Hugh Halter
Sharing the Stage with God.
by Hugh Halter on August 26th, 2013

Sharing The Stage with God
I was late to speak. Got in after midnight from New York, took a cab to the hotel, got my room key and that’s all I remember.  Next thing I knew I was staring at my alarm clock that wasn’t actually going off. The red digital lights quietly said, “8:00am.”

Normally, that would simply be a nice round number, but as my mind began to form reasonable thoughts, I realized that I had 15 minutes before I was to give a “Ted Talk” at a national conference.

I speak all the time and most of the time I feel pretty comfortable making stuff up on the fly, but you’re actually supposed to say something useful during these focused 20-minute rapid-fire monologues. People come expecting coherency.

“Halter!” I screamed at myself, as I started bouncing off walls.  Running past my toothbrush, I grabbed five pieces of doublemint gum, started to naw on them like a beaver in heat, threw back on the shirt I had thrown on the floor, put my cowboy boots on without socks, checked for boogers in the mirror and then flew out the door.

Three minutes later I was at the room where I was supposed to meet the staff to get mic’d up.  Thinking my puma-like run had gotten me there with 20 seconds to spare I threw open the door, flew past Francis Chan and a handful of staff, in the direction of the coffee dispenser.  Realizing that everyone was looking at me weird, my mind said, “Wait, did I just walk by Francis without saying hi? Yes I did, so why don’t you wake up, turn around, open your mouth and act like a human… dipstick.” 

With these thoughts clanking off the inside of my skull, I wheeled around and made some morning small talk.  Then this thought echoed through the foggy chamber.

“Oh crap, not only am I late; not only did I not brush my teeth; not only do I not know what to say for my Ted talk; I don’t even know who “TED” actually is! And now have to look like a dork in front of Francis, who just so happens to be a pretty good speaker, dandy!”

We made our way into the room full of college students and Francis was mugged by adorning fans looking for pictures and autographs.  Me? Well, I had plenty of free time to sip my coffee without being bothered.  One of the band members noticed the discrepancy in my followership vs. Francis’s and said, “How does it feel to share the stage with God?”   

Now, if you know Francis, you know he’s a supremely humble man who only gives glory to God and always seems a bit squeamish about the whole “fan” thing anyway.  Yet, I thought about this man’s statement for some time. Christian culture, like any sub-culture has pop heroes. 

Churches rise and fall on the skills, persona, and bandwidth of single leaders all the time.  Guys like me get book deals not necessarily based on the merit of our writing but often on the amount of Facebook fans or weekly ‘hits’ we get on a blog, and today’s heroes are often man made instead of God anointed.  I wonder about this for myself all the time.  Why do people listen to me? Should they? If all of our ‘works’ get burned up to reveal our true selves and our true fruit someday, what will remain around me when the embers finally blow out?

I guess the best thing a person can have is something to ground him or her. Something that is always real and always true and always pure.  I have this.

Two hours after my last talk, I drove an hour north to visit my son Ryan who lives in an assisting living center for adult disabled people.  That’s why I took this speaking gig to begin with. I just wanted to see him.  When I got out of the car he was waiting for me with all his buddies.  Excitedly, they stumbled out to meet me looking like the gang of goblins on Michael Jackson’s video “Thriller.”  They slobber, spit, scratch themselves in the wrong places, pick their noses and then they all mug you and ask for hugs.  It’s awesome.
Ryan and His friends.
One hour with my son, with his friends, most of whom were abandoned years ago by their parents, always helps me to see God through all the hype.  They help me see myself.  None of them can read so none of them think I know what I’m talking about.  None are impressed with me except when I buy them dinner or take them shopping at Target for new videos.  I see God in them and it helps me find God in myself. 

Sabbaticals are good not just to get clear vision, but probably more importantly to get clear about foundational truths like, “I must become less, and He must become more.”  John the B, was the best at taking his fame and Facebook followers, and pointing them all to Jesus’ blog site so it’s probably a good idea to not think of ourselves any higher than that of a mist or a vapor.  Even on our best days we should be thankful that we have breath and life and a purpose to walk among people, especially people like my son and his friends.  They actually do share the stage with God. 

Posted in Family, Incarnational Community, Missional Church, Sacrilege, The Church    Tagged with sabbatical, francis chan, Hugh Halter, God, humbleness, Faith, engage conference, love, grace, mercy, recharge, Adullam


Josh Rodgers - August 26th, 2013 at 2:50 PM
Hugh, you intrigue me. I am a 37yr old pastor of a new church in TX. A total grassroots type of thing. I've been involved with ministry my whole life--from family ministry growing up to serving as a youth pastor, worship leader and associate pastor over the past 18yrs. When my wife and I started our church a year and a half ago, it was a total leap of faith. Still is. But our church is completely different than anything I've ever been a part of before. We didn't seek out to be different--we just want something real, relational, and fearless. And He's doing that. The ministry paradigms I've been familiar with my entire life are nowhere near where the Father has taken's unchartered territory for us but it's satisfying. Somehow I've stumbled on to you and some of your videos on YouTube. What's refreshing to me is that the things you are sharing (communicated very effectively BTW) are things that are naturally happening to us. So much of your outlook is describing to me what I'm experiencing and where Christ is leading us. It's nice to know and feel that we are not alone in this journey. I have no idea what your theology is and you've said a very few things that don't fly with me...but overwhelmingly I am refreshed by what Christ is doing through you. Be encouraged and know that you are being used by the Father to encourage me. God bless you bro.
Byron - August 27th, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Hey Hugh, just read this about your Ted you are something..:) I miss you my friend, our Middle East trip was really good, good because I met you and some friends that I will never forget. Give me a call sometime. See U
john - August 27th, 2013 at 12:37 PM
you don't preach while on sabbatical, jackass :)

Dave - August 27th, 2013 at 1:54 PM
Hey Hugh, great article. The thought "todays heroes are man-made" got me thinking about the ways that we perceive heroics. As if we even NEED, Facebook, Twitter, or CNN to determine heroics, but we've been thoroughly conditioned by media. Here's to the hero that doesn't need to tweet, Facebook post, or Instagram their moment because God is enough for them.
Bill - January 30th, 2014 at 5:38 PM
Damn, Hugh! I am hardly able to type this, tears streaming. Thank you for this. It's so right on. I have been lamenting the Christian pop culture that lifts up it's celebrities like demi-gods. I hate it. I appreciate your perspective on this. It is true, "he must increase" every minute of every day. Thanks bro, and Go Broncos. :)
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