I still remember back in my elementary school days when I didn’t want anyone to know my nickname. The reason was mainly because I didn’t know anyone else in the world with the name “Rowdy!” Everyone in my family called me by that name, but I insisted that everyone at school call me by my first name. It’s a funny thing as you look back on it. Not only was the name “different,” but in so many ways it wasn’t my true personality – at least to those that didn’t know the real me. My family would tell you the name fit, but even at an early age, I was pretty reserved around people that I didn’t know too well.
Fast forward a few years to today and I find myself in a new office around mostly people that I’m just now getting to know. They all call me “Rowdy” and I’m fine with that. As a matter of fact, I even introduce myself as Rowdy to new people here in Dallas. It’s sorta weird for me as I’ve grown up introducing myself as James. When it comes down to it, I’ll answer to either one.
Back in the day (the 90’s), when I was trying to figure out a “cool” email address to use, I thought I’d use “Rowdy!” The email provider at the time had already assigned that name to someone, so I had to come up with something clever…
In 1998, I attended the Passion Conference in Austin, Texas. At that conference, God did a unique work in my heart that ultimately has brought me to work here at iGo today. At Passion, I was introduced to the “theme” verse, Isaiah 26:8. I remember Louie Giglio saying that it wasn’t just a “theme,” but more like a “life” verse for the Passion Conferences. As a reminder of how God was working in my life at the time, I took on the 268 as a life verse as well and thus, I solved my email dilemma! So from that point on, it’s been “rowdy268” for my email address and more importantly, my life.
A couple of days ago, I was reading about how Francis Chan was leaving his church to follow God’s call on his life. Francis shared that he wasn’t exactly sure what God was calling him to next, he just new it was his time to go. He made this statement, “I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t go…” That reminded me of how God led me to work here at iGo. During one of the teaching sessions at Passion, Louie taught on Isaiah 26:8 and made this statement “What other word do you put before the word “Lord” except “Yes?” Over the years, that word sank deep into my bones and I spent many years not only teaching that to students, but trying to model that for them as well. Then it happened. God called. I had been telling students all this time “When God calls, if He is Lord, then the answer has to be YES.” You can’t say “No” to God and him still be LORD. You can’t even say “Maybe” and him still be LORD. The only response when God confronts you and asks something of you is YES!
When God called I had many fears, but down deep, I knew that when God calls, He provides. In those first few weeks, I wrestled with how I would respond to this new journey. At the end of the day, it was important for my students to see me lead with integrity. How could I continue to lead them if I said “No” or even “Maybe?” I even found myself thinking I could say “No” as none of the students even knew that I was going through this struggle. That would have been the easy way. Saying “YES” to God would be hard…it meant change, submission, and raising our own support. I probably could have said “No” and gone on like nothing ever happened…but in reality, I would have lost my ability to lead the students. As believers, we are expected to not only speak the truth, but also, live the truth! I would have also failed to allow God to have the glory in providing for us in the call, and to me, that was a much bigger issue. So my answer was a simple, “YES”, and looking back, I see students who are saying “YES,” not because of me, but because they want God to get the glory too.
What about you? When God calls you to be a part of something, what is your answer?