FINDING GOD IN THE RUINS – Ministry Launch

Three and a half months ago I did the highly uncomfortable thing and resigned my position at Northview Church. It was a good thing, because for the past several years God has been doing a new work in my life.

I never planned to see the pain in my life used for anything. I was cool with minor setbacks being used – I could share about my day-to-day struggles – but to talk about the abuse, the alcoholism, my chaotic childhood and my struggle to recover? It was nowhere on my “things to do before I’m an old man” life-list.

But all that has changed.

Dan Allender says, “It’s out of our wounds – from the core ache within us, that we find our calling.” This little statement has become the hallmark mantra for the life I’m choosing to live – for the calling that seems to have chosen me.

Over the last several years, I’ve written blogs of confession, of process, of looking for God without a clue as to where he was, and of finding him in the most unlikely of places. And when I found him, he was sitting smack dab in the middle of my brokenness…waiting on my return. At first I was cautious…I absolutely did NOT trust him. But then I watched him sift every dark moment of my life through his fingers. I came closer and implored that he do something to make it all disappear.

But those ashes, the ruins of my life, burned even brighter as I watched him turn them into what has unimaginably and beautifully become my life’s purpose.

Healing – for you, for me…for all of us.

Grateful is an understatement for the journey I’ve been on – a journey so many others haven’t yet found the path for.

After each blog article I posted, many of you emailed, or private messaged me on Facebook, or simply hit me up in the Starbucks parking lot. I’ve never turned someone away because of time. I don’t know that I will always be able to do this…but for now I say, “Yes, let’s meet up and see what we can figure out.”

I’m not a licensed counselor – I simply share my path and the things in life I’ve discovered to be true for me – which are:

1 – You are not alone in your struggle. It may feel like you’re the only one. Trust me. There are more people facing down your problem than you can possibly imagine.

2 –  I fully believe you can be well.

3 – God accepts you where you are. (Give me a second to elaborate on this one.) You can be mad at him, ask him “why?” You can threaten to leave him…or if you really need, you can actually leave him. He won’t be wringing his hands in heaven wondering what to do with you. He won’t be alarmed. He loves you and wants to make things right. But if you do leave, try to keep one tiny corner in your heart (even if it just barely exists) open to the idea that you may have misunderstood him along the way – that someone may have lied to you about who he is, how he works, what he expects, etc.

On down the road, should you want to return, he can work with that tiny corner…it will be all he’ll need to set things right. He’s kind of amazing that way.

4 – Recovery is not rocket science. You have to work at it and remember that it’s painful before it’s peaceful. And you may or may not be ready…it’s okay if you’re not. Just remain open to the idea that there’s another way to live that actually works.

5 – Life is hard, but we can all be “reasonably happy.” I used to think that sounded awful. I didn’t want to be reasonably happy, I wanted to be REAL happy. But since accepting that hardship is often a pathway to peace, I’ve grown to accept and even embrace the notion of “reasonably happy.”

As I’ve opened up my life for others, I’ve found that many feel as broken as I do – they are disappointed with life and wonder if it can be any different.

Listen…it can. I believe this to my bones.

In fact, I believe it so much that I put my career on the line for it. I resigned from a awesome job that paid my bills…and from a group of people who loved me and that I greatly loved back. Because while I knew there were others out there who could lead worship, I also knew there were NOT others who had lived my actual story. No one could communicate the grace of God in my life like I could. And each time I wrote about or spoke of that grace, it seemed you were listening – that it was making as much sense to you as it was to me. And that’s when I realized…

…something was stirring within me.

I don’t come to this place of ministry (and never will) from somewhere above you or above anyone else. I’m a broken man. And I’m reasonably sure that I’m the kind of guy who cannot do a normal life, working a regular job. At times I have wished for normal, but it seems I need a constant reminder of my brokenness by serving others – by using all of my life for a spiritual purpose.

My life for the glory of God.

So I’ve taken the past three and a half months to prepare. To ready myself for this new thing. Well…I’m ready.

This new ministry will be called “Finding God in the Ruins” – the same title as my upcoming book.

It will be focused on much of what you’ve already seen from me. But instead of it being a “side-project” it will be a full-time vocation for me.

Support to fuel this ministry will come from any person who chooses to partner alongside of me. I hope you’ll consider it.

NEXT WEEKTuesday September 8th, Wednesday September 9th, and Saturday September 12th, at 6:30pm, Heather and I will be hosting a Finding God in the Ruins Ministry Launch dinner at our home. If you are interested in supporting this ministry or simply learning more about what we will be doing, you are officially invited to attend one of those dates. Please private message me via Facebook or send me an email at matt.bays@comcast.net so I can put you on the invite list and send further details.

I would appreciate your continued prayers as I put my life in God’s hands for what’s next. It’s gonna be good.

Grateful is an understatement for the journey I’ve been on – a journey so many others haven’t yet found the path for. I can’t tell you how much I understand their doubt, their uncertainty, and their pain. But I believe that God is good. It took me a while to get there, but these days, I find his goodness all over the place…especially in the ruins of my life.

So I’m going to do my part in helping them find God’s goodness, his love, and his full-on all-encompassing grace that leaves us changed…

…healed…

Redeemed.

Let me know if you’d like to help.

Peace and love,

Matt

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