Ten Years Later…

It was ten years ago today, on Nov. 1, 2002 that our ministry initiative, Chaplains at Work, was founded. Several months before that infamous day, I woke up one morning and had the name on my mind. It must have come to me sometime in the middle of the night. Anyway, I got online and checked for the domain registration and much to my surprise, it was available – it didn’t take long for me to register the name.

My friend Jonathan Byrd was still alive and well back then; and I set up a time to go see him and discuss the ministry idea I had. Primarily, Chaplains was set up to help people in career transition. But Jonathan made an interesting observation – one that I have remembered many times since. He said that people only ran into me when their lives were in any type of transition. For example, if you were between jobs, had marital issues, kid troubles, family dis-chord, etc. or were even in financial distress, you would probably hear about me from somebody. And if things were going really well, a person wouldn’t encounter me or need my assistance.

How true that has turned out to be. Once we organized into a 501(c)3 non-profit, Jonathan helped us with our first fundraiser in February of the following year, 2003. We raised more than $60,000 that evening as a result of Jonathan’s organizational skills – it was a real night to remember. I was in seminary at the time and had made arrangements to sell the staffing part of my company and enter ministry full time. In fact, that happened on November 1 as well. Of course, I had different plans than the Lord did – and since then, as you know, I have been drawn back into the corporate world, primarily working in the fields of team building and assisting women entrepreneurs.

Lord knows that I consider myself a much better corporate executive and a much better person in general for having attended seminary. And it all started with a tap on the shoulder from God urging me to follow His will for my life. Since Nov. 1, 2002, we have assisted thousands of people in career transition and now, as a result of a merger this past summer, my cousin and friend, David, has joined Chaplains as well. He has devoted his ministry career to assisting people in the financial stewardship areas and today our new website launches. It’s amazing how many things have all happened on Nov. 1st…

As I look back over the years, I could never have anticipated the things that God had in store for me and the ministry. Nowadays, although every once in a while we get a donation, the ministry is privately funded by loyal folks who have been with us for years. Two of our current board members have been with us from the start and nobody associated with Chaplains takes any compensation; and we don’t have any employees.¬†While this was a scary thought in the beginning, it has been a great lesson to depend on God for provision. My corporate business has been blessed beyond what I could ever have imagined and many other people have been blessed in the process as well. In fact, almost every significant event in my personal life during the last ten years can be traced back to assisting somebody in need. It all flows out of that fundamental truth. God expects us to put others first and to help those who need it.

I admit that there are still times that I need a reminder of this lesson. And I don’t go into things claiming that God will bless my effort. I just really get excited when I am able to assist somebody who needs help. Blessings just seem to follow. In fact, on occasion I should remember life balance. Because I tend to get too wrapped up in being busy and I need to restore balance in my life. I feel a little guilty about that at times, but if I don’t rest, then as my good friend Kevin reminded me, God will create times of rest for me, and it probably won’t be fun… just think oral surgery earlier this week…

The verse for tonight goes back to my friend Jonathan and the verse that he thought should be our foundational ministry verse. From Gal. 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” And what is that law? To love one another as He has loved us. My encouragement this evening is to take the step of faith and reach out to help others in need. That has been one of the most significant lessons in my entire life. In fact, it changed me. I think my family can attest to that… My prayer is that God will bless your effort and cause you even greater joy as you reap the blessings that come from a selfless life. Happy Anniversary, Chaplains. I can hardly wait to see what God has in store for the next 10 years… In the meantime, have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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