Starting Line

When I first heard God’s call for my life, I thought I was having a heart attack. Literally. He told me I’d become a minister. Then I began asking questions and trying to plot the course for how to accomplish that. I asked my pastor what I should do and over lunch he told me the first two steps would be to finish my education and volunteer more. So I started volunteering and trying to find a school.

15 hours of college credit and about $8k later, I figured out what not to do. Still undeterred I settled on what would be the “correct answer” of choices for a college for a person who is looking to become a minister: Johnson Bible College. I’ve never been one for doing things the easy way. When it comes to the square peg going in the round hole, its going in that hole, trust me, it’s going in.

This has all gone on over the course of the last 5 years. The entire time I’ve felt like I’ve been on a runner’s mark just waiting for the gunshot. And waiting and waiting. I’ve made use of the time in-between; I’ve spent hours in prayer, read stacks of books, and listened to hours of teaching and Bible reading. In essence, I’ve been preparing for that gun shot. I never knew when I’d hear it, but I was going to make sure I was ready when I did. And I began to think that the more time I had, then the more prepared I’d be. It says in 1 Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” That’s why I wanted to prepare. When that gunshot goes off, I’m going to leave a dust cloud in the shape of me just like in the old Warner Bros cartoons and be gone.

There will be things that get in the way, have you no doubt. Doubts, worry, frustration, distractions and whatever else the enemy can throw at you. The day I said yes to Jesus meant I painted a target on my back. The enemy has his sight set on those of us that threaten his kingdom, especially those of us in ministry. Good news is I’m surrounded by people who will pour into me. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” Hebrews 12:1. I love that last line. Run with perseverance. That strikes a chord in me. Now if you know me there is some irony there given I’m overweight and get winded walking up a hill. Now I used to jog at several points in my life. This time last year I was jogging three miles every morning. I remember what it’s like to persevere. I especially remember the satisfaction of finishing. The sweat, the pain, the feeling of dying, and especially the nagging voice saying to just quit makes finishing worth it. At the end you have proved that you can do it. You didn’t quit.

What does any of this have to do with you? Good question. I’m so glad you asked. If you’re born again, that means you were made new. God didn’t remake you just to have you sit pretty on a little black chair on Sun, no, no. He remade you because you have a purpose only you can do. You were custom made to fit this job. You are the right tool for the job. Yes, I did just call you a tool, but it’s a tool for Jesus.

Is the job going to be easy? No. If it was, why would God remake you for it. He’d just give it to anyone. What do we do when it gets hard? Simple, what we’ve been doing (or should have been doing) the whole time: being obedient. Galatians 5:7, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” We keep praying, keep studying the word, keep encouraging others. We keep doing our job. When a car goes up hill, does it stop and quit? No, it adjusts and keeps going. So will you.

Don’t groan about it. It’s okay to be frustrated and angry when things get tough, but keep praising God for your purpose. Psalm 19:5,”like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.” I’m not saying slap on a fake smile and be a pretender. The definition of a hypocrite is someone who wears a mask. Coming to church and acting like you got it all together when you don’t is what makes you a hypocrite. Not living up to your own standards isn’t what makes you a hypocrite. When it’s hard, let others in to help you run. We were not made to do this all alone.

So if you’re born again and aren’t running your course, are you waiting for the gunshot or did you hear it and pretend like you didn’t? Trust me when I say this, you’re missing out and when you stand before the Judgment seat of God, you’re really going to miss out. Paul said, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has
given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” in Acts 20:24. Paul made his purpose his life. He never looked back and only looked ahead.

What are you going to do when you hear the gunshot?


~Brad McClain

Guest Post: are you thinking to yourself…”how come he gets to write for the blog?” Good question. Do you have something to share, a testimony, a reaction to a sermon at Canvas Church or a thought on how God is working in you and through you in this very moment? We want to read about it. Email me at and I will do my best to add it into our blog.


5 thoughts on “Starting Line

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  1. Very challenging post Brad. Thanks for sharing some of your story. I have to admit I was stunned to read that I’m a tool… It worked though… You make a good point. I say we change the words on the song “I am a friend of god” to “I am a tool of god”. What do you think?

  2. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Brad. You’ve provided a new perspective on this subject that has given me cause to pray and meditate on what I’m called to in the Kingdom. Good to have you contributing!

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