In describing how to bring a sense of “Awe” back into worship, Matt Redmen recently was quoted saying, “Everything has been so minimized and over-familiarized and a lot of the mystery has been sucked out of our culture and everything has been made easy by the touch of a button….how can it be that a God that made and sustained the universe and spoke the stars into being….How can it be that he’s interested in me?….I heard recently that writer Bruce Springsteen liked to take peoples lives in his music and take them from ordinary and make them extraordinary….I just worry that we have made many of our Christian songs and taken the extraordinary and turned them into just ordinary.”
When I first heard this, my tears began to well up in my eyes. What a powerful saying about our pattern of worship. Not to say that all people are like that, but think about this; he also said remember when “the heavens were open, all the people ever sang was ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty!'” Their minds were “souly” focused on the Lord. All they wanted was to be close to our Father. Notice I said...OUR FATHER….not just Matthew, Mark, Luke or John’s Daddy….but OUR DADDY!
Lately my heart is aching. My soul feels incomplete. My life feels in a constant spin trying to find a stopping point where my focus will come into just that….FOCUS! For the past few months, since I ceased being the interim pastor of a church I was in love with; my life has been in a deep search mode. What has my life become? Why do I continue to feel secure, yet unstable in my life as a “Bugman”? I love to serve others; I love to study His word and all that surrounds being more like Him. I love to speak His truth and encourage and motivate people! The fact is, I made a goal/promise to myself a little over a week ago: I want to be public speaking full time by age 40. Not just sermons, but be good enough to be at conferences. I have a lot to say about Jesus and I want to serve Him FULL-TIME! I’m 37 right now almost 38; that gives God and I just over 2 years to figure it out.
Taking care of my two ladies, providing for them and making sure this house is cared for and livable is what I have felt over and above much of my “career” is what I’m suppose to do first. This concerns me that I am falling into the scope of making my “extraordinary” life God could give me and making it “ordinary” because of not feeling I’m good or worthy enough. Every moment I hold that spray bottle in my hand I ask, “Is this it for me Lord?” “Is this all I’m meant to do because of the choices I make?” I want more than ANYTHING to serve with all my life, all my efforts, all my gifts to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! With all that desire, WHY must my journey be so difficult to get into where I want to be? I don’t want to worry about finances or what direction I may go; if we’ll have to move and sell our home or what roles would be asked of me. I am in love with my SAVIOR!
Sounds like an awesome happy ending right? The conclusion to a real tough story where triumph excites and motivates the audience! If only that was real for me. You see, every time I express this passion and desire for Christ, I continue within the same breath showing my acceptance to the world. I feel exactly like the Apostle Paul describes in Romans 7:15-20, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”
Being born into sin it constantly reminds me that this body I live in, though it is Christ’s temple for the Holy Spirit , longs and seeks to do what is against God’s will! This causes the hostility that Paul later describes in Romans 8:7, “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” Notice the key body part that is hostile? THE MIND!! This is where the whole problem with me and my desires comes from! What I want I sabotage by what I want! Did you get that?? Every time my heart, eyes and MIND are focused on God; my worldly infection surrounding me causes my MIND to wonder on sinful things….sabotaging a moment with Him! For example, one of my two biggest sabotages is having a passionate praising moment with God and BAM! There goes an attractive woman….eyes detour towards her direction leaving the praise muted and me feeling it was half-hearted! The second is verbal. Thinking and speaking God to someone or around someone and then a car cuts you off or someone is a jerk to you….my mouth quickly fires negativity and sometimes cursing. My mind is so jumbled and the only time I am happiest and most focused is when I am surrounded by God (& I acknowledge him) all the time of my day!
We are all there….we ALL struggle and fall short of the glory of God, scripture tells is that; however I constantly wish I could see inside how people like Paul and even Billy Graham today faced the sinful infection surrounding our bodies and minds. Even pausing to type this I stop to look at girls walking by and I FEEL my focus clouded for that moment! I HATE IT WITH A DEEP, SUFFERING PASSION!! I’ve heard from others I’m just making excuses for my sin and God wants to see action, not complaining out of you! I’ve heard the famous, “Give it to God!” and even “maybe you’re ignoring what He is really trying to tell you! Oooo I hate those comments!!!
It is not ME who loves the world and it’s temptations, but the SIN living inside of me that thrives for it! I don’t ask to have the temptations and weaknesses, my crappy infection mind wants them! Call it my ADHD as a child or whatever you want that prevents me from gaining control….I don’t know; but know this is NOT WHAT I WANT!!! I see a Francis Chan, Andy Stanley, Kyle Idleman and even a Billy Graham and I see that I could do that kind of work for God! Yet I am lost to know who could ever want to hear what God has to say through me…..when all they see is my failures and judgements?
God I PRAY that those taking the time to even read this can FEEL what I FEEL and if they too even have a hint of the same struggles to be open, be honest and CRY OUT TO JESUS and not be ashamed, not be embarrassed or NOT be disappointed in admitting these frustrations and struggles!! Being “OK” as a Christian or even being complacent with your walk is NOT what were designed for. This body, this mind, this existence on earth might be bound to here….BUT WE ARE NOT IF WE HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST!! This is not my home, and I certainly don’t want to bury anymore roots into it spiritually!
To think that even though I suck as a Christian compared to the Disciples Jesus wants us to be; fail every single day and lust for all the wrong things….AND HE STILL LOVES ME AND WANTS ME?? Is completely unheard of in this world….WHY? Because silly people!! We are again, NOT OF THIS WORLD!!! What oh Lord, MUST I do, must we do….to live as if everyday we are extraordinary like you designed us to be!!?? I don’t want gain this stinkin world and lose my soul because I decided “lukewarm is the new Jesus follower! Uh-uh! No way!!! I feel inside a burning, scorching passion for Him and I will be damned (literally) if I believe I’m gonna let it blow out!!
Hook me up to your yoke oh Lord! This burden has been too much for me and I need your yoke because it is LITE! Together we can tread through all rough areas this world makes us walk through and show your way for them and me to your promised land! No fancy quotes or pep talks, no mediocre fellowships, no self help books over your word….just ONE-ON-ONE….mono-e-mono! I wanna see this world and ACT in this world through your eyes! I want to respect the sacrifice you made on that cross even for this guy! No more spitting, no more flogging, no more whipping, and no more nails driven!!! GOD, I NEED YOU! Every hour I need you….
Father (repeat after me if you need to), I’m dying inside. The longer I am away from you I feel suffocated. I no longer am myself in your glorious image, but the self I’ve allowed Satan to make me believe through this world. I am your child. I am not perfect, but your grace finds me no matter how far I run. I need your help. I need my mind to be consumed with you. Visions of you, sounds of you, thoughts of you. I want to overflow with Jesus more than myself. I love my family Lord, but they are not you. Only after you, can I be the person my family needs me to be. Take this life and MAKE it be an offering for you everyday. If I am never called for ministry specifically in a ministry setting, make my setting I am in a sanctuary for your glory beyond any boundaries of this world. Father I need this. When it is my time Lord to join you someday, may my life die serving you and only you for I want my life to outlive my legacy of sin and only tour legacy of love & grace be seen forever. These are the tears from my soul oh Lord and to you I pray….in Jesus name, AMEN.
Confronting the Lie: God won’t give you more than you can handle