Each of us lives our lives full of expectations. They may range from how we want our day to go to how we feel our year should play out. Whether or not we realize or ever communicate our expectations doesn’t change how big of an impact unmet expectations will have on our emotions and our lives.
Well, my name is Alex, a co-pastor of Blueprint Church in Fayetteville, AR and I am still living in Manhattan, KS.
To give a little bit of backstory, this church plant has been on my radar since my first trip to Fayetteville in the Spring of 2015. As my wife and I traveled to Northwest Arkansas with a group of friends, we began to prayerfully consider what God had in store for our future there. A few short months later and we had committed to moving to Fayetteville as part of the church planting team. The planning process continued over the next few years. Spring 2018 became our soft launch window, which basically meant to find jobs and move.
And here we are now. July 2018. I have applied to what seems like countless jobs since early Spring and have had at least six interviews and still no job. Being this far into the process, with most of the team in Fayetteville, my family not there, and no job, is NOT meeting my expectations. I expected to be there! I don’t know about you, but when my expectations aren’t met, I’m prone to frustration, worry, doubt, and sometimes anger. I tend to ask, “God, why am I not in Fayetteville, I should be there! Why haven’t You provided a means to get us there?!”
In my waiting for a job and not receiving one, here is what is actually going on in my mind. I’m saying, “God, I know You have said that You will take care of us, but I don’t believe You. I don’t think You’ll keep your promise.” It’s easy to fall into that pattern of thinking and allow it to take me a lot of not so great places. Instead, I try to remember verses like this one, “He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, because he was fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” (Romans 4.20-21 CSB).
This verse speaks of Abraham, who was promised by God to be the father of many nations, to have a son. Despite his and his wife’s old age, Abraham took God at His word and believed He would accomplish what was promised.
I was recently reminded of another verse that helps me when my expectations go unmet. “He did not even spare His own Son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything?” (Romans 8:32 CSB).
When I begin to doubt God’s goodness for my present situation, I remember how perfectly He has taken care of my eternity. No matter how my day, week, months, or year goes, no matter how bad things may seem to me, God is good!
• Jesus Changes Lives
I’m fortunate enough to have a family that loves me and cares for me. For a good portion of my life, I’m not sure if I ever met a person that wasn’t at least nice to me. That changed in seventh grade. Very quickly I learned that people would not accept me simply for who I was. Because I wanted their acceptance, I decided to go to the parties and start doing the drugs that I thought made people cool. Very quickly the drugs became an end in themselves. This was how my life went from junior high into my first two years of college. I ended up living two lives. One in front of my family and the other in front of my friends.
I feel like I got into the normal amount of trouble, but one day my two lives came crashing together. On Mother’s Day, I threw up in a church parking lot because I was hungover from the night before. This is really the moment that I realized that the path I was on was leading somewhere that I didn’t want to go. I loved my family and I wanted to change and be a son that lived as I loved them. I had been here before, though. A few months before this particular Mother’s Day, my friend Eric died in a
car wreck coming home from a party that I should have been at with him. This brought me face to face with death for the first time. The path that I was on lead to death. It was the logical conclusion to my actions and this was played out right in front of me. I tried to break my habits and live the life that I was raised to life, but it became quickly apparent that I was not able to do this on my own. On top of it all, I felt guilty and I was. I felt like a son who had run away from his wonderful loving parents…
At the end of that summer, I thought I might have a chance to turn over a new leaf and become a new man. I was going away to college! Maybe I’d be able to clean my act up and reconcile with my family. A week after moving out to college I found that I was the same person that left. I was still addicted to drugs and unable to show anyone love and respect. I was lost.
One day my friend Cody sat down with me. He used to go to the same parties and do the same drugs, but somehow his life had changed. He told me that he had decided to believe in Jesus – that Jesus was the son of God. Jesus said that He came to this world to save sinners, He said that He came to give sight to the blind and to set the captives free. I was a captive and I needed freedom. I had no power to be free from this path that leads to death, but Jesus had enough power to defeat death. He proved it when He died and rose from the grave. That sounded like really good news to me and I decided to believe in Jesus too.
I went to a party that next weekend and spent all Sunday throwing up. There was something different about this party though, I didn’t feel trapped. I didn’t feel guilty. Instead, I felt freedom to decide whether or not I was going to find myself in that situation again. I decided that parties were no longer for me and I found out that I had the power to live a different life than the one I was living before! Also, I quickly found that I could love and be honest with my parents. What a relief!
This is what Jesus has done for me. I truly believe He wants to use His power on your behalf also. I don’t know if you have ever been curious about Jesus, but I want to invite you to be – read about Him, talk about Him with your friends, or even pray to Him.
A Word From The Pastors
We are fully convinced that God is in control. He has and He will continue to take care of us.
Pray faithfully with us:
- That God would provide jobs for Alex and for Jeff and that they would be able to join us in Fayetteville very soon. (See these men and their families pictured above.)
- That God would give us a space to meet in on Sunday mornings.
- That God would help us to continue to live on a mission: connecting with and serving the people of Fayetteville through Christ’s love.
- That many would hear the Gospel, receive salvation, and be baptized.
Thank you so much for coming alongside us in trusting God and asking big things of Him. We’re so grateful for your support through the Coffee Cup Initiative.
Building Lives Centered on the Gospel,
Alex & Cody