“Be where God wants you to be and then when you get there do what He wants you to do and say what He wants you to say.” That’s my mantra. And on this day the truth of that statement was like a flashing message on a billboard.
I was where God wanted me to be. I was at my daughter’s kindergarten graduation. But I had this overwhelming itch that there was something He wanted me to do. The room was filled with 300 people, most of whom knew nothing about Adventism, and many who knew little about Christ. I had to tell someone about Jesus. Not for a goal or a membership number but because I wanted them to know the God I knew.
There was something I was supposed to say. And so I turned and started to talk to the innocent bystander next to me. I recognized him to be the parent of one of my daughter’s classmates. Before he or I knew it, I was spewing all this Jesus stuff all over him. There was a nod and a smile but no rejection.
I never forgot that moment. The moment I was salt. And I felt content that I had done what I was supposed to do. And then months later I got a call from the same gentleman. He seemed not to forget that moment either. He happened to be the coach of the professional hockey team in town, the Huntsville Havoc. He told me that the team was looking for its first chaplain and he wanted me to meet the owner of the team.
We met for lunch but cordial conversation quickly changed when the owner said “I am a Christian and I am not quite sure that I feel comfortable making an Adventist the chaplain of my team. So I have some questions I need answered.” This was another moment when I was sure that I was where I was supposed to be. Now I needed God to help me say what I was supposed to say.
He asked if we believe in the bible. “Your real question is what is the role of Ellen White. You read Christian authors right? And you think they are pretty good? Well there is this lady called Ellen White and I think she is pretty good too. And like all other authors if what she says does not line up with the bible I am free to toss it out.” He proceeded to ask me about my diet. “You have players that play for you. You expect them to keep their bodies in shape. Well I have a king who expects the same and if they can do that for you why should I not do it for my God.” His last question was about the Sabbath. “You expect your players to be at your practice on time correct? Well I serve a King whose practice times are sunset Friday to sunset Sabbath and He expects me to be there.”
At the end of our meeting I had no expectation of being the chaplain of the Huntsville Havoc but I did know I had said what God wanted me to say.
A year later the owner of the team joined my Facebook page. About 6 months after that I saw a message from him in my inbox. He wanted to meet with me. Sitting over some hot chocolate he told me that since the day in that restaurant, the Holy Spirit would not allow him to move on from my name. He said that he argued with God. How was he going to put this pastor of a cult in front of his team? And so for 6 months he read every post, looked at every picture. He laughed at the videos of my kids singing for family worship and responded to my request for prayer. This man, who passionately loves God, finally came to the conclusion that I passionately love Him too and there was no way that I was a part of a cult.
And so on October 16, in the locker room of the Von Braun Civic Center, a black Adventist pastor was introduced as the chaplain in a predominantly white sport. It has been an amazing, and honestly, unexpected experience filled miracles. God is breaking through what is unfamiliar and bringing together a small group of men for chapel time on Thursdays. But more than that God has made me a part of the team and a part of their lives.
I am where God wants me to be, and I am doing what He called me to do, and saying what He wants me to say. Never thought about ministry in this way, but now the arena is my sanctuary, the team is my church. And I friends am going ice fishing.