This past week, I had a birthday. It was not a significant birthday in terms of digits – meaning – it didn’t end in a 5 or 0. However, on my birthday, I took a catering order to a local credit union. I learned that the food was for someone who has been there for 30 years. That’s a long time at a company. One of her co-workers commented that she has co-workers who weren’t even born when she started working there.
This got me to thinking about where I was 30 years ago. The year 1985 was a fairly significant year in my life. A year earlier, I had started dating Pam and 1985 would be the year we got engaged. I was pursuing the direction I thought God was calling me in music. I was in a local Christian band and we had some success, but it was in the fall of 1985 that everything changed – so to speak.
I had a really good job at AT&T and was laid off. This resulted in me checking out some temporary employment. I ended up taking a temporary position through a temp agency at a company called Day-Timer, Inc. My position there was to take inbound calls that people were placing for their calendars. If you know me, I don’t like phones. My first inbound call, after 6 days of training was terrifying. I was so nervous that I shook uncontrollably. Fortunately the next couple of calls went much better. Over the next few months I got much better and I ended up being one of the last temporary employees laid off at the end of the season. (More on why I wasn’t hired then in a moment) The following fall, I was hired again – this time as a permanent employee and eventually that position led to me being hired in the Information Technology department. I really consider this job part of the process that God used to shape me into being a pastor and preparing me for the ministry. I learned how to relate to people and did some of my first public speaking during the later years of my time at Daytimer.
The second thing that happened in the fall of 1985 is the band that I was in was not going in the direction that I felt we needed to go and so I left the band. This would turn out to be significant, because for the first time since I started playing bass, I would not be in a band for several months. After being laid off, I answered an ad for The Continental Singers. This was a group based in Southern California that sent multiple groups (composed of 25 singers, a 9 piece band, and techs) literally around the world. I auditioned and was selected for a tour that would tour the West Coast, Alaska and the four western Providences of Canada. This really was a life changing moment and really began to solidify the call to ministry. God was not done forming me and preparing me yet – as I think about it – He continue to form and prepare me for ministry even now.
The third significant event was that I was questioning my relationship with Pam, but really felt – after a few weeks – that I should continue on – this really was the woman that He wanted me to marry. I felt strongly enough about it that we ended up engaged at Christmas. This was a challenge as I went on tour for three months the following year, but I believe it really developed us.
So, September of 1985 was a significant point in my life – I was learning like crazy and God was beginning to form me and continue the work in my life. It is amazing to see the work that God has done over the last thirty years. Thanks to some change in habits, I just may get to see another 30 years – if the Lord tarries and I stay in good health. I hope the next thirty, Lord willing, are just as significant.