Upheaval isn't anything new for Andy Coleman. He has experienced it most of his adult life.
When God has called on him, he has responded.
So, when Coleman felt prompted to run for Congress in the First District of his home state of Oklahoma this fall, he knew God's hand must be in it. In fact, the message he received from above proved all too clear.
As regional director of the Voice of the Martyrs' Middle East field team since 2011, Coleman often found himself in perilous situations. A Christian missions organization, Voice of the Martyrs serves persecuted believers worldwide and empowers them to share the gospel in the face of hostility and risk to their own lives.
He loved his job and the manner in which he had served Christ. With no plans to leave it, God whispered in his ear to make a drastic change.
"I actually believed I would be in the Middle East until the day I died," says Coleman, a U.S. Air Force veteran and former attorney. "It was 2015, and I had come back from a pretty amazing trip to Pakistan. Since I traveled a lot, I hadn't had a lot of time to think about what was going on in my own country. When I came back home, I began observing all of the problems we are having and saw it to be a train wreck. That's when God began to speak to me about our need for godly leaders.
"I resisted, pushed back and prayed. I said, 'I can't walk away from this; I haven't been released yet. With the Voice of the Martyrs, I felt like I had the winning lottery ticket in my pocket. He told me I had been blessed, but I needed to impart that blessing to the people back home. God kept me safe in that work, but He told me not to presume that would continue if I walked outside of His will. It was a very sobering experience."
A wakeup call, indeed.
With Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine vacating his Congressional seat to become NASA administrator, Coleman felt compelled, after much prayer and confirmation, to enter the world of politics.
With no prior experience, the leap into the political world felt awkward, but no more uncomfortable than when he was sent to Iraq to fight in Operation Iraqi Freedom or when he left an international law firm to take the position with Voice of the Martyrs.
Coleman has learned to trust God no matter what the task and believes God's will has always been done in his life. Trusting God is imperative, considering the stewardship God has given him of a wife and three children.
"With the political deal, I feel like my background is unique enough that is scratches the itches of the problems this country is facing," he says. "When I took the opportunity with Voice of the Martyrs, I left a nice paycheck behind at a big law firm and many of the people around me asked me, 'What are you doing?' But, God caught our feet each time we have stepped out in obedience, and he has equipped my wife, Liz, and me on a personal level each time to handle the challenges."
As a congressman, Coleman says he would champion structural reform within the country. One of the most pressing issues he intends to help tackle is government spending and the reduction of a national debt that has reached approximately $20 million.
Coleman says the debt is a national disgrace, and calls this irresponsible practice "generational theft."
"It's frightening the future we have set up for our kids," Coleman says. "It has become so bad that it's a national security vulnerability. Congress must initiate and maintain a serious effort to control spending that has gotten out of hand. I will passionately support efforts to cut unnecessary spend and to reduce and simplify taxes. These efforts are needed to spur economic growth and job creation."
Coleman says he will continue to lean on the one Scripture that has brought him thus far in life. Philippians 1:21 reads: "For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain" (Phil.1:21).
"With the challenges we face in this country, that Scripture is particularly pertinent," he says. "We need to die to self. This country is exceptional and a blessing to the world, and it's going to require grit and courage to take down the hurdles in front of us. We can overcome the problems if we surrender our will to His."
To learn more about Andy Coleman, visit andycoleman.org.
Shawn A. Akers is a content development editor for Charisma Media.
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