After a three-month sabbatical, Pastor Miles was welcomed back to the Rock!
Today’s message was a summary of Miles’ experiences, his need for sabbatical, and a challenge to refocus with the Lord.
Though his life was full of good things and ministry, it wasn’t necessarily the best that God had for him.
Last year, Miles was feeling dissatisfied with how his life was progressing in many different aspects. As he was on a treadmill in a hotel and it wasn’t working right, he began to think about his own life and the path it was taking. He felt his life was on a fast-paced treadmill, carrying him off in a direction that he wasn’t certain he wanted to go. Though his life was full of good things and ministry, it wasn’t necessarily the best that God had for him. At some point, just as Miles had to stop jogging on the malfunctioning treadmill and get onto a different one, he realized that he needed to stop the treadmill of his life and reflect and reevaluate the path he was taking. And so this summer’s sabbatical was an opportunity to recharge and recalibrate.
Two days before the sabbatical began, something strange happened. Miles was standing in his house speaking to Marcus Preciado. The temperature inside and out was about 70 degrees, but as Miles was talking, white smoke came out of his mouth. It wasn’t nearly cold enough to be the steam of hot breath meeting cold air! Just as he was wondering why that happened, a brown ashy substance came out of Miles’ mouth. Both Miles and Marcus were stunned and confused. Miles called his physician, who had no medication explanation, so he discussed it with his spiritual mentor and realized that this was a spiritual manifestation.
Miles doesn’t believe he was demon-possessed (as he doesn’t believe a Christian person can be possessed), but whatever this unclean thing was that came out of his mouth, God was using it to tell him that he needed to be purified from something unclean in his life. The spiritual battle that we engage in every day is something we will never completely understand. It manifests itself in many ways, as the enemy is intelligent, systematic, and patient. We must be constantly vigilant, because if we get in a rut and start going through the motions, the devil will gently and kindly steer us into self-destruction.
At the end of June, Miles saw a neurosurgeon in Newport Beach who ran various tests and concluded that Miles has ADD. Though he has joked about himself having ADD many times and many people would concur that his activities and behavior point to ADD, he never really took the assessment seriously. But now that he knows, he is beginning to examine his thoughts, his lifestyle, his diet, and everything that comes into play, know that our brains don’t necessarily tell us things that are right, true or kind.
Your brain will sometimes tell you things that are wrong or skewed as well! It can lie to you, depress you, or drive you into the ground, all based on the partial information to which it is privy. And if our brains function in this way, they can’t serve us to accomplish our dreams.
Miles is realizing that having ADD has positives and negatives. It can cause a lot of chaos in his life and in the lives of everyone he knows, but it also enables him to be flooded with good ideas and help a lot of people. While the devil wishes to use ADD to cause chaos, God wants to use it to cause good. So no matter what challenges or special circumstances we face, we need to listen to God and be submitted to Him all the time. This submission is a life-long process. God longs to transform us, but He wants us to be patient as He does so.
Even as Miles was realizing this transformational process, another twist occurred. In August, Miles’ father slipped into a coma and passed away. His family received a lot of love and attention from the church and the Police Department, and his father was greatly honored at his funeral. But when you watch someone you love pass away, you start thinking about your whole life - - and thus his life changed again. God directed Miles to finish the sabbatical, but not to get back on that old treadmill. His life is passing by, and so is yours, and every minute should count, drawing nearer to God and walking wherever He directs!
Miles left us with a challenge this week. Take a moment to reflect that your life is fleeting and will soon be over. God wants to bless you and walk with you and He wants better for you, but you have to surrender to Him to receive all He has. Make a decision to get off whatever treadmill is carrying you away. They may be very subtle, small steps that are leading you further and further from where God desires you to be. Ask God to search you and cleanse you from anything unclean in your spirit or your perspective…and take a step toward the path He desires for you!