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Overboard Blog

Living the extraordinary life of faith!

Filtering by Tag: Purpose

Crying Out to God

Joseph Castaneda


His Purpose

I don't always know what to do, or how to respond, when life throws something at me that falls outside my Baptist brain. I love my Baptist theology, training and upbringing, because it has allowed me to dive deeper into scripture and often—for better or worse—put theological matters in nice tidy boxes. Of course, theology is rarely nice or tidy...

For example, I'm really not sure what to do with Gideon and his fleece. Are we supposed to put fleeces out there waiting for God to respond? Does God normally respond to those things? Is it a show of faith or a lack of faith on Gideon's part? How many fleeces does a guy need? (If you have a good "fleece story" I'd love for you to email it to me!)

No, don't get me wrong, I've definitely used the fleece method with God. We moved to Michigan after much prayer, much advice seeking, and many fleeces, but I'm still not sure I understand this type of interaction with the Almighty. I guess I'm a bit of a reluctant fleecer—a closet fleecer if you will—that believes God works with us, where we are, and strengthens our faith along the journey. Sometimes He seems to respond to fleeces as a grace to us.

Last spring, we had a fleece moment in our lives. As many of you know, Traci did not receive the varsity volleyball coaching job when she applied at the first of 2018. It was a little frustrating, but we had prayed for God to be clear and He was; the answer was "no."

Well the newly hired coach ended up leaving because of a job change for her husband, so the job reopened. After talking and praying, we both agreed that Traci would not reapply, and that she would serve the team and the new coach from the JV position. Many parents and teachers and students asked her to reapply but we felt great peace about God's answer.

A week after, another player came and asked Traci if she had reapplied and Traci told her no. This student was bummed and asked, "What would it take for you to reapply for the job?" Traci's response was a fleece: "Justin [school AD] would have to come and offer me the job!" Of course, that was a safe fleece, because Traci didn't reapply and varsity coaching jobs are hot commodities. In fact, this position was posted on local and state job boards, there's no way it would go unfilled.

You'll never guess what happened the ver next day.

Traci went in to meet with the school AD about getting a key so her JV girls could start some open gym practices and…he offered Traci the head coaching job. Amazingly, NO ONE had applied for the position, and even though there are other coaches on staff, coaches with more experience and more connection to the program, he wanted Traci to be the next varsity volleyball head coach!

This was a monumental task and a precious opportunity to connect even more with students, families, and school and community leaders. It's a heavy burden, too, as the varsity coach oversees the entire volleyball program from 4th grade on up. Pray for Traci as she prepares to step in to her second year, and she tries to bring along a team of coaches with the same values and ideas she has to make this program better...and to use it as a vehicle for the Gospel.

As you wait on the Lord, remember that He is always working on your behalf. Sometimes He is working in the silence, sometimes He is working in the background and sometimes He is even working in the fleece. But He is always working, and as Psalm 57:2 states, "[He] will fulfill His purpose for [you]."

How, What and WHY

Joseph Castaneda



This last week Traci and I had another presentation, another opportunity to share about the vision and dream of launching Crossroads Farm in NW Michigan. We shared with some friends about what we're doing, how we hope they will join our prayer and support teams, and how Crossroads Farm is reaching teens in rural America.

But as we shared, I was reminded that the what and how matter a great deal, but they don't come close to touching the importance of the WHY: why are we investing in this ministry in order to reach rural teenagers in NW Michigan?

Mark 2:16-17 states our reason very well. Jesus was talking to a group of men who were wondering why a great teacher like Jesus would hang out with unlovely, unlikeable and marginalized people. His answer was simple: "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick..."

Our little town needs Jesus. 92% of teenagers have no church affiliation. 80% of adults do not attend any religious service with regularity. There is so much hurt in such a small community and we long to work with other Jesus followers (and we thank God that we are meeting many!) who want to help this community, too, and especially help reach the young people with the Gospel.

There is no doubt in my mind that Crossroads Farm is a cool addition to this town. But no amount of cool will replace the why: to give students a chance to yes or no to the Gospel of Jesus.

Why we do anything, matters immensely. How are you helping to reach the sick, the hurting and the people marginalized by culture and society? We do that because it’s what Jesus has called us to, so when we focus on the why, the how takes care of itself.


Joseph Castaneda



It's crazy to me that God has gifted us the ability to work, so that according to Ecclesiastes 3:13, we can enjoy the good things from our labor. Without question, our greatest joy will come when we are living face to face with our Creator God in eternity, but until that day, we are given opportunity and permission to enjoy the good in this life, too!

What would our lives look like if we truly enjoyed the labor of our hands, the grind of the work place, and even the challenges of the daily commute? What if we saw all of these things as gifts from God instead of difficult, miserable, or even unlikable parts of our lives?

Instead, what if our daily work routine was viewed as a hand-selected, prized gift, given to us by God Himself so that we could enjoy the work, enjoy the meals we purchase with the income, and relish the good times with friends and family that the resources given us provide? Imagine how different we’d view each day!

This verse brings to mind Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, given thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Do you find joy in your work? It may not be the job that’s the problem (No, I’m not saying that every job is great. I’m simply reminding each of us that work is a gift from the Lord, and regardless of whether or not we “like” our particular vocation, we can still choose joy!), but your perspective that needs to change.

Today, choose to enjoy the work God has given you.