I just celebrated my 60th birthday along with my brother-from-another-mother/brother-in-Christ, Pete Parise and his wife Deb, as well as my beautiful wife Tess. Pete and Deb have been my closest friends for almost 40 years now, so it was an awesome birthday present to see them again. It was also Pete’s 58th birthday because he is 2-years-to-the-day younger than me.
When I look back over the last 6 decades, all I can do is marvel at what God has done in my life. If you have read my article on forgiveness, you know a great deal about my childhood and adolescence and what an incredible transformation Jesus has brought about in me.
This article covers a bit about my professional career and ministry calling.
Triple Career Paths
During my professional life, I’ve had 3 career paths. I started out as an IT guy, doing programming, database design, and system admin. Then in 1985, I bought my first Macintosh computer and almost immediately was on the ground-floor of the desktop publishing revolution of the late 80s and well into the 90s, creating commercial artwork (books, newsletters, ads, logos, brochures, etc.) for various businesses and ministries.
I had those two going interchangeably until 1993 when the Internet started being a big deal and I again got into a revolutionary technology in its nascent stage. What had been two separate career paths suddenly married in the design and creation of websites and thereafter I’ve had a 3-track career, freely swapping back and forth among them as my life progressed.
My longest job tenure at a single employer was a 3.5 year stint with American Airlines SABRE Computer Services during the early 90s. Most jobs, though, were only a year or so in duration, some through fault of my own in the early years of my career, the rest due to circumstances outside of my control, all the time switching back and forth among my 3 career tracks.
So you can see why for years, despite my many professional accomplishments, I felt my resume painted me as a failure, like I couldn’t hold a job or couldn’t figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
In 1998, I started my first stint with what later became my college alma mater, Life Christian University, as their Director of Communications & IT which called upon all my skill sets in a single position. After a 7-year hiatus, I’m back with them as their Director of Software Development as of November 2008. All told, I’ve been with them for over 10 years now, so I guess you could say I’ve finally found my employment niche!
Why the History Lesson?
So why is this of any never-mind and why am I boring you with all this history? The answer lies in two things God has spoken into my life, one occurring soon after my return to the university and one today.
Back in late 2009, I had just completed a total redesign/rewrite of the software our university uses to track its student records, the selfsame application I had originally written 10 years earlier. That rewrite by all accounts was and is a rousing success and everybody at LCU was ecstatic about it. As I entered my office at the university one afternoon, the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “I’ve been preparing you for the last 35 years to accomplish this project.”
After a brief examination of the skills I had used to complete the project, ranging from the design of the software’s underpinnings and user interface to having written and typeset a professional-quality user manual for the staff, I saw that God was, as always, absolutely correct — every talent and skill I had developed over the previous 3.5 decades had indeed been brought to bear on it.
As of that moment, I ceased to be ashamed of my resume — God had orchestrated all of it!
Then today, as my pastor, Ron Merrell, was preaching on the subject of worship from Psalm 71, God Himself gave me an awesome birthday present:
Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me O God. Let me proclaim Your power to this new generation, Your miracles to all who come after me.Psalm 71:18 NLT
Because we are living under the New Covenant in Jesus’ blood, I have no fear of being abandoned because He promised He will never leave nor forsake any of us — and God always honors His Word.
But I am indeed old and gray and “Let me proclaim Your power to this new generation, Your miracles to all who come after me” is indeed the cry of my heart.
And that is why I write.
Thanks for honoring the calling of God on my life by reading my scribblings here.
God bless you all!
I enjoyed your notes about the triple career. I started out as a secretary, then became an R.N., and worked in that field for 40 years, meanwhile going to night school for an English degree, and becoming a freelance editor in my fifties. I simultaneously worked in nursing until a couple of years ago. Sometimes all three careers have merged, especially when editing medical works. My thoughts align with yours in your perceptions about Christianity today, which may be why I have visited so many churches of various denominations in recent years, trying to find that perfect fit. No success yet, but I do study and read the Bible daily and pray daily for those about me and for guidance in all things. I had wandered away from God for a number of years but, true to His word, HE never left. Instead, He sent a few wonderful people into my life who were examples of what believers should be and thus pulled me back into a good path. Interestingly enough, they all were Catholics. Growing up, my church leaders thought Catholics were headed to hell. I have found good Christians in every denomination and in non-denominational churches as well, and that is good news, I think. Keep up the good work.
I’ve known some on-fire believers who were and are Catholic, all of them charismatic, one of them being a close friend who got so disgusted with the abuses he saw in the local Protestant churches that he went back to a charismatic Catholic congregation.
But these folks are the petunias in the onion patch. If you look at Roman Catholicism in the light of God’s Word, it is full of false doctrine and flat-out idol worship. On top of that, when applying a “yardstick” used to determine whether a group is a cult or not, Catholicism meets every criteria for being one.
That is why, despite the existence of a remnant of true believers within it, I continue to speak out against the doctrines of the Catholic church, yet avoid attacking Catholics as a group.
I understand what you are saying about many of the beliefs. As you say, though, there is a remnant there. One of my Catholic friends understands the concept of grace much better than many who are in churches where it is taught more completely. One good thing that is happening now in the Catholic church is that they now have Bible studies. The above friend leads one of them. In the old days, Catholics were not encouraged to read the Word, as I understand it. The Catholics I know do not believe in the Pope’s infallibility. They are the ones who have learned to think for themselves. Since Catholics DO believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for our salvation, I expect to see many of them in Heaven, despite the extra trappings of the church. The basic tenets of the Gospel are taught in their services (where I visit with our friends when we travel together).
One of the things that God is really, REALLY jealous of is His sole right to be the Judge, so it’s never safe to point a finger at any group and say, “You’re all going to hell because of the church you’re in.” While God is all about relationships and the Body of Christ, he also looks at the hearts of individuals when it comes to salvation, a place where we cannot see and are not permitted to guess about.
That’s why I deal with proclaiming accurate doctrine, rather than trashing those who don’t agree with me as hell-bound. I only proclaim the Truth, hopefully with love and compassion, and then depend upon the work of the Holy Spirit Who brings about correction and repentance and, by those, freedom in individuals.
It blesses me to hear that other remnants of true believers are not only operating, but thriving within the cult of Catholicism. The spirit of Martin Luther and the other leaders of the Protestant Reformation is still alive and well in those folks. Luther and his contemporaries never tried to break off from Catholicism, but sought to reform its false doctrines to conform to the Scriptures. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon your viewpoint, the venal heretics at the helm of the Catholic church prevailed and the reformers were forced out to form what became Protestantism, a movement still very much in progress, and of which I am blessed to be a member.
Thank you for your comments and kind words.