The Abandon Project | Serve, without expectations

Serve, without expectations


One of my most favorite memories in over 3 years of of working with the kids in East Charlotte, is captured in this picture.  Jaylen, DreQuan, and Rashard got baptized at camp Cedar cliff, which is a camp located in the mountains of North Carolina.  Yes, this moment was special to me because of the kids that were baptized, always a joy to see kids symbolically pass from death to life, and tell everybody that they want to serve Jesus.  But, this moment was also super special because of the guy on my left, Tim Brady.  Tim was my youth pastor growing up, and ironically, he is also the current CEO of camp Cedar cliff.  20 years ago, I was the kid in this picture, and Tim had the privilege of being my youth pastor and a mentor.  I wasn’t the easiest kid to handle either, quite the opposite.  I was the kid always getting in trouble, I was the kid that i’m sure kept Tim up at night, and yes, I was the kid who had been abandoned by his father.  Matter of fact before Tim arrived, I actually got kicked out of the Awanna program at my church, which was focused on elementary school kids.  I was broken, and hurting, and Tim loved me.

Who would’ve thought that 20 years later, Tim would be standing beside me in a pool, on the side of a mountain, assisting me in baptizing kids from the inner city of Charlotte.  I’m not going to speak for Tim but I assure you he probably didn’t think I would be leading an inner city ministry 20 years ago, or maybe he did.  Why?  Because it seems that our callings often come from our pain.  The very thing that devil intended to steal kill and destroy, God slaps his redeeming powers upon and uses it for your good.  I can say with gladness, that if my dad hadn’t of left me when I was young, I can’t tell you with certainty that I would love the fatherless the way that I do, so maybe Tim knew exactly that I would be in this position.

This picture symbolizes, newness of life for these 3 young men, and this picture symbolizes broken people who are being used.  I hope one day I can stand beside Dre, Rashard, and Jaylen, as they do something in their lives to give back to broken people that God puts in their life.  I’m sure Tim was reminded that no time that he spent with me was wasted, that God used him as part of my story so that one day I could experience my calling.

You never know the outcome of investing in another person’s life, and maybe God will never let you see the outcome.  But our job is still be faithful, to still love those who are hard to love, and to be consistent.  The Gospel is not about loving those who love you, it’s about loving people at their worst, because, that is the gift that Jesus has given each one of us, in that he loves us in our worst state, may we give that same love to others.

Big thanks to Tim Brady, i’ll continue to love others the way he loved me.