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Raising a stone of witness: God is still working in me

Raising a stone of witness: God is still working in me

“Every day something draws it nearer. My personal studies the sermons I listen to, the council of friends, every visit to the “real world,” all seem to be converging upon some unknown point in the nearing future.  …

My life is full, but it is by no means complete. I am often broken by the incredible weight of an unanswered call. I know that the ministries I partake in are not the only gift I have to give. There is something more for me. Please pray that God will reveal this, or else give me peace in His timing.”

https://raisingthebanner.com/personal/birthday-update-25-answering-the-call

I wrote these words a little over a year ago. In the time since, God has been doing some incredible work in me.

When I was in High School, I got a Facebook because I thought I could use it as a tool to share Jesus with others. In 2017, I felt called to start a blog for the same reason. With each venture, I met disappointment. There are so many voices out there already. It’s easy to be a Christian online, and it’s even easier to lose your voice in the crowd when everyone is shouting their own praises. Still, I felt like God had a place of ministry prepared for me, I just hadn’t found it yet.

My search for a place in ministry

In the past year, I spent a lot of time serving at church and praying over God’s future plans for me. But God began to change my desires, not through my work at church, but through my free time. I began to play a couple of video games (something I haven’t done much since high school). It wasn’t long before I decided I’d have more fun making my own. As I began crafting a new world, I kept finding Jesus at the center of it. At the same time, God began showing me the current gaming industry as it looks through His eyes. As my talents, passions, and a newfound hope for the world spectacularly collided, I knew that God was showing me the next step for my life.

Many people are worried about violence in video games. In 2019, there has been a growing concern about gambling in games meant for minors. Video game addiction is now a diagnosable disease. In all of this, there’s one complaint I have never heard. I have never seen a distraught parent complain that their student has become “religious” because of something they were playing on their computer. I have never heard of a kid become inspired to become a missionary and spread the Gospel because they spent too much time soaking in the worldview presented by the games they play. God has given me a desire to change this.

Yes I am crazy, thanks for asking

I have a crazy vision in my head that I just can’t shake, no matter how hard I try. It’s grown beyond a single game, or even a game studio. I see a group of artists and software developers sharing their talents online to create good games with eternal themes. Our nation already loves open-source software, and is increasingly charitable. Open-source gaming might be just around the corner. With little or no costs for development, every penny earned could go to good Christian charities around the globe. Instead of trying to fight piracy, we could distribute free copies to individuals who normally would steal them, bundled with notes of encouragement and hope.

It’s huge, scary, and absolutely impossible for me to do on my own. But if God is with me, then I wonder if my vision is still too small. He does greater things every day. I have shared this idea with a few different friends and family members. At times, I can get overwhelmed by the possibilities and uncertainties. But every person I talked to has asked the same question: “Why hasn’t this been done already? I think it would work!”

“Worship” and “failure” are not synonymous. I am seeking to make God’s name great through a medium that traditionally ignores or mocks God. If this is nothing more than one man’s act of worship, it will be worth every effort. But I carry a victorious hope that God will do great things through the gifts He has given me.

So, why am I sharing this now?

I recently returned from our annual Fall Retreat. While the event is designed for students, God often uses it in the lives of the adults there as well. This year, the staff decided to take a break from the usual themes of repentance and instead celebrate the victories in our lives. Perhaps unsurprisingly (when doesn’t God provide exactly what we need?), the theme verse this year was Matthew 6:33-34.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

On Saturday (the last Chapel of retreat), the speaker spoke on Exodus 17:8-16. It was one of the many battles in the Bible where God provided the victory. At the end of the story, Moses set up an altar of witness. He called it Yahweh-nissi, “The Lord Is My Banner.”

During the last song of the night (Way Maker by Leeland), our worship leader stopped and warned us that we ought to be careful with our words when we worship. I have heard a worship leader say this once before. At the camp where I first received my call to ministry, the lead singer of Addison Road warned us that we should carefully consider the words we use in worship. At that time, we sang a song of commitment with pure hearts. This time, we confessed knowledge of God’s perfect providence in the same spirit.

My stone of witness:

We encouraged the students to make a “stone of witness” during the worship on Saturday, and I decided to make one as well. Disappointed by the limited space for writing, I scratched out the words “You’re working” and returned to worship. I decided to get a bigger rock later. I might have forgotten if it wasn’t for one other thing.

This morning, I decided that I would finally get around to writing the blog post on busyness that I have been putting off for the past year. (Yes, I feel the irony here…) I opened the site for the first time in a long time, and read the words I have quoted above. Without intending to, I had raised up a memorial stone on my 25th birthday. Now it stands as a reminder of the distance I have covered in the past year. Five minutes after I finished reading my old post, I was outside looking for a bigger rock. I wrote the lyrics down so I wouldn’t quickly forget:

“Even when I don’t see it, You’re working.

Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working.

You never stop, You never stop working.”

The first steps of my calling are clear to me. God has proven it to me over and over. I’m continuing onward with no fear, just a furious hope that God will do greater things through me still.

Thank you for your continued support!

After much rework, I am sharing my full story here today. I decided that I would not withhold any detail, since it is more of a story about God than about me. The way ahead is unclear, but I am trusting that God will continue to light my path. I haven’t published a game since I was 16, so I’m starting small. By my best estimates, I’ll be done with that project around June 2020. I can’t say what comes after that. But I am paving the way now with prayer.

If you’ve read this far, will you keep this adventure in your prayers as well? Jessica is in support of my plans, but right now this is something I’m merely doing with my free time. I don’t know if/when God will call me to leave my job. I do know that God is able to more than we ask or imagine. A year ago, I had no thought of making games again. Perhaps there are even larger plans just out of view. But I asked for prayers last year, and God has answered them. I’m ready to see Him do it again. Soli Deo Gloria! Thank you.

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