Monday, January 11, 2010

Same Truck, Different Driver

"The Gift." The genesis for this blog has its roots in an entry in my other blog, titled "The Gift". You may click --here-- to read that entry. A follow-up to that entry seems in order: after writing so much about Christmases Past and how Christmas Present was going to be much more special than I could have thought, it was especially fitting that I was routed to Atlanta on Christmas eve, and without my asking or expecting it, I was given two days off (Christmas and the day after) and got to spend it with my family in Georgia. Talk about a gift!

Peace Offerings: what? why? You can read one interpretation (though there might be others) of the title of this blog in the side panel titled "About Peace Offerings". Originally, when I was considering the idea of starting a new blog focused on my individual journey with God (and not just on my adventures with my best friend Terry driving a truck around the country), I was considering several titles. The one I thought of first, and really liked, was "This Pilgrim's Progress". However, I decided against it because there are already several blogs with that title out in the wild. My next thought was to call it "Shoutin' Ground", but (to my slight surprise), a quick check revealed at least one blog with that title already exists.

Driving down the road yesterday in my truck, I was thinking about the real message of the gospel -- the gospel of peace. Hmm. Then I thought about the concept of the peace offering (or wave offering) in the Old Testament as an expression of gratitude (among other possibilities) to the Lord. Those ideas sort of percolated in my mind a while, and it seemed like an appropriate name for what I envision doing with this blog.

That said, the original ideas for a name for this blog, "This Pilgrim's Progress" and "Shoutin' Ground" are still cool as well. I like them all.

Topeka, Kansas. Ironically, just as I was considering (and have been for quite some time) retiring, at least for now, the Lonesome Dove Xpress-ions blog, it happens that Terry and I will be teaming once more (for the third time in three years) with Schneider. We are going to be working on a new dedicated Home Depot account based in Topeka and will be making regular runs to the Denver, Colorado, area. The initial attraction for both of us is the fact that Schneider is offering a $5000-per-driver sign-on bonus, paid out over the course of a year. In addition, we anticipate pretty consistent miles that are more than I've been getting driving solo (with rare exceptions, one of which I will detail below) since we quit teaming last April.

Terry is currently in Dallas going through orientation. I'm in Atlanta, and am hopefully making my way to Dallas in the next day or so. From there, we will both go to Topeka. There is lots to do when we get there, but we are looking at getting started up there sometime next week (after January 18th).

2010: My Year of Open Doors! The last week of the year, one of the things I listened to was a series originally taught at the end of 2003 at the church I attended when I lived in Florida. It was called "2004: The Year of Open Doors". Since it was so good, and helped to reconnect me with much that I had been apart from the past few years, I adopted its theme for myself for this year. And it has already come to pass in ways I would not have imagined (e.g., the open door to Topeka).

With that idea in mind, I include below some of the things I'm believing God for this year, dreams I'm pursuing, goals I'm working toward (these are taken from a recent journal entry, with some modifications):

  • Restoration and redemption - inherent in those terms is the idea of wholeness, making something whole that has been broken, regaining what has been lost (or, in my case, given away, thrown away, wasted); the image that came to my mind when I first wrote about this in my journal was when Jesus had fed the crowd of thousands of people, and he instructed the disciples to "gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." (John 6:12, NIV) How does God take my wrong choices, wasted time, foolish thoughts and work it so that in spite of those things, in one second of time on Saturday afternoon, December 19, 2009, at a truck stop in Greenville, Tennessee, in the middle of a winter storm, with one breath of "Yes, Lord" from my lips, I am as much in the perfect will of God as though I were never out of it? And yet, he does; indeed, he is.

Comments. Over the past few weeks, I have already begun to experience this restoration that I am believing God for, and cooperating to effect. I would never have believed, had you told me so, that I would even be at this point so quickly. Those who know me well can testify that it is indeed a different driver in the same truck driving down the highway. Father, I praise you and thank you for the work of healing and restoration you are working in me. I am amazed at your love and goodness manifested in my life. You are so cool! And I love you. Truly, that is "shoutin' ground"!

  • Debt-free and beyond - I am believing God for provision to enable me to be free of debt in 2010, and, even more, to have resources sufficient to meet my needs with abundance to be able to help others, which is truly the passion of my heart (but it is quite stupid, as I can attest, to try to express that passion using credit cards or extending oneself beyond available resources, especially when one isn't involving God in the equation; God's provision is much better than Visa's, and God "adds no trouble to it").

Comments. About two weeks ago, for the first time in a long time, I decided to invite God to be involved in my finances. Since then: (1) the first week, I was totaling up my miles for the week, and was surprised to learn that, with no changes in what I was doing, and no real difference that I could have detected, I had more miles that week (in the measure of about 25%) than I'd had in a very long time - at least a year; hmmm; (2) the opportunity for the job in Topeka opened up, with the promise of more income -- substantially more; (3) originally, my plan called for dropping my old truck here in Atlanta, renting a car to drive to Dallas, and then go with Terry up to Topeka this Thursday; however, Friday afternoon, my dispatcher sent me the message that what they would probably do is put me in a newer truck here in Atlanta, and let me drive that up to Topeka. Get this: not only does this save me the cost of renting a car; but I'm being paid to drive to Topeka, hopefully via Dallas (I find out tomorrow if that's part of the plan, or can be), and in a newer truck. All that with no involvement on my part, other than reading the message from my dispatcher with my mouth hanging open in amazed gratitude.

  • Going home to Dallas - since living there many years ago, even after I left, my heart has always been in Dallas. I love that city. I love Texas. And people I love are there. Connections as real and important to me as any in the world. I had sensed, before the opportunity in Topeka opened up, that I would possibly (to my delight) be returning to Dallas very soon, perhaps getting off the road and doing something else. Moving to Dallas is in a practical sense tied to eliminating my debt, so for me, at this point, going to Topeka is simply the shortest way home. And, who knows what will open up from this move to Topeka (this is, after all, my year of open doors!)? Stay tuned.
  • Reconnecting with God's call, purpose, vision - this is intricately connected to my return to Dallas in ways I can't even imagine; but it involves my home in Dallas, House of Heartlight Freedom Ministries (Heartlight to me), and it involves the fruit of my ministry in Dallas from many years ago and those ongoing connections. I don't know more than that, but it will work itself out in the fullness of its time.
  • Studying and becoming fluent once more in Spanish - this was one of my goals for last year as well
  • Topeka - more than just a conduit for more income, and therefore part of the path to enable me to go home to Dallas, and perhaps get off the road, I am believing that whatever time I spend in Topeka will be one of growth, ministry and purpose

God takes his job back. From my personal journal, I paste an account of something that happened last week as testimony of the work God is doing in my heart.

Now, Monday was also a day of significance where the Topeka venture was concerned. I had called two people last week, one of them twice (S., who will be our dispatcher on this account), and hadn't heard anything back. I didn't want to bug them, and I realized that last week was a hectic week during a holiday period, end of the year rush to get lots done, and coming up on a 3 day weekend. So I decided to give them Monday to get caught up and thought they'd maybe call me back during the day. I was at peace. But I also felt an urgency that if things were going to work out like I envisioned (getting to Atlanta tomorrow, spending Saturday in Georgia, and then driving a rental car in Dallas Sunday to spend time with everyone before Terry and I leave on Thursday morning for Topeka), we needed to get things started at least. I was also annoyed that Terry had more communication about what was going on than I did, and he was coming back to Schneider from another job. Shouldn't I at least know as much about the situation as he did?

Well, Tuesday morning, I woke up about 0330, very agitated, angry, anxious, and ready to call these guys on Tuesday morning and offer them a sarcastic piece of my mind about their inability to call me back. Oh, I was ready! But I was not in peace, and I wasn't trusting God, so I knew I needed to work this out and get to a place of peace in this situation once more. So, I called Stretch, thinking he'd probably be up. He was. We talked and prayed, and we prayed for the Lord to remove the impediments that were keeping things from happening. I thought we were talking about these other people – that's what I was thinking about as we prayed.

We got off the phone, and I was going to doze back off to sleep when I just heard the Lord say, very softly: “You're the impediment. Not those other people.”

What are you talking about Lord? These people need to call me back. They are holding up our plans.

Our plans? When did you consult me about these ideas you have about the way things are supposed to work out? Did I tell you this was how it was supposed to happen or when? I don't remember doing so.”

Um . . . I guess not. I guess those were my plans. Sorry, Lord. I repent right now and give this back to you.

The image that came up in my spirit as this little conversation was taking place was of me sitting in a big director's chair at a big stage production. All the actors (these buffoons in Schneider who weren't calling me back) had their scripts, but they weren't in their places or taking their cues. God was wearing the Producer's hat, and I was looking over at him. He had his arms folded calmly across his chest looking at me with gentle patience. In order for this to work right, he needed to be wearing the Director and Producer's hat, and I needed to take my place on the stage with the script that he would give to me.

As I repented for trying to figure things out and play God (a regular habit, I notice, unless I remain on guard against it), the peace of God came over me, and I realized I didn't need to call anyone, especially to “give them a piece of my mind”, or do anything. Just wait. God would take care of it.

So must end this first entry of the new blog. There is more on my mind, but sleep is calling more loudly to me each second.

Until next time . . . Jesus is Lord! . . . Jesus' Love Rules!