I'm learning that in God's value system place is secondary. People are primary.
When God leads us to a place, He's probably thinking of a face in that place. Bible College taught me that. When I felt God leading me to Central Bible College I figured it was because he wanted me in Missouri. Looking back I think His leading had more to do with people who would be there.
As a student I was drawn to one of my professors. His name was Ron Bradley. He's a mentor. He valued students, and I was drawn to that.
So I asked Brother Bradley if I could spend some time with him. It started out okay. I wanted to learn and Brother Bradley had alot to teach. But it seemed surface. Incidentally at that time, alot of my relationships seemed surface.
It all turned at lunch one afternoon in the cafeteria. We were eating and talking but both of us could sense we were missing our hearts. I'll never forget that lunch. I journeyed to a place of transparency that was unique for me and our friendship has meant the world to me ever since.
We used to talk alot about prejudice. As my first African American mentor, Ron Bradley introduced me to a value that I now hope will shape the rest of my ministry. We dream of building Church of the King to be a blended church. In 35 or 40 years when I hang up my spikes, I dream of leaving behind a trail of lead church planters who represent every ethnic persuasion in our city. I feel like God wired me for this. At least I know it makes me passionate. I just didn't know it until God awakened the dream through my friendship with Ron Bradley.
Ron Bradley has preached at our church every July the last 4 years. He was with us yesterday and delivered a practical teaching about loving God. Then last night I got to spend the evening with his family. We talked and dreamed and laughed and cried. Good times:)
By the way, while our friendship is current, his fro is not. The picture at the top is not for public redistribution. I could only get away with posting it because I'm pretty sure he doesn't read my blog:)