Appointed by God
Hebrews 3:2 ‘He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God‘s house’.
Four weeks later and Jason was still trying to get over the new revelation he had received from Miles and Paul. He had managed to tell his wife, Lorraine, which was just as shocking to her as it was to Jason.
The couple were coping well, considering the situation, and the two other pastors, Paul and Miles, were very pleased with the couple’s maturity.
There was a scheduled meeting with the leadership team, which consisted of all senior leaders, with the exception of Paul – he wasn’t up to it. The main subject in discussion Pastor Miles felt would make others feel uncomfortable, so present were the pastors, teachers, small group leaders and cluster group leaders. The meeting was to discuss the future plans of the church and mostly to bring people up to speed on Jason’s pastoralship of the church which they had mixed feelings about; some were excited and others felt it was a lack of faith, giving in so soon and not being prepared to pray it through to the bitter end.
But Pastor Miles put some people’s hearts at rest.
‘I know that some of the team and members of the church feel that I’m giving up on my son, and I might add that Paul wanted to be here this evening, but I said that it would be uncomfortable for some of you, and now I know why, because it’s a lack of faith with some of you and other members of the church. Paul hasn’t been condemned to a death, if I may add, and I say ‘if’ my son Paul does die, its not death; its liberation of his soul. As believers why do we get so het up about death? It’s our glorious beginning not our ending. We live on you know.’
Pastor Miles began to get carried away with the emotion of it all. Miles had great faith and truly believed that his son would get healed. Jason stepped in to try and calm the situation down before he started to preach a lengthy sermon.
‘But the main reason of this meeting is that if Paul is healed, great, praise God, but in the meantime we still have to deal with the running of a busy and active church, and for the record I think Pastor Miles was right to take a lead on this and help us. After all, Pastor Miles is supposed to be retired, so we should be grateful for his time and his gifts especially with the emotional tie of his son being so seriously ill and the future of a church he planted twenty years ago. He is acting on the benefit of the church. And when I say church I speak of the people, the heart of any active church in service to this community.’ Jason said it but he couldn’t believe what he’d just said out loud. Miles was proud of what he had just said and was reaffirmed that Jason was the right man to lead the church on after his son’s glorious meeting with the Lord.
Most of the people bowed their heads in shame, some nodded in agreement but one started to clap.
It was Rachel; she was a cluster group leader and was responsible for a number of small groups that met in homes in the surrounding area, mostly young people. She had great gifting and a heart for the lost. The pastors saw great potential in her.
Rachel then stood up and gestured to the others to do likewise. They all did it, with others clearly doing it in protest but this didn’t bother Rachel and she clapped on regardless.
‘I’d like to say something if I may.’
The clapping stop so Rachel could address them. ‘I really respect Jason and the man who thought it was right to put him in place here, Pastor Paul. He is a great man, a man of honour, and mostly, a true man of God, and God couldn’t do better by taking him from us if he wishes. God knew the plan before all this happened so we should not doubt Him either. Thank you.’ Rachel sat down with a great smile on her face.
‘Thank you Rachel,’ Jason said and Miles nodded his appreciation also.
The meeting went on for another hour or so discussing other issues and the day-to-day problems of a busy church.
In closing, the last thing on the agenda was the true reason for the meeting.
‘I have a request of you; you are the engine room of the church after all. Please pray about this issue. We do need to appoint an assistant to help Jason and myself in these last, last…’ Pastor Miles struggled for the right way to say it. ‘Well, we don’t know when or how long we have with my son, Pastor Paul, I just thought it was a need that’s all.’
The other leaders could see that Pastor Miles was getting upset and agreed to pray for an assistant.
‘Just one more thing; the person we need has to be a person that is not already involved in anything in church, so can give a hundred per cent to the assisting of Jason and myself, that’s all.’
Jason then closed in prayer and people started to get ready to leave but as people were moving about he made eye contact with Rachel and mouthed, ‘Thanks for that.’ Rachel leaned in, trying to hear what Jason was trying to say.
‘Thanks for what you said,’ Jason said again, as Rachel got within a few feet of him to hear more clearly. Jason whispered so others wouldn’t hear.
‘If you don’t mind, Rachel, the other pastors and I would like you to stay for a moment after everyone else has left for a quite word.’ Jason felt awkward for asking, knowing full well of the implications of why she was to stay behind.
Pastor Paul walked in after the meeting had finished and everyone had left and gave his father a big hug.
Pastor Miles, Paul and Jason sat down with Rachel. Rachel wasn’t nervous at all; she was used to the pressure, after all, in her day job she was a manager and sister on a very busy intensive care ward at the local hospital and she was used to working under great pressure.
‘So, what is it that you want to speak to me about?’ Rachel’s mind raced thinking what on earth could they want with her. ‘Was it the standing up and the clapping? If it was, I’m sorry?’
‘No, Rachel. That was fine and was greatly appreciated.’
Paul interrupted – ‘What standing up and clapping?’
‘Never mind. I’ll tell you later, Paul. Jason was on great form tonight I may add.’
Rachel was a pastor’s pastor, helping and caring for the needs of her leaders and she had great respect and genuine love for all of them. ‘So how are you, Paul, really?’
Paul quickly realised that she was asking as a nurse, not as a regular person would ask just to be polite. ‘Er, well, not too bad under the circumstances. I’d say I was holding my own, thanks Rachel.’
‘Well thanks for staying behind, Rachel, so we could have a quick word with you.’ Miles was nervous and Rachel could tell. It was unusual to see Pastor Miles so nervous addressing someone that he knew well.
‘Well, there’s something we would like to ask you, well put to you, well get your opinion on.’
‘Come on, Dad. Spit it out man.’
Rachel was so shocked to see the father and son relationship acted out so vividly in front of her.
But Miles had every right to be nervous and so was Jason, just realising why they had asked Rachel to stay for a moment, but Paul wasn’t; Paul was anxious to get the ball rolling, so to speak. Paul wasn’t sure of his time left; his life line was ebbing away. Each day that passed without an active Master Disciple in place before he went on to be with the Lord, played on Paul’s mind like a lead weight.
‘So, what is it that you all want then?’ Rachel was puzzled at this unprompted meeting and then put two and two together. The last request from the meeting was to pray about an assistant for Jason and Miles. ‘But I couldn’t possibly do it,’ Rachel thought.
Pastor Miles stepped up to ask Rachel the burning question on all their hearts. ‘Rachel we’ve asked you to stay for a moment just to ask you about your husband, Adam, and ask, if we may, if he was involved in anything in church lately.’ Pastor Miles and the other pastors held their breaths a moment.
‘Well, you know that Adam and I stopped leading the youth group when Grace was born last August.’
Miles interrupted – ‘Yes, yes, but is he involved in anything that we wouldn’t necessarily know about?’
Paul could see that his father was getting more impatient especially with the regular meeting running over.
Rachel also noticed Pastor Miles’ impatience so she got on with it, totally unaware of what her answers would mean and where it could potentially lead.
‘Well, Adam’s involved in his prison work and the men’s development group, but that’s about it, but I might add, he is starting to reduce how much time he’s devoting to them, especially with Grace beginning to be more active now that she’s nearly nine months old.’ Rachel was starting to get the idea now; they had Adam sized up for this new role.
‘Well we would like to see Adam for a meeting, maybe tomorrow if that was alright with Adam and yourself.’
‘Well, yes of course. I’ll have to ask him first, but I think it will be fine. What time should I tell him to come? Don’t forget he’s at work till four thirty.’ Rachel was speaking for her husband; she was also intrigued by this and couldn’t wait to tell Adam.
‘Well, ask him to be here for about five then. We’ll be here waiting.’ Pastor Miles was egger to get the ball rolling so to speak and didn’t mind staying after five.
‘But isn’t that the time when you all leave?’ Rachel’s suspicions grew and she was more intrigued by the urgency of the meeting with her husband. ‘What could this be all about?’ she thought.
With that all arranged Pastor Miles closed the meeting without even praying, which even the other pastors thought was odd. Rachel looked to Paul and Jason, and they just shrugged their shoulders.
As Rachel walked towards the door she passed Paul. ‘I wouldn’t worry about it; he’s just anxious for you to get home so Adam doesn’t worry where you are, that’s all.’
Rachel rushed home, so excited to tell Adam of the odd behaviour of the pastors and their strange request to see him. She pulled onto the driveway and the passive infrared set the security light on, which alerted Adam, he then came to the front door to greet her.
‘Hi, Hon. Long meeting, ah? You’re a little later than usual.’ Adam noticed Rachel had something on her mind.
‘I’ll put the kettle on, we’ll sit round the table and talk about it, ok?’ Adam started to think it was bad news, and Rachel could sense it a mile away; the stricken look that his face had turned to was a dead give away.
‘No, Adam, the meeting was fine; it was what happened after the meeting that freaked me out and the reason I’m later than usual.’
‘Why, what happened then, Rach?’
‘Jason asked me if I would stay behind after the main meeting with the other pastors, then Paul came in and sat down with us all. I thought they were going to ask me how I was doing or words to that affect, but no; they started asking me about you and what you were doing for the church at the moment.’
‘So what did you say to that then?’ Adam was nervous at why they would ask for him.
‘I told them about your prison work and the men’s development group.’
‘Then what?’ Adam thought the worst ‘Maybe I should have told them about the men’s group and asked before I set it up.’
‘It’s not about that. The pastors want to see you tomorrow at five for a meeting.’ ‘What’s it about, Rachel?’ Adam always got nervous around the pastors when dealing with them in a professional capacity.
Adam and Rachel had been married for five years and in that time had lead the church youth group very successfully. It was a hundred strong and had fifteen other sub youth leaders and all those had a cell group; a cell group consisted of three to four (a maximum of six) young people, who all had to be organized by the couple every week as well as a mid-week home group meeting for around twenty other youth members that couldn’t make the Friday youth meeting.
Rachel had already been involved in the church for five years before they married.
Adam joined the church in 1992. He always respected God, but never truly believed until that same year he lost a best friend in a tragic car accident. He began asking a lot of questions and found himself at church, and ultimately finding God.
As you could tell, the couple were very busy and since taking a long overdue break from things, the couple were now a trio with the birth of their first child, Grace.
As Adam lay there in bed that night, his thoughts went to the first time he was in church after that tragic accident, and with his first meeting with Pastor Paul, but Adam, not being of a church background, just called him, by the informal name of just ‘Paul’ and it stuck from that day on. Paul and the other pastors didn’t really mind that much, they were just glad that the church was the first place that Adam had been to after the accident for good council and to reflect on his own life and where it was going.
That night Adam couldn’t sleep. He tossed and turned for hours until he finally fell asleep, so anxious about the meeting the next day.
Adam sat in his car in the rush hour, traffic was building (it was a typical Monday morning), tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. His mind and thoughts pondered many things but one was clear, very clear – he was bored. He ached to find out what the meeting was all about, but that was at the end of his day.
‘Ten years. Ten years. I know I’ve been there for what seems a lifetime already, but can something happen today, for goodness sake!’ was the thought running through Adam’s troubled mind.
Or was it a prayer?
Only a few nights before, his very own pastor, Pastor Miles, was in a darkened alley meeting with the Billionaire business tycoon Derek Greyer – a very cloak and dagger affair. But Adam was completely oblivious to that sitting there watching the traffic light sequence change for the third time without a single car moving. It was hugely frustrating for Adam; he had memorized the traffic light sequences for most of the city. Adam worked for the Government and had spent time in the city’s planning department and had vast experience in the traffic management of the entire road network. Yes, he was very meticulous, and he would often admit it himself. But at times like this it was useful and yet annoying at the same time.
His mind raced and he found solace in mental arithmetic. It was sometimes the only way he found of alleviating the mindless boredom of it all. ‘Okay, it’s a thirty second sequence with four way traffic signals, plus two filter lanes that came on at peak traffic times, such as now.’ Adam’s mind raced, calculating all the figures allowing the eight second delay on each sequence for the traffic to clear to allow the next lane of traffic to move on. ‘A potential four minute wait, or 228 seconds, again,’ he thought to himself. He had a real knack for figures and could calculate multiple numbers in his head in just seconds. That’s probably why the twenty-eight year-old was the youngest in his department.
His current job was Health and Safety consultant; he had other duties for the Government. He started his apprenticeship when he left school at just sixteen with no formal qualifications he could call his own. Well, maybe a sports diploma; he excelled at sports or anything physical.
He had worked up from the bottom, literally learning the basics of building and maintenance and had worked on the roads for many years, constructing many of the city’s road networks until a few years ago when he got into management. The promotion was long overdue, even for a man as young as him.
Many people noticed the potential in him, right from his first completely managed, engineered, full road construction project. His meticulous nature rubbed off into many parts of his life and it was only now he had started to calm down and mellow a little. That’s what fatherhood does to you; he had become a father for the first time earlier that year, and it had its advantages. He could sometimes and only sometimes be a little disorganised like he was this morning.
After a twelve minute wait he was moving at last and on his way to work. He would pass many of the guys he worked with when he was an apprentice, occasionally they would still wave or stop him for a quick chat.
He had a lot of respect for what he called the ‘backbone of the workforce’ being the guys on the ends of those shovels. It was often a thankless task working in all weathers under massive pressure to perform with strained budgets and elevating costs. But Adam often fought their corner and it was the main reason for his current position: to keep their welfare his main priority. The respect was mutual; the men on the roads would really appreciate a visit from Adam when on a safety matter. Well that’s what he called it in the office. They only knew he’d be there for a chat or a quick cuppa in the site hut.
In the eyes of others he had it made, but recently he’d been a little bored with it all. He’d pretty much gotten out as much as he could get out of his job and, at the end of the day, that’s all it was – just a job. He had never called it a career or thought of it being a particularly noble task; he just knew he needed to be there for the men that had been there for him when he was younger.
But now change was on the horizon. But would the change be of benefit, and whom would be the benefactor?
It was finally time for the meeting and Adam had, had a terrible day at work to top it off, but after he’d finished his day job he was on his way. He decided to give Rachel a call.
Adam called Rachel from the car on his way to the church on the hands free.
‘Hi, Rachel, it’s Adam. Just thought I’d give you a quick call to say I was ok and on my way to church.’
‘Thanks, Hon. Are you nervous at all?’
‘Yes, just can’t think what this is all about, Rach.’
‘Don’t worry too much. It can’t be too bad. At the end of the day they are men of God. What news can be worth worrying about from a team of pastors, eh?’
‘Ok, Rach. Thanks for the encouragement. I needed it after the day I’ve had.’
‘Why? What’s wrong?’
‘I’ll tell you all the details later. Let’s just say I could have just quit, that’s how bad a day. I’ll see you later. Love you.’
‘Love you too.’
Rachel was nervous but at the same time excited for her husband and just couldn’t wait for him to come back and tell of what went on at this mysterious meeting. But no man was as nervous as Adam. He drove his pride and joy, his classic VW Golf Gti, in to the church car park. Adam loved his cars and although his Golf was a little worn around the edges, the car was in good condition for its age, apart from a little rust around the front headlight. The car was what Adam called the ‘shopping trolley’; it had done all the running about that a family needed to do – over a hundred and thirty thousand miles but it still drove like new. Adam had a real issue with new cars and felt so strongly about it that he only drove cars that had genuine character. He felt that the Golf Gti was the car that summed him up – relatively young, very reliable, and a bit quirky. And that’s all that Adam could think of – cars. It was one of the subjects that could subdue him; it was the only subject where Adam was a true genius.
As Adam got out the car Jason was there to greet him.
Jason knew Adam really well and knew how to calm the nerves. Jason nodded to Adam and said, ‘Still got that old Golf, eh?’
‘They are good cars. They don’t make ’em like that anymore, and if they did I’d just buy another one just like it. Hiyah, Jason. Good to see you.’
‘It’s even better to see you, and I can speak for Paul and Miles when I say this. We are glad that you have come today.’
Adam was surprised by how Jason made Adam feel; he made him feel like a special guest, a member of royalty, the only thing missing was the red carpet, Adam thought.
The walk up to Paul’s office was a nervous one, but Adam held it together.
Pastor Paul, Pastor Miles and now Pastor Jason, quickly followed by a nervous looking Adam, gathered in the already tension-filled office. Before anything was discussed, the Pastor’s were on edge, especially Pastor Miles.
But how was Pastor Miles going to broach a subject that had been kept secret to non-family members for over six generations? More importantly; how was he going to ask a man to do a job without telling him the secret – the absolute truth?
‘Sorry if I’m a bit late, guys.’ Adam had no problem with addressing the pastors that way and neither did the Pastors. It was a warm release from all the formality of church life, and was one of the reasons that they liked Adam and Rachel so much.
‘No problem, Adam, and anyway you’re not that late, only a few minutes and it’s only expected when you’ve just finished work,’ said Pastor Miles. He could see that Adam was nervous so he spoke softly so not to unnerve him.
Adam just nodded in agreement.
‘How is your work, anyway? Is it going well?’
‘Well I could have easily quit after the kind of day I’ve had, and that’s all I have to say about that, thank you very much.’ Adam was trying his hardest to relaxed, but it was just coming over as aggressiveness and he was soon to notice it himself. ‘Sorry if that sounded a bit rash of me. It’s the work coming out of me.’
‘There’s no need to apologise,’ Paul said, seeing the very thing, the very quality that Adam needed to have to become a Master Disciple: the ability to switch moods from a passive to a defensive personality in a moment.
Paul was excited and his father could read him like a book. Paul’s whole body language had changed from someone nervous to a person who had the weight of the world lifted from his shoulders.
‘Anyway, guys. What’s this all about? You really freaked Rachel out last night with this request.’
‘We are very sorry about that. It’s because we don’t want anyone to know about this little meeting, that’s all. It’s of a delicate subject.’ Miles was quick to answer Adam but Paul quickly butted in to ask the next question.
‘We have a strange request of you, Adam. You know about my condition and that even though we still have great faith in God that I could get healed from my ailments we still have the matter of business as usual to take care of.’
‘So myself, Pastor Miles and Pastor Jason have been praying and seeking God on a number of issues and one particular, a special kind of ‘helper’ in the church and the wider community.’
‘Helper? What kind of helper?’
Pastor Miles spoke up. ‘You’d better sit down for this, Adam; this information is going to come as bit of a shock to you.’
Pastor Miles and the other Pastor’s began to tell Adam the story they had told Jason just only a few weeks ago, and came all the same interruptions and the same shock to Adam’s belief system.
Adam was seriously shocked by this new revelation, but at the same time intrigued by it – a similar reaction to Jason’s hearing of the news.
But Adam questioned it over and over asking deep-rooted questions that challenged Pastor Miles to his core.
Paul stepped up and just came out with it, the burning question on all their lips. ‘So what do you think, Adam?’
Adam just shrugged and said, ‘Think of what? I don’t know what to think after hearing that for the first time.’
‘Jason told us of your skill and your clear gifting in areas that could be of benefit to all concerned.’
‘Wow! I’m starting to get the picture now, guys. You know I’m a little slow to catch on after hearing that, but I think I know where this is heading. You want me to a Master Disciple, don’t you?’ Adam got up from his seat and started to panic a little. ‘Paul, I’m flattered by the sentiment, and Pastor Miles, thanks that you would even consider me to be the replacement for your son in this role but what makes you all so sure of my ability? I’ve just become a dad for the first time, and that’s been a new challenge to get used to. What makes you so sure? Please tell me, cause I can’t see it, please.’
Adam was getting a little jittery and needed to calm down a little. Jason stepped up this time. ‘Adam, if it’s any consolation they only told me this news a few weeks ago and I was just has shocked by it as you.’
‘Yeah, but did they ask you to become an M.D after they’d told?’ Jason just nodded. ‘See that’s why I think I have the right to be a little more shocked, ok, Jason.’
‘I’m sorry, Adam. It was probably me that lead the pastors to even consider you.’ Adam paused in his stepping around Paul’s office to listen to Jason confess to the true reason why Adam was there in the first place.
‘You remember the time when you helped me to shed those few extra pounds that I gained when Jessica was born and I couldn’t get enough time to go the gym, so you devised that little home exercise programme for me? Well, I told Paul and Miles that you kept really fit and you did a little martial arts when you were younger, and that you kept it up for your own personal fitness programme.’
Adam sat back down in shock. He was still: still in mind and body; no movement at all. It was like he was meditating on something and the pastors dare not disturb him in what seemed to be a deep spiritual thought. Pastor Miles dared to speak first and bring Adam out of his spiritual coma. ‘Adam! Adam!’
Adam looked up to acknowledge Miles. That’s just what he did – look, but it was such a look that disturbed Paul and Jason but not Miles; it reminded him of his youth and his fiery temper.
Miles continued like nothing had happened. ‘Jason tells us that your garage is some sort of gym and that you train regularly.’
Adam’s fiery disposition was tamed momentarily, as Miles got up from his seat and pulled on the same dusty old bible that Jason had pulled on, only a few weeks earlier, to reveal the secret passageway down to the Master Disciple training room.
All the pastors followed Miles’ lead and headed down the staircase to the training room. Pastor Miles reached out his hand to Adam. ‘Come, Adam. You will enjoy this I assure you.’
Adam got up from the seat and followed Miles down to where he saw a room so filled with equipment he thought he was in a professional gymnasium. He shook his head in disbelief and took a quick glace at his watch. He had totally been unaware of the time and over two hours had passed; it was quarter past seven.
‘I’d better give Rachel a call. She’ll be worried sick.’
Adam gave Rachel a call on his mobile phone, and within a couple of rings Rachel answered.
‘What’s going on? You’ve been ages. Are you on your way back now?’ Rachel was so eager to know what had gone on; Adam was struggling to get a word in.
‘I’m still at church, Rach. I’ve just lost track of time here with the Pastors.’
‘Going well then?’ Rachel interrupted, so excited to hear the news, but would she continue to be once she realizes what the news entailed and most of all would she understand the truth of it all or would it all come as a shocking conclusion.
‘Rachel, I can’t talk now. I’ll be with you soon.’ Adam had no idea how he was going to broach the notion of considering their offer or even how he was going to tell her the story he was hearing for the first time. He was struggling to even think, but now was a time to just listen to what the pastors had to say, so Adam focused his mind back on the situation at hand. He quickly shook his head to regain his focus and continued to look around the training room. Adam was awestruck; the training room was amazing. His mind simply forgot the agenda and walked gingerly over to the bunch bag hanging still, with just one thought on his mind: ‘Let’s see if I can get that moving.’ Adam jumped over the weights bench and in one fluid motion completed a spinning round-house kick with such power the bag folded and swung out of control, then Adam simply bunch it to bring it to a full stop without any hint of movement. The pastors were amazed to see such a magnificent show of talent and gifting in a man that was such a devout believer and what society would deem a weak person because of it.
Adam apologised for his outburst, which the pastors were more than happy to witness.
Pastor Miles thought to himself, ‘A man of God with a God-given talent. We will train him, and he will become a mighty Master Disciple: a Master Disciple that will complete the task at hand: an M.D that will end the evil Dark Lord’s walk on earth forever.’
‘What are you so happy about? What’s with the huge smile, Dad?’ Paul asked his father.
‘It’s just that I’m so glad that we decided to ask Adam. He is perfect. He has such skill and a talent that he will bring a new freshness and, most importantly, gifting to the role of Master Disciple. Did you see that kick, Paul? It was amazing.’
Jason and Adam had moved on to the running machine and he was asking how he and his wife Lorraine had coped with the news of seeking a new Master Disciple out from the church, to which no one else would have knowledge of.
‘Adam, that is an interesting question and I’ve asked it myself a million times, but I always get the same answer back; it’s God’s mission and he will bring about order in the chaos. We just have to trust his judgement and also the leaders he has appointed to lead over us. God has obviously given us these leaders, because of their gifting and you can clearly see their importance; just look at the major attack on their faith with Paul’s illness, and they still get up and fight on. I feel it a privilege to work with such men of God.’
Jason’s speech had a profound affect on Adam and he quickly grabbed hold of Jason’s arm and pulled him towards Paul and Miles, talking excitedly about the prospect of Adam becoming the new Master Disciple, but would the reality of it all be too much? And without thinking of the dire consequences, Adam spoke to the three pastors directly, and said, ‘I’ve decided to take you up on your offer. It would be an honour to become a Master Disciple and be the protector of this church. I would like some time to talk it over with Rachel and get her blessing on this because I dare say it will have a profound affect on her spiritually as well, but at this moment my heart is saying yes.’