Kent and I met at a hackathon event in Silicon Valley, put on by Leadership Network. Kent stood out because he showed up early to pray over the space, he was clearly very smart but humble too. He helped me empty the trash and do the menial tasks it takes to run a straight 72-hour event for over 100 people, despite that he was listed as an esteemed mentor. He offered me access to his hotel room for a shower and to nap. Yet, there was a lightness about him too, we had fun together. And before we parted ways, Kent pulled me aside and said he wanted to help me, and encouraged me to think about ways that would be possible.
Kent and I have stayed connected ever since, which is saying a lot since he spent the year after we met traveling the United States with his family packed into an RV, with only occasional stops in one place for an extended time. Kent and his wife Evie felt called to be on the move with the purpose to connect the church, to share resources, and breakdown barriers. Kent's work manifests itself most clearly in two websites he runs, called Open Church and Church Relevance. Or follow his travels and commentary on Twitter here. Evie is a phenomenal artist/graphic designer/technologist and you can enlist her design services online here, and follow her artistic renderings online here.
It is a great blessing for me and my wife to know the Shaffer's. When Kent makes occasional trips to the West Coast, we find time to sneak off on a hike up a mountain to pray in the early morning hours. And we were blessed recently when they parked their RV behind our home and we had a few days to have our families spend time together. They are dear souls, salt of the earth people, who you just know are following the Lord wherever He might take them.
Kent and I write back and forth to each other by email and text and an occasional phone call. To know that there is a man out there in the world who I know is following Jesus and who is like-minded, that I can call knowing he will be real with me, this is a priceless gift. When I look back on our relationship and consider how it formed, I know that it could only have happened through the work of the Holy Spirit. People just don't often meet each other, stay in touch via email, and consider themselves to be close as family. Yet, that's what Kent is to me, a dear brother in Christ.
In closing, in one of our email exchanges where we were discussing a trial I was in the midst of, as he often does, Kent shared an insightful passage with me, this one from an Indian pastor named Abraham Israel:
Eagles are the only birds that love the storm. When all other birds try to flee from the storm and hide its fierceness, eagles fly into it and will use the wind of the storm to rise higher in a matter of seconds. They use the pressure of the storm to glide higher without having to use their own energy. They are able to do this because God has created them uniquely with an ability to lock their wings in a fixed position in the midst of the fierce storm winds.
After a certain period of experiencing storms face to face, eagles love to play in the storms. The storms in life that we as God’s royal eagles face are trials, tribulations, and temptations (John 16:33; James 1:12). As we face the stormy wind of afflictions in life, the Holy Spirit helps us lock our mind in a fixed position with the grace of God through faith in the finished work of the Cross, which helps us conserve energy and just stay in the storm and enjoy the lift and height of heavenly mindedness in a greater and greater altitude (1 Cor 10:13; Eph 6:16; 1 Peter 5:9-10; Phil 4:7).
After a period of time, we start to love the trials because of the positive things of peace that we are able to experience in the storm and the heavenly after effects of being lifted in to a great height of spirituality and ecstacy in believing (1 Peter 1:8), which would not be possible without it. This is the reason Apostle James said,
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
We as a person of royalty need to take a quality decision of accepting trials willingly with joy because it lifts us in to higher altitude of spirituality without us wasting even an ounce of energy. After we start to use all the maneuvers in the midst of storms, we will surely say, “Bring it on!” with a stout chest and our head held high.