The "Messy Uncomfortable" Project - A giant leap of faith in the Golden Years - Phase 1
A project by Carolyn Lamberth
In 1982, life changed for Rob. He was in a great job, married to the love of His life,Kathi - his high school sweetheart that he had grown up with in church and who loved the Lord and her family with her whole heart. Together they had two beautiful, growing children. Rob was young, but he and Kathi were very active leaders in one of the largest churches in their hometown with Rob directing the church ministry education program and Kathi serving in various aspects in the church's music ministry. Together they were also leading and growing a vibrant college age ministry in the chuch they had grown up in. Life was going well in it's present, comfortable state, surrounded by friends and family, but God revealed to Rob during this time that He needed him to surrender to full time ministry.
Rob wasn't born into a family where college funds were readily available. He was working every day, albeit in a job he liked, but working a full time job to provide for the essential needs of his family. The questions were obviously there - "How God am I to pay for this type of endeavor for four years of undergrad college and then a cross country move and an additional two to three years of Seminary?"
Rob knew that proceeding forward with what He knew God was calling him to do was going to take not only financial sacrifice, but also, it would be a HUGE step of faith. Regardless, Rob knew God was truly calling him, and so he surrendered to the call of ministry in 1982, and He has served him faithfully since in Texas, FL, NC and Georgia.
Throughout that time, He has seen God do some amazing things, not only in ministry, but in the the life of his family. He has NEVER regretted following God's call, but 2011 was a year that changed his and Kathi's life in a way that "rocked their world."
A life surrendered to full time ministry can be incredibly rewarding, but it is also incredibly MESSY, but the wonderful thing is that God calls us to live a "messy" life - to be in the trenches embracing the weak, the destitute, the hurting, those that have hurt us, the lonely, the ill, the lost, and all the while leading them to our wonderful Jesus through His word and our words, actions, and deeds. God never called us to the comfortable, and Rob and Kathi have most definitely learned that God often uses the "uncomfortable messy" to bring us to a full dependency upon Him. They have and still are learning that through our complete dependency upon Him, he can truly make BEAUTY from ASHES.
Through the years, ministry and life itself has presented its challenges, as it does for us all. Rob has walked many roads with his family through ministry transitions and through major health crises for each person in his immediate family at different times.
Through each and every situation, God has been faithful to ultimately show or provide the "next steps" for Rob's family or sometimes, simply the "strength to walk the road". The last few years of Rob's ministry have been no different. It has been a time where Rob has "LEANED IN". He has waited patiently , listened for God's direction, and continued to serve. Ultimately, he has trusted (even through normal human insecurities and fears) that, God, in His providential way, would make a way. The truths of 2 Corinthians 1:4 have been ever etched upon both Rob and Kathi's heart, and have helped them, in turn, more effectively minister to others experiencing struggles in their own lives.
2 Corinthians 1:4
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
Upon approaching 60, and after extensive searches for new ministry positions within the church setting, Rob began to feel that God was preparing a different type of ministry than he had previously been serving in. He wasn't quite sure at first what that would ultimately look like, but Rob and Kathi began to fervently seek God in prayer and joined with mentors and family and friends in prayer about God's desire for his next steps in ministry. Rob had truly come to a place of complete openness to anything God would lead him to do - beyond denominational "walls" , and ultimaltely, He was completely open to full time ministry not only inside the church walls, but beyond. Through this time, God has continued to increasingly show Rob through his current employment and pastoral position how our great God is calling His "called" to be pastoring outside the doors of the church even more today than ever before.
Through time spent meditating on God's word, extended time in individual and corporate prayer with family and friends, a series of events and circumstances,and ultimately, God's divine prompting, Rob is embarking on a new ministry venture even in his early 60s of full time Chaplaincy. The series of events and encounters that have lead up to this transition are nothing short of God's divine intervention and leading, and even at the age of 61, Rob is excited for what God is going to do.
His plans had NOT included returning to school post doctorate while continuing to work full time, but God in his providential way had other plans. Now, Rob and Kathi are stepping out in complete faith as this is a "raise your own funds" ministry endeavor as neither his current pastoral position or secular work employment can fullly fund this journey. Once again, Rob is working every day to provide for the every day needs of his family and trusting and believing that God is going to provide the funding for this next endeavor. Retirement funds have been exhausted as Rob and Kathi have fervently and patiently waited on God's timing, trusting Him with their every need - knowing that He is good and able to provide.
This giant LEAP of faith will ultimately bring Rob to a ministry of full time chaplaincy. Under the teaching of the PACE Counseling and Training Center, Rob is in the process of obtaining his first unit of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) and will continue in additional unit courses with the Atlanta Chapter of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy and will be obtaining his clinical Chaplaincy hours with the Coliseum Medical Center of Macon, GA.
To some this may seem like a CRAZY pursuit for one in his early sixties with no retirement to show for, but to one who believes that God is the "provider" of all needs and one that believes that God places no age discrimination on His callings, it is a step of Faith - a giant step of Faith. Rob and Kathi eagerly look forward to all that God has in store for them on this journey, the lives that he will be used to impact for God's kingdom, and ultimately the Glory that God will receive through it all. Age is not a factor in God's calling.
We can see all through scripture where God calls people of all ages to embark on new ventures for His divine purposes and ultimate glory. Moses and Aaron were the ages of 80 and 83 when God called them to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage. Joshua and Caleb were both past their 80s when God used them in a mighty way. We see in the book of Joshua, that Joshua was given the charge of leading the conquest of Canaan during the LAST THIRTY YEARS of his life and he lived until the age of 110. Caleb was very much involved in this same conquest and he was in his 80s. Did you realize that Daniel was well past 80 when he served as one of the three governors over the kingdom of Babylon , when he was thrown into the lion's den, when he prospered in the reigns of Darius and Cyrus the Persian, and when he received a series of visions?
We could go on and on, but the truth is God continues using those whom He has called and are willing to be used, well into and past their Golden years.
Rob firmly believes in the truth of Hebrews 13:20 -21 for individuals of all ages, and he believes it to be the case upon the calling of his own life right now.
Hebrews 12:20 - 21 tells us: May the God of peace who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will and may he work in us what is pleasing to hiim, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Please prayerfully consider joining and supporting Rob and Kathi on this LEAP of faith as they embark on this next phase of ministry. Total Fundraising efforts will be divided over four phases with this one being the first. Donated funds will help cover the expenses of each unit of CPE course work, required Chaplaincy conferences and expenses associated with program transfers later in the journey. For now, our first phase will end in early January.
Maybe God has used Rob and Kathi to minister to you in some way over the years. Maybe He has used Rob's children, and you know in some way that, that it is a reflection of the way that Rob and Kathi engrained in their children God's call to minister to others for each and every one of us. MAybe you just have read Rob's story for the first time, and you feel that God is prompting you to help bring this man through this time of "Faith based" ministry into a new full time calling. Maybe you are past the age of 60 , and after reading this, you now feel inspired to seek God for what your "next steps" should be. Maybe you are one that realizes that your life truly has become fairly "comfortable" and you are feeing led to allow God to bring the "uncomfortable messy" into your life if for His glory. Whatever the reason, we are asking that you prayerfully consider giving to this fundraising effort- this giant leap of faith into the "uncomfortable messy". Above all else, we are asking for your continued and committed prayers for ROb and Kathi as they walk this road. It is a road of unknowns - trusting God to meet needs and to carry them through.
May we all be willing to get "messy" and be a bit "uncomfortable".
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Anonymousabout 2 years agoI might be bentiag a dead horse, but thank you for posting this!
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Carolyn Lamberth more than 3 years agoFather God,Thank you for all those who have taken the time to read Rob's story today. Thank you in advance for all that you will do through this new ministry endeavor that Rob and Kathi are embarking on as well. We pray that you use this fundraising effort to ultimately bring glory to you. We pray that through this new ministry needs will be met, your love will be shown, and hearts and lives will be changed for eternity. In your great name we pray. Amen.
Carolyn Lamberth more than 3 years agoFather God,We thank you for showing your will, and we thank you for all you are going to do through this new ministry venture. We eagerly look forward to the lives that will be affected and changed by the power of Jesus Christ working through Rob. Father God, we believe in your provisions, and we pray that you will be with Rob and Kathi throughout this entire journey. We have faith that you, God, provide for what you call us to do, and we trust that you are going to work all things according to your will and plan. Please be with both Rob and Kathi as they continue to serve in ministry in Macon, GA. Please be with Rob as he works very late hours and has early mornings as well with his current job and as he is now also attending classes and doing clinical hospital hours for the program. Continue to keep them healthy as they are embarking on more than many seek to do in the early 60s. We thank you, GOd, in advance for all you are going to do in and through their ministry and lives. IN your great name we pray. Amen.