During all of that time, God has been developing in me spiritual gifts that He would use to serve others for His glory. And as I've served, it seems like one gift, above the rest, has been the object of encouragement, confirmation, and nurturing from other people: teaching.
I love it. That is, I love all of it. I love the conception of ideas. I love the study. I love the actual delivery. I love it. And I love that God has used it to minister to others. And boy, am I humbled.
I love, am excited by, and am humbled by the opportunity that God has given me to use this gift while I've been searching for another ministry job. I mean, it's been nice to earn a little extra money. But it's been incredible to be able to serve by doing what you love to do. Incredible...
In fact, in a few weeks, I've got an opportunity to teach/serve (terve?) that will probably bless me more than it will bless others. I've been asked to come back to Saddleback to teach at their Junior High summer camp. Needless to say, I'm stoked.
But as I've been prepping the four lessons for the week, I've noticed a difference in the study. I feel like it's been much more mind than it has been heart. Let me explain...
While I was at my last church, pastoring my own group of Middle School students, I had to speak every week. It usually came out to be somewhere around fifty times a year. Which is not as bad as it sounds. "Do something you love, and you'll never work a day in your life", and all... But when I prepped a lesson for my students, it usually was a result of one (or a combination) of a few things.
It was either, I know these kids, and feel like they need to learn this. (Kind of a preemptive strike at an issue.) Or, I feel like a good number of these kids are facing this issue now and I have to address it. (Kind of a response to something.) Or, here's a foundational truth that every believer needs to know. (Kind of a adding to their foundation thing.) All of these things seemed to flow out of my heart. They came from a place where I had been wrestling with something, or been with someone who was wrestling with it, and I felt compelled to show others what God had to say about it.
But with this round of prep, I don't know my audience. And not only do I not know my audience, but I've been assigned a topic. So I haven't wrestled with the subject (at least not lately), nor have I been with students who have. So I feel like I'm having to rely a little more on my head than my heart. Does that make sense?
So, even though I love all of this work I'm doing to prep for camp, it's different this time. Not bad. Just different.
But none of that can change how great it's going to be to be back with people I love, in a place I love, doing what I love, serving my God that I love. I can't think of a more accurate picture of heaven...