I have no doubt “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

For me the “call” I heard to ministry 22 years ago was a call to keep people away from screwing up the way I had. But no one knew my story.  No one knew my ugly.  Ugly was not allowed. So there was a lot of application, very little relationship and that is what drove me to ministry planning. Those best laid ministry plans were continually confronted by messy people who would not cooperate with… my plans. So, like a good pastor, I condemned the messy (the ugly) and redoubled my efforts...my planning. My frustration increased and I wondered…”Is this real ministry and if not, what is ministry?”

At times it seems like the years of seeing what “ministry” really was in God’s Kingdom had very little to do with what had become my “READY… FIRE… AIM” philosophy of application planning. I found that real ministry had nothing to do with my best intentions and carefully crafted plans and everything to do with being delivered into His movement in spite of my best strategies. As the years have passed it has come to look like waking up each day opening my eyes to the revelation,“Oh, THAT’S what You’ve been doing!”

So here’s the “THAT” that my eyes have been opened to… it’s all about story, our Sacred story. This Sacred story is where the past (the old) intersects the present (the new). John writes about this intersection in 1 John 2:

Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 1 John 2:7-8

In this passage the old meets the new. What they had from the beginning, which was written on tablets of stone, which had become for them a platform of comparison, had now become a reality in them. The blind could now see. They were in. It was now a living commandment that found its realness in being written “in” not “on.” In where? In their inner most being, “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law” (Romans 7:22) and “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,” (Eph. 3:16).

Our Sacred Story is an expression… a confession of our inner being; a being that is in union with Christ. The lie of living by appearance showcased through the Law is destroyed through the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of belonging. Our story begins in the ugliness of the lie and ends in the beauty of the beloved, the oneness of being found “in”.

So ministry is as simple as the sharing of our story, the beginning and the end. What began in ugly now ends in beauty. It is a present tense beauty. That’s our Life (no matter our sins, our failures or our successes) because what is real has moved from measurement to story. If you list your successes or your failures you will put me to sleep. Tell me a really good story… I will wake up and hang on every word.