHAHAHHAHAHAA, Heidi...

Rhonda said...

It is the icing on the cake! Thanks for sharing:) I have printed it off for future reference. Be blessed!

ocean mommy said...

That first point, oh my. Thank you for being God's pencil for me today.

Blessings!
stephanie

MichelleT said...

Now that's a message that'll preach! Thank you for that reminder, it is exactly what i needed.

sfretwell said...

Your story is AMAZING! I cannot tell you how much God has spoken to me through your story. It's so awesome to hear His voice. I have sent several people to your blog just to read about your Great Adventure in hopes that it will speak to them too. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

Stephanie
Amarillo, TX

Melissa May said...

THANK YOU, TRAVIS. Love the lessons. Yes, there is always something next. He's never finished, is He? Thank you for the reminder... and the reminder to Fear Not. I can be afraid of change and the discomfort it brings, but if I remember there is a sea of gratitude on the other side of the overhaul... I won't give up.

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

A GOOD word Travis.

I am so much a beauty from ashes girl. He has done so much of that in my life you'd think He was a magician.

I also know about having your mind changed...even if you don't want it to be changed. He can do it.

God bless you and your fam.

Anonymous said...

How I needed to hear what you said...I know there is a "next", but was beginning to fear that God didn't. He used your story to remind me to hope in Him; He's on time: never late. Thanks...

Karen said...

Thanks, Travis! I, too, needed to hear this today.

God Bless you on your new adventure! God Bless you for sharing it with us!

Blessings,

Karen

Mela Kamin said...

I just had to read this again ... such powerful truth - wow ... "didn't even know I needed a next" - that's powerful and I've been there. We're on our own great adventure right now - I so appreciated this. Bless you as you walk in obedience.

Anonymous said...

Travis ...

Wow! You cannot imagine how much I needed to read these "lessons learned." I thank you for sharing them with all of us as one who has LIVED IT OUT. I am in a season where it feels like things will never change and neither will I. I realized this past weekend that I had even begun to stop dreaming or believing certain things are even possible. It hurts a lot less than hoping and then being disappointed. I plan to read and reread what you've written until it sinks deep into my soul and becomes life to me. Thanks for letting us learn from your own personal experience.

Blessings,
Renee

Jen said...

What you have said in this last portion of "The Great Adventure" was a direct word to my life. I have felt adrift, abandoned, old and unusable. I struggle with it every day...but being reminded of God's power...because I know all those "churchy" things...is what I need in the forefront of my mind. What God CAN do, WILL do, instead of what I perceive as inaction or rejection. Thanks, Travis

Margie by the Sea said...

What a powerful story and a powerful witness to the love of Christ for each of us.
God bless you and your family in this new adventure as you walk in obedience and joy toward God's new call on your lives.
And, thanks for sharing it all with us!

Margie
Hilton Head, SC

Cindy said...

Wow, talk about bringing a word! You really brought it. I am praising Him that there is always something next and that I am not too hard-headed that He can't change my mind.

Praying that God will richly bless you and your family on this new journey with Him.

Fran said...

I love this Travis!!!! It's the changing of the mind thing that just blows me away. I've got a wonderful experience with that one too and I am still amazed when I stop to remember it all.

Praying for you and your precious family all the time. If y'all ever need a thing while you are in Jackson, just ask. I'm happy to help!

Hugs and blessings,
Fran

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder, Travis. My husband and I are in a difficult season right now. It's great for me to remember that He won't leave us here!

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD said...

Thank you Travis for everything I am in prayer for my family in Florida right now that God would come into there life's and save them it is to long to explain what's going on but I do know God is Great and He hear's my prayers. Thank you, you have encourage me not to give up on them and sometimes I feel like it but God loves them.
Blessings to you and your sweet family

Carol

GraceGal said...

I needed to hear all that you have said. Thank you

Linda said...

Thank you for sharing this ... it was exactly what I needed to be reminded of today! Every word has been a balm and an encouragement to my soul.

Praying for you & your family...

Jean M said...

Thank you for sharing every word of your journey. I especially like these lessons learned. Very encouraging.

Jen said...

I have loved reading about your great adventure. It was timely for me and my family - we're going through some changes right now and are just begging God to make *His* desires ours.
Love your honesty and transparency. Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Wow...I mean...what can I say, Wow...I didn't expect to open up my computer today and have God speak to me in such a powerful way. Thank you...I really needed it!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Travis. I SO needed to hear that -- "Fear not". It brought tears to my eyes, as I often feel I have let God down so much, that I start to believe and then go, whoa, wait a minute -- that he must just be disgusted with me. But it's not too late -- it's NOT!

Anonymous said...

I needed that, no really I NEEDED THAT!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

So glad that you shared your journey....

Georgia Jan said...

Travis - Hands down - my favorite post you have EVER written. WOW! You have lived this through and came out shining for Jesus.

And one more thing, I love it that you are back on "church staff" like my sweet husband. Me and Angela - we have something big in common now :) And it's all good!

Praying for your sweet family,
Georgia Jan

ddkays said...

Thank you for this post! I love the mind over haul! Made me think. Thanks for sharing yourself!

elawhorn said...

Thank you for your post today, it really impressed upon my heart how much God works and truly has a purpose for "just us." I try to get ahead of him, then I try to lag so far behind Him. It is so much easier if we just walk by faith one step at a time. He orchestrates every step and stop for us perfectly if we will just surrender to Him daily.

Listened to Beth this morning talking about God giving us a sound mind, not a spirit of fear. God has spoken to me twice today through you and her.........I think I will ponder both of your messages and see what He is up to!!

Mary Lou said...

Thank you for all you have shared of The Great Adventure. Life is certainly never, ever boring or dull when you are a child of The King. And to think you are just "down the road" from where I live....and you are going to be serving with Ben Mandrell. He has preached at our church one time, well actually morning and evening. God certainly has His hands on this young man's life. He so blessed us. God has great, great things in store for you and for His Kingdom. Blessings on your ministry, family and the move.

Anonymous said...

Friend - you don't really know me and probably never will this side of heaven but I enjoy your blog, and the genuineness with which you share God's gifting/talents with others to encourage us in our own walk of faith. But the last three paragraphs of this particular entry were for me I think. I feel overwhelmed about some things I've had in my life here lately - all the old feelings of it will never change, etc. But it can change. God used you to remind me of that. That HE can change the way we think - isn't it enough what He has done for us on the cross? But to change us and heal us and make us whole. I am glad you shared your story with us. I pray God will bless you and your sweet family in this new adventure...

Mary R Snyder said...

Thank you -- for living and re-living this thing out for His glory. I loved this post. God IS in control we cannot out ANYTHING when it comes to Him.

I love what you said about the something NEXT with God. It spoke to me. I'm in a place that I love today. A place that God has BLESSED me with. A place I LOVE serving. But He is working on a NEXT with me. And I'm trying to keep that open heart and open mind.

Thanks for living it out loud

Anonymous said...

You don't know how much I needed to read your blog today. I was on the edge of the "pit", about to fall in. Again. Thanks so much for the good encouraging words, and your music. We sing along with your DVD, (Jesus Saves) in our "Breaking Free" study, "I will sing of my Reedemer" It is our theme song for this study.
Thanks again.

Dedra said...

So grateful that you have shared your journey AND the lessons learned..so grateful. Surrendering and fearing not.. so key.

Praying for your sweet family and you as you enter into this new adventure.

Love,
Dedra

Jeannie (HAPPY HEART) said...

Thanks for sharing this post! It really spoke to my heart today. I am married to a minister and God is doing something new in our hearts right now. Thanks for the encouragement. Blessings on your new ministry!

Lindsee said...

You are a wise, wise man. And although you wrote this a while ago, I'm just now reading it. Needless to say, the Lord saved it for me for a reason! Thank you for sharing your heart here. Especially for all of us crazy ladies to read.

Blessings!

Lindsee

Lyndy said...

Travis, I stinkin love this. Thank you for sharing your heart.

ddkays said...

Thank you Travis for this beautiful reminder! I needed this today! God is wonderful!

Lora said...

This post preaches. Amen and amen, Pastor Travis. Or is it Pastor Cottrell?

Amen.