Exploding Outhouses!

Hey, don't ask me, but yeah, I'd better give a little recap...

As many know, my wife and I, along with a few friends, operated a ministry from 2003 through 2010 called Living Stones Ministries. After a lack of funding, and really just a loss of direction in retrospect, it was closed in December, 2010.

After this time I threw myself into my job and focused more on my family and their well-being. They had sacrificed quite a bit for the sake of the ministry work we did, but never complained. Of course God is always priority number one, but in regards to ministry, it was time for my focus to be about the family that God had both blessed and entrusted me with.

From 2010 to 2016 we have seen a lot of changes. In 2011, I started the Kingdom Pathway blog site that you are now reading. In retrospect I believe this was a means of coping with the loss of the ministry for me. I went from doing Bible Studies every week for 7 years in a row, to suddenly doing nothing. The blog site was a good outlet for me to continue sharing what I felt the Lord was laying on my heart to whoever would listen. With nearly 12,000 views under it's belt (as of now) I guess someone may have benefitted from something, or at least I can hope.

In 2011, we also moved from Grundy (Slate Creek) to Keen Mountain. This was a blessing as it was close to my job. In 2012, I had a dramatic change occur in my life when my wife found me unconscious on the floor. I had passed out due to the build up of spinal fluid in my brain because of a cyst blocking the flow. This required me to undergo brain surgery, but this wasn't all. I also had a post-op blood clot (deep vein thrombosis) in my right leg and this kept me in the hospital even longer.

While I laid in that hospital bed I had many nights of wondering what my purpose in life was, and was this it for me. It was a very emotional experience, but my wife Ann stayed by my side through it all. During this time in the hospital I thought too about what a privilege it was that I had been blessed with a brain and what I shame it was that I wasn't using it to its fullest potential. I had worked 4 years with adults who were intellectually disabled, and here I was with a brain that was not disabled, despite my attempts in high school to make it so.

In 2013, I went back to school and enrolled in the University of Phoenix online program. For the next 3 years I threw myself into this and didn't have a lot of time for much else. In November, 2016 it came to an end with a Bachelor's Degree in Human Services, so the surgeons must have done something right.

Through all of this though I still think back to the days of the ministry, the experience it was, what I am doing now, and wondering what God has planned for me next. This is where it has felt like a wilderness to me. I've wandered around (still as a Christian) but weakened by the wilderness I've wandered through.

During this time I've officiated 6 weddings as a minister, some of them being the teens that once came to the ministry we had. One couple in particular met each other for the first time at one of our ministry events and are now happily married. It has been interesting to see what God accomplished despite my incompetence as a minister.

I'll be the first to tell anyone that I was terrible as a preacher, I was not the best singer, musician, and I make a horrible pastor (as far as the stereotypical pastor goes). I fumbled through my prayers often, forgot people's names,  and at times lost my temper and sounded not so pastor-like. To think that God could take a mess like me and do something with it doesn't say anything about me, but it does say something about how great He is!

The big question now for me as I seek Him, "Is it over?" The answer is, "No, it will never be over." Just as there are new families that were formed as a result of the ministry, just as so many young people came to Christ and some are now active in various churches, just as so many seeds were sown, and are still being watered, and have yet to germinate... It will never be over.

I was reminded this morning of when we first moved to Grundy, Virginia. While driving one day my wife and I were discussing the fact that there were so many independent, nondenominational, ministries and churches in the area, and that there were so many backwoods beliefs that were not even of a sound doctrine. I made a remark to her jokingly that nearly every outhouse you see has a cross on it representing somebody's new church.

A few weeks later a friend of mine in ministry came from where he pastored a church in Danville, Virginia and along with a few other great men of God, they prayed over Grundy, Virginia. Among the many words spoken, one of these dear brothers told me that he felt like he had a word from God for us, but didn't understand the significance of it. He was even reluctant to share it, but he did anyway. He said as he was praying he saw hundreds of outhouses exploding. He didn't understand this, but my wife and I looked at each other with our jaws dropped. We understood it perfectly.

I don't think this was a vision for Living Stones Ministries specifically. I now think, especially after reflecting on it this morning, that this is more of a vision for this area in general, and this excites me. Just think that God is going to come against all of the false doctrines in this area that have kept people in bondage for years really excites me. This also must mean that clarity is coming through a resurgence of sound doctrine once again.

I've considered a number of things about the vision of exploding outhouses, recent revivals occurring here and there, in the Appalachian mountains, and I've been wondering if we are or are not on the edge of a great awakening in this region for God. If this is the case then I certainly don't want to miss it. Of course it's not about me, or Living Stones Ministries, or any other one person, or ministry. It's about God, and what He wants to do here, and wherever else He decides! Of course He already knows from experience (not that He needed it) that I'm not the best clay to work with. Whatever happens I'm just saying, "Lord, light the fuse and let me get out of the way."