About Me

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New Orleans, LA, United States
Family from South Africa, Born in New Orleans, Lived in South Carolina. Married to Annabeth since May 2004. We have three boys (Bolt, Mack, and Birk). Currently living in Uptown NOLA and serving as Lead Pastor of Vintage Church and Camp Pastor of Student MissionLab.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lent Lesson #3

By no means did God only teach me three lessons through Lent. My notebook is filled with nuggets of wisdom that I received through discussions, experiences, Scripture, my family, etc. However, these three stick out the most. To review, Lent Lesson #1 was “God is so good”. Lent Lesson #2 was “listen to Jesus and do what He says”. Here is the 3rd:

LENT LESSON #3
GET CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE

Now this might seem a little strange to you because of my second lesson. Why would God teach me to get control of my life when He has called us to listen and surrender to what He has called us to do? Lent Lesson #2 is the preface to #3.

This world is not our home. This life is not our own. For those who have been saved by Christ, the only reason why Christ has saved you is that you might glorify Him with your life.

I Peter 2:9 is by far one of my favorite verses in God’s Word.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

This is such a great reminder of God’s call upon my life as a believer.

With this truth established, God began to convict me of the fact that I wasn’t being a good steward of what He had called me to be. Every believer has two primary callings in this world. One is to “go and make disciples of all nations”. This isn’t an option. All have been called to reach all. That definitely includes the unreached people groups around the world. The second call is a specific call. Paul was called to the nations, but he specifically served as an apostle traveling the world planting churches. Jesus certainly was called to the nations, but focused on 12 regular dudes. You and I have certainly been called to the nations, but what has God called you to specifically? These two are intertwined.

As I began to ponder that question, I first reflected on what God has placed in my life. I don’t like segmenting my Christ-life, my personal-life, and my work-life. Christ is primary and interwoven throughout my life. Understanding this, here is my specific calling from top priority down:
• To be a husband to the most beautiful woman in the world.

• To be a dad to (NOW) 3 little dudes who are the absolute joy of my life.
• To be a son and brother and grandson to an incredible family.
• To be a pastor to a new church plant called Vintage in the heart of New Orleans. This involves being a leader to an incredible staff, being an influencer to a devoted vision team and community group leaders, and being a faithful servant to a loving church family as we together love God and people.
• To be a preacher of God’s Word each week at Vintage, during camp seasons at MissionLab, and whenever God gives me other opportunities.
• To be a friend to those in my life who care more about me and my family than what I do or don’t do. They just love me and I love them.
• And lastly, to be a student at NOBTS even though I feel like I deserve an honorary MDiv for all the time I have spent on that campus. Hopefully I will done this fall.


That’s my list. As I looked at this list, God convicted that I wasn’t being a good steward of the LIFE THAT HE HAD GIVEN ME. As I shared in the first Lent Lesson post, the last two years have been crazy awesome. But the unpredictable schedules, the lack of definitive office hours, the full access from everyone without boundaries has begun to lead me away from what God has called me to do. Annabeth pleaded with me this spring to put some structure into our lives. I started to receive visions of my sons growing up hating Jesus & the church because daddy cared more about church than them. I NEEDED TO TAKE ACTION.

Let me share what this looks like in my life. During Lent I came across a blog somewhere that talked about “Reclaiming the 9-5”. I wish I could find it. Anyways, this pastor talked about how he hates segmentation and that he loves serving with completely schedule freedom. However, this freedom had begun to spin his life out of control. He wrote about the importance of working, playing, resting, and dating at certain set-aside times. He wrote about reclaiming the 9-5 so that his kids could enjoy daddy time and that he could truly focus on what God had called him to do.

As I read, God smacked me in the face with this third lesson, “GET CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE.” He said, “Rob, I have blessed you with the responsibility of being a husband, dad, son, brother, grandson, preacher, friend, and student in accordance with my plans for my glory.” This isn’t about you; this is about my sovereign plan for this world.

For me taking action looked like this:



• I put together a time budget and weekly schedule where I assessed and planned work, sleep, study, meetings, family time, Sabbath, workout, etc. I also set up an accountability system for sticking with it.
• I led our church in finding a solid office space for us to work. Sure, its ghetto, but that’s how Vintage rolls.
• I set aside a week to go on vacation with my family and worked hard before we left so that I didn’t have to work while I was away.
• I started rejecting meetings and opportunities that didn’t fall under the category of what Christ has called me to do.


Now anyone in ministry knows that ministry isn’t that clean and neat. I completely agree. Ministry should look a lot sloppier than the institutional business-like expressions that we find all over our country. However, if my schedule leads me to neglect my family, cheat on my wife, go into depression, and even kill myself…how effective will that be? Getting control of your life isn’t about making life easier, getting control of your life is about being faithful to God’s call.

I pastor a church filled with young adults. For the most part I am counseling one person after another that is being controlled by their life. From work obligations, to parties, to church duties, to new babies…the busyness of life is killing them. The question that I had to answer is the same question that we all need to answer, “What has God called me to do?” When clarity comes from God, DO IT! That means that you might have to get rid of some things. That means that you might have to say NO to some (even good) things. Prioritize your life around what Christ has called you to do. He wants to use you in a mighty way for His glory!

1 comment:

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    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comment!

Rob