Last month I was invited to speak at the university I graduated from. As I began to pray and think about what to share with the students, it dawned on me that I graduated from there 20 years ago in May. Where had time gone? Have I done the things I dreamed about as a student walking those halls two decades ago?
As these questions gripped my mind, I began to reflect on the last 20 years. There were three major things I learned and committed to in those formative years that I have attempted to keep as priorities in my life.
1. Make time with God the highest priority.
One of my mentors, Dr. Rod Masteller, used to continually remind me that nothing should ever take the place of my time alone in the Word and in prayer. He would say, “It’s not enough to get in the Word—you have to get the Word in you.” Over the last 20 years, I have sought to be consistent in my time with the Lord. As you probably have experienced yourself, I haven’t always been as diligent as I hoped to be. However, I know this must be the greatest discipline in my life.
I want to live my life with the utmost integrity. To do this, I need to walk closely with God every day. Dr. Masteller also used to say, “It’s not in the day-to-day—it’s in the daily.” The daily routine and discipline of time with God will lead us to greater intimacy with God.
2. Live out your faith with passion.
As a college student who was passionate about serving God, I had not yet experienced the pressures of being in ministry or even dealt with the challenges of life. I was certainly a young man with a lot of vision and ideas, but I had no real experience. Even so, I made a commitment to live my faith out with passion. I knew I did not want to live or do ministry devoid of passion.
Over the last 20 years, there have been moments when leading was difficult and sometimes not enjoyable. However, in both difficult moments and incredible seasons, I have sought to be passionate about my faith. As we live and lead, our joy is not based on the ups and downs of leadership. Rather, it is based on Christ in us!
3. Live with a burden for the lost.
In college, I began to learn about tools for sharing the gospel. Long before I knew about these tools and methods, I felt a deep burden to reach people for Jesus. While I didn’t necessarily know the best way to do it, I knew I must do it. My heart became so burdened in those years for people who do not know Christ, and I knew I did not want to be indifferent to the lostness around me. I committed to live with a passion for lost people hearing the gospel. As I reflected over the last 20 years, I found that I am more burdened today than ever before. God is bringing the world to Texas and our state has over 18 million lost people living among us. Let us live with a burden for every one of those who need to hear the gospel.
Twenty years has come and gone. I am so grateful for all God has done in me, and I desire to see Him do more in me than ever before. May the three commitments I made all those years ago be stronger than ever.
On another note, this month we will host our 2023 Empower Conference. It is going to be an incredible time of worship, preaching, learning, and networking. You don’t want to miss it! I hope to see you there. I am honored to serve our family of churches!