Fisher of Men
Being an Oakland Fireman was an exciting, fun, and rewarding job. Seriously my friends, it was. I miss it so bad that it hurts. I have done everything in my power to get back to the job I love, but unfortunately the injury I sustained won’t let me. It’s taken me a while to accept it, but I know that God has me right where he wants me.
People often ask me if I ever got scared. I can honestly say no, I never got scared. For me an 1890’s Victorian in West Oakland heavily engulfed in fire with people hanging out of the windows is like going to Disneyland. Where else can you kick in a door, climb through pitch black smoke, push through searing heat and crawl under flames to pull someone’s child to safety? You may love roller coasters, but I prefer ascending a 100 foot aerial ladder to the top of a warehouse while the flames are licking my feet so I can chop some holes in the roof to let the heat escape. You might like talking about the stock market, but I enjoy sitting on the ledge of the bay bridge while talking to suicidal people and trying to convince them not to jump. Enjoying an evening out to dinner with friends might bring you joy, but I would rather sit, listen, pray and console a mom whose son was just violently gunned down. My friends like going to sporting events, but I like cutting injured victims out of cars with the Jaws of Life.
Most people I talk to do not understand how I can find enjoyment in doing what I did for so many years. They think I am a little weird, and that is totally cool with me because they are right. I am not wired like most people and I praise God for that. For as long as I can remember, I have been called to serve. It makes me feel alive, it makes me feel normal and it brings me satisfaction. I praise God for my years in the Fire Department because it helped me understand some things about myself. I used to be confused about my feelings, but not anymore. I love being a Christian that most people can’t quite figure out. God graciously left certain parts of my brain unrefined and I love him for that. For years I had felt as if I was cursed, but once I submitted to God, surrendered my life to Jesus and accepted the works of the Holy Spirit, I finally understood that I was made for something more than just being a Fireman. I have taken the skills that I have picked up over the years on the thousands of tragedies that I have responded to and have started using them to be “a fisher of men”.
During the 24 hours that we get to spend together, I am going to share with you some personal experiences that have shaken me to my core. I am going talk about the failures and successes in both my personal and spiritual life and how God used them to strengthen me. I pray that you will walk away from our time together recharged, energized and ready to kick in some doors! No, I am not going to drag you into a burning building, but I do want you to kick in some doors and throw some seeds at those people who are trapped and need a little help. I know we are supposed to “plant” the seeds, but that’s something refined Christians do, and refined isn’t in my vocabulary. I love the fact that God gracefully left me unrefined!
Love ya guys,
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