Off the Sidelines

It all started with a question. “What’s your burden?” and at first I didn’t have an answer and then it clicked. Men! If men could get it all together the world would change immediately. That’s what popped into my head then and what continues to sit in the corners of my mind now. After I was asked this question and gave my answer, I was invited to come to a men’s group that was going to start meeting on Tuesday mornings. The next Tuesday I woke up ready to attend this meeting, not knowing what it was really about or how it would go down. When I got there at 5 am I found out that we were going to be going through this six week series called 33 The Series.

This six week session became a game changer in my life. It was the first time that the Gospel was brought down to the ground level of my life, not as a Christian but as a man that was a Christian. It was like I was in the fight of my life and never knew it, until during these six weeks, the question was asked: “How many men in here either don’t have a father or your father was there but very ineffective?” That day there were about ten guys in the room and all ten raised their hand. At that very moment a bomb went off in my head. I finally realized that I wasn’t the only one and that this thing might be at epidemic proportions. It was totally mind-blowing to me that it was unanimous, ten out of ten guys had a bad outlook of the man who is supposed to mean the most to us, Daddy! Every boy longs for his daddy to be his superhero, but for every boy in the room, this superhero never showed up. Wow!

I really felt like I could no longer sit on the sidelines. The Gospel had been made real in my life and now I know my true burden. I must do something, but what? I felt like God wanted me to take some men through 33 The Series. Why not use that to help some other men? I was frozen with fear and the thought of “I’m not qualified.” Who was I to take some guys through this? I don’t know that Bible like that and I’m not a pastor. So for months, I did nothing.

I produce a comedy show called Hollalujah that we have been putting on for three years now. We draw a nice crowd of about 500 every third Friday of the month. I often invite people from Blueprint out to come and enjoy. This one particular time I gave out some free tickets and it was one of the largest groups from Blueprint we’d ever had (I don’t think it says anything about them being cheap, just that they like free stuff). It also just so happens that Muche Ukegbu also came to his first Hollalujah experience that day. At this point, Muche had become my mentor and sounding board about everything that I didn’t understand about this newfound walk with Jesus that had engulfed my life.

At some point during the night of the show, I found Muche and asked how he was enjoying it. He said, “Dude, this is crazy. Let’s connect this week... seriously.”

I didn’t know what he wanted but I felt the need to make sure we connected. When we did, I clearly remember him saying: “Do you recognize that the room changes when you go on stage? These are the people you are suppose to be pastoring.”

He went on to explain that pastoring doesn’t always look like the pastor in the traditional sense, but these were that people that God placed me over. As he talked I could hear God say, “33-- do it” and a few months later I introduced the first volume of 33 at Hollalujah. That night we had 11 guys sign up. For six weeks I took eleven guys ranging in age from 27 to 57 through this series. These guys all came from different walks of life. We had elders of a church, college grads, former drug dealers, and former addicts all in one room listening to me help them understand how the Gospel applies in their life, right now. I went from “Why me?” to “Why not me?” The thing that I began to realize is that it wasn’t me. This thing was way bigger than me and I couldn’t do it anyway. I had to rely on Him.

We just finished Volume 2 of 33 The Series with a total of sixteen guys. My wife Jessica and I are also closing out a nine week Bible study on Mondays with people who had often crossed our paths and wanted to know more about this God that has changed our lives. This too has been an amazing time with people who don’t go to Blueprint but want to know more about Jesus Christ.

The funny part is, three years ago I wouldn’t have been this dude. I would never have jumped in. Today, I am truly learning to trust God. I have come to realize that when God gives me something it’s always bigger than I can handle. What’s becoming clearer each day is that He is not asking me to do it, He is asking me to believe and follow Him. Even though we have denied Him like Peter, He comes back, affirms us, and tells us to go tend His sheep.

John 21:15-19:

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time,“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

It’s not for us to know. It's all about being willing to trust Him and just GO.