Developing A Proper Prayer Life, Part V

Romans 12:2 — “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

There are many Christians who wrongly believe that the will of God is to do some horrendous thing, so they are scared to ask what the will of God may be for their lives. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

When the Lord begins to deal with a person about the will of God for his life, whatever it might be, the Lord will always place a burden on that person’s heart for what it is that the Lord wants him to do. For example, if God calls a person to the mission field, then the Lord will give that person a burden, a love, and a desire for a particular country and people, which then changes everything altogether.

There will never be one single person who, if he is functioning correctly in the will of God for his life, will be unhappy. He will experience some trials, and there will be circumstances that might seem to be difficult, but that person will know that God can and will lead him through whatever takes place. When a believer is operating in the will of God, there will not be any unhappiness, but rather the complete and total opposite. There will be fulfillment, satisfaction, and a sense of completeness in that person’s life, for he knows that he is walking in the will of God.

Growing up in church, and in this kind of life, I wondered what God had called me to do. Was I to preach the gospel? Was I to be an evangelist? Where did I fit in? To be honest, I had always felt that I was called to preach, but in what role, that I didn’t know.

As a teenager, my focus was changing. I didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of my father and grandfather; I wanted to be an athlete. Many people told me that I was a natural born athlete, and there was some truth to that. No matter what sport I played, I picked things up quickly.

I fell in love with basketball at an early age, and I showed some prowess for the game. I began practicing through a local sports academy under the tutelage of Bob Morgan. He saw something in me and took an interest in me as an athlete. When I played with kids my own age, he saw that I was far ahead of every one of them, so he moved me up. Here I was, a 6-year-old kid playing with kids who were 10 and 12 years old, and holding my own against them. Soon it became obvious that there was something special happening, and I dedicated my life to the game of basketball. I practiced constantly, and soon it began to pay off.

The summer before my junior year in high school, my brother, Matthew, and another friend attended a basketball camp with me. It was hosted by Dale Brown, the former basketball coach for the LSU Tigers. Right in the middle of the five-day camp, one of the coaches stopped me and said that Coach Brown wanted to see me in his office. Of course, my mind immediately began to race. I wondered what I had done that would make the coach want to see me, but I couldn’t come up with anything. I sat nervously in the waiting room before I was summoned to his office. The moment I sat down, he began to tell me that he had been watching me, and that he was quite impressed with what I was showing during that camp. Unfortunately, because of my height, he explained, I could not play big time college basketball, but rather small time college basketball—NAIA, Division II, or Division III—but not Division I. Of course, that broke my heart, but at the same time, it lit a fire in me to prove to him and to everyone else that I could play basketball at the highest level.

Fast forward a year later to the day. We had just arrived back in the States from a tour to Israel, and the Dale Brown basketball camp started on the following Sunday afternoon. My father asked me if I wanted to attend the camp. Now we had just flown back into town and I was exhausted, but I was still determined to go, so I did.

My body clock was all messed up from travel, but I was eager to get back on the basketball court. Halfway through the camp, once again, Coach Brown asked to see me, and, once again, I wondered what I did to be asked to his office a second time.

As soon as I sat down, the first thing he said to me was, “Do you remember me telling you that you could not play Division I basketball?” I nodded my head in the affirmative and said, “Yes.” He said, “Well, I was wrong. You can play Division I basketball, and I want you to play here. I don’t have a full scholarship available, but I can give you a partial scholarship.”

I was elated, of course. This was what I wanted to do, and my dream was about to be realized. During my senior year in high school, my father received a call from Coach Brown asking if he could bring me to his house to spend the day with him, which I did. While there, Coach Brown asked my dad about me playing at LSU. My dad’s response was, “If that’s what the Lord wants, then that’s what we want.”

As my senior year of high school came to an end, I remember asking the Lord if it was the will of God for me to play basketball in college, and, if not, to shut every door. I had received scholarship offers to other schools, but at the very moment I prayed that prayer, it was as if every school that had either offered me something or sent me any type of recruitment letter called to say that I was no longer needed. But those other calls really didn’t matter to me anyway; my heart was set on LSU.

A few weeks went by, and I was in my bedroom healing up from the pounding that I took from practicing when my mom told me to turn on the TV. I did, and it was a heart-wrenching moment for me as I watched Coach Brown give his retirement speech over local television.

I knew that was it—it wasn’t the will of God for me to play basketball anymore, and it was a tough pill to swallow. Something that I had spent so much of my time pursuing had now come to naught.

Not knowing what to do with my life, I went from college to college, trying to figure out what was next. After a couple of years away from home, I felt the Lord telling me to return to Baton Rouge, which I did.

Day after day and night after night I sought the Lord as to what He wanted me to do. Finally one morning, while sitting behind my desk here at the office, I was studying the Bible when all of the sudden the Lord spoke to me through His Word, and I knew what He had called me to do—become a youth pastor.

There have been some difficult times in my tenure as youth pastor, and there will be more tenuous times to come, but I can assure you of this: I can’t see myself doing anything else. I have a passion for young people and a passion for seeing lives completely transformed by the power of God.

I couldn’t be any happier, for I am following after the will of God. I just celebrated 13 years as youth pastor of the greatest youth ministry on the planet—Crossfire Youth Ministries—and we are having an impact on young people all around the world. We are seeing young people saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, delivered from sin, and even called into the ministry.

That would not have happened had I gone after my will instead of God’s will. I encourage you to do the same—seek His will, not your own, and pursue what God has called you to do. This is the secret of true living. Remember, anything that is not the will of God will always bring hurt and devastation to the believer.

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