I Almost . . .

One day not too long ago, I almost left the house with the iron still on.It was just sitting there, minding its own business and expanding its own heat, and I almost stepped out the door to leave for the day.Now, I suspect there is a “forgetful preacher protection” mechanism in place that would have eventually turned the heating element off.  I’m not sure, but I think that’s the case. The good thing is, I didn’t have to find out because although I almost left the house with it on, by virtue of a quick glance, I didn’t.

Which got me thinking of how much my life has been shaped by things that almost happened . . . but then didn’t — due either to luck (if you’re superstitious), fate (if you’re agnostic), or providence (if you follow faith).

Here’s just a few . . .

I almost went to Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas to pursue my dream of being a pro tennis player.  I instead went to Princeton University in New Jersey where I met Julie and first heard the call into ministry.

I almost neglected that call to ministry in the mid 80s and almost got a couple of jobs that would have kept us in the northeast permanently.  In other words, I almost had kids who speak with New Jersey accents and have never eaten at Chick Fil-A.

I almost decided that Asbury Seminary was too “risky” for a life & career in the United Methodist Church and so I needed to go to a more acceptable school like Candler or Duke.

I almost left Mt. Carmel Church in 1995 because someone told me a “cool” church was available in suburban Charlotte. But I clearly heard “STAY” in prayer (in my experience, God never speaks in paragraphs and only rarely in sentences), remained there four more years and when it was time to move in 1999, well, there was a legitimately alive church in southwest Charlotte that would have me.

I almost decided a few years ago that I could no longer handle pastoring the kind of church Good Shepherd had become.

I almost made some personnel decisions around here that in retrospect would have hindered and not advanced us.

I almost said “no” the Methodist Church’s offer of the Zoar Road complex.

I almost was too proud to seek the kind of outside counsel that helped us land on inviting all people into a living relationship with Jesus Christ.

As I look back on these and many other “almosts,” I am grateful for all the “but God” moments which protected me from me.