Last week our men’s Bible study group started a new series called “ All the Places to Go”. It is centered around the idea of how to know when God is opening a door for you to walk through and how we can know it’s from God. Anyone who is a Christian has been in a situation where they they felt called by God to do something or go somewhere, but how do we know when God is calling us somewhere or if it’s just a matter of our own motivation or coincidence? If you don’t know my story, I was originally called into the pastoral ministry while I was in high school. While I thought that sounded like a cool thing to be called to I didn’t take it seriously. I graduated high school and sort of ran from that calling, and I did my own thing. It wasn’t until a few years after I graduated from high school where I received confirmation from other people who didn’t really know me, that God wanted me in the ministry. I was 21. While I knew what my calling was, I had no clue as to how to go about fulfilling that. So I begin to seek the Lord as to what to do. It wasn’t until a few years later that I decided the first step to walking in my calling was to get educated, so I decided to go to Bible college, I was lacking basic Biblical knowledge that pastors should have so I needed that first. Anyone who knows me, knows that school isn’t my most favorite thing to do so I took the long road. It took me about 9 years to get a bachelor’s and Masters degree. Even then though I saw God open up doors for me to follow in His calling. It was hard to get into a lot of colleges because of my high school grades built by the Grace of God He pointed me to the schools that would form my education. My educational journey didn’t happen in my home town, it took me across sate for my undergraduate work and my graduate studies took me across the country to California. God had to open doors to make sure that’s it was even possible for me to continue, whether it be providing finances, places to stay etc. This was a God thing but again this journey wasn’t done. I graduated in 2017 with a Masters degree and I was faced with the question “Now what Lord”. How do I become a pastor. Well with my educational journey complete I knew now that the next obstacle for me to get hired by a church is my lack of practical experience in a church setting and I didn’t have a home church in California so I didn’t have anyone to vouch for me or give me a reference so then I sought the Lord and He made it clear that I needed to come back to Michigan to go back to my home church and complete and internship. Again, He made it possible for this to happen. After completing my internship I now had education and some practical experience, now I needed someone to hire me. So here I was again “ Now what Lord?” It was clear it was now time to start applying for pastoral positions. During this time, and I’m not sure if other people in this situation feel this way” but man I never realized how insecure I was until looking for a ministry job ( more on that later). I began looking in January of 2020 and over the next 14 months I put in over 400 resumés all over the country. I received a fair amount of interest, I talked with a good of amount of churches, had a fair amount of interviews, but in the end it was rejection after rejection after rejection. Here is where my insecurities came, I began questioning my call, was I in fact called to the ministry? Did I miss what God had for me? Will a church ever hire me? There was a lot of doubt and soul crushing self examination. Eventually I was contacted by this church in North Dakota, and went through the interview process, visited the church, and was eventually offered the pastoral role for this church. So you’d think great! Here is my chance to walk in my calling, God has finally opened the door. Not so fast. I immediately then began to question “ Is this the Church for me?” “Should I move away from home again?” “What if I fail?” “ What if this isn’t what God has called me to do?” While a chance to work in the ministry presented itself, it wasn’t as cut and dry as I thought it would. It required faith to walk through this door, because while God was showing me the beginning part of my journey He didn’t show me the full picture and I feel He does this more often than not. This is where trusting in Him and having faith is required. We don’t always know how things will turn out, but we can know when God is opening up doors for us and we need to trust Him that He will see us through. Long Story longer, after going back and forth about whether this is what God wanted me to do, I took the chance and accepted the position of lead pastor of Emmanuel Evangelical Church. Yesterday I celebrated the two year anniversary of moving here, and while I still do not have the full picture as to why God has me out here, I can look back over 2 years and see growth and fruit. So I say this to say to you, if you see an open door you believe to be opened by God, WALK THROUGH IT! Even if there are reasons not to, even if you can’t see the full picture. Take the first step and even if you can’t see ground in front of you to step on Trust that the Lord will guide your steps!