Posts tagged ‘Body of Christ’

Just Middling Thoughts

Officially my teaching career is 8 days old, but I can’t see myself doing anything else for the rest of my professional life. That statement comes with a bit of a caveat however, because I am working through a line of thought that has me a bit troubled, I must admit. You who have followed this blog from the beginning know my story, probably a bit more well than you would prefer too. Thing is, almost 12 years ago, God called me to preach, but it felt like something bigger than just preaching. So in the time since, I have always had in the back of my mind that my primary job would be as a Pastor, shepherding a flock, much like my uncle and others that I have looked up too. Now though, I am really having thoughts about that call. I used to separate my callings. I felt like my spiritual calling was a different thing than my professional calling. call it a separation of church and state, if you will. I figured that while they may occasionally bleed over into one another, they were still two very separate things. Now though, now that I know what it feels like to be operating in my gifts, I can see very clearly that there is something much bigger at work here.

 

I can’t really explain what i mean any better than that, except to say that it kind of comes down to fit. I have had issues with fit my whole life. I have wanted to feel like I fit somewhere, that God would show somebody someplace where I would be of most good to the Body. Lord knows that i admit my failings freely…the times that I have been jealous of someone else’s ministry or calling. But I recognize that it all falls back to my own feelings of inferiority and pride.

But what if, God HAS shown someone someplace where I can be of the most good to the Body of Christ? What if that person was my Principal and not necessarily my Pastor? What if that place where I fit is not within 4 concrete walls, but walking along halls with kids who have no idea that God loves them, except that I show them how much I care? What if when God called me to Pastor, it was to a flock like this? What if when God told me that I would start something, plant something, that it was seeds in these moldable hearts that I encounter everyday? Ministry in the marketplace. Taking Jesus to hearts who either know Him, don’t know Him, or don’t want to know Him.  I must admit that this is quite a shift in my thinking, and I’m not diminishing a need to the organized body in the church. However, this is causing me to think about my role at church in a different way. I don’t quite know what that way is right now, but something is happening inside of me. A new sound is going forth, and God is leading me into something that hits every area of my life. I feel some kind of fulfillment coming soon…the kind of fulfillment that includes both church AND state, because in my life they are one in the same.

Maybe I’m not supposed to fit at church, because to fit would mean that I’m comfortable, and I KNOW that my comfort is of no concern to my Christ.

All I know for sure is that I need to pay close attention to God in this season. As I have prayed that He would make my role in my church clear, I believe that He is really about to. And as i have prayed that He would place me where He wants me to affect change for His glory, I believe that He has placed me there; in a profession where His glory can be seen brightly and joyfully.

I’m sure that none of this makes any sense at all, but as with all of my blog posts, be blessed until next time, fam.

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Dead Zone? No More!!

Yesterday in church we were debuting a new song, “Break Every Chain”. The version that we did was performed by Jesus Culture, but there is also another version by Tosha Cobb that I absolutely LOVE to DEATH!!! Regardless, this song has such a powerful message to it. It seems to me that God speaks to me more and more Sundays during church worship. I can’t recall a time EVER where it feels like I hear God speaking to me directly as we worship. Please don’t think that I am bragging, or that I think that I’m special. I don’t think that at all. Usually I’m just worshiping along with the rest of the congregation when God “pulls me aside”. It just feels like it is happening more and more frequently these days. I almost put this up on Facebook, but decided to do it here, since not many people will see this post.

 

Anyway, here is the deal. One of the verses of the song simply says “There’s an army rising up.” It repeats several times. As we sang it, I found myself standing within the pages of the Bible at the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37. It was so crazy. I’m hearing the music around me, but I’m staring out into this valley covered with death and decay. Bones that have been baking in the sun for a long time. Then, as we continue singing, I see these bones begin to move and come together. And seemingly in the blink of an eye, there stood before me an exceedingly large army. This morning, I went back and found Ezekiel 37, and this verse stuck out to me,

 

“So I spoke the message as He commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet- an exceedingly large army. “ Ezekiel 37:10

 

I didn’t tell anyone about this vision yesterday. I kept it to myself and kept trying to figure out what it meant. Even as the service carried on, I found myself re-running this vision over and over again in my head, asking God what it meant. I’m starting to realize it.

 

I feel like God was telling me that as we worshiped and praised Him, we were declaring His purpose. We were “speaking as He commanded us”. We were allowing Him to release His will. As this happened, He was raising dead things and dead people. He was raising dead dreams, dead hopes, dead missions. He was reviving dead visions, and dead callings. The things that we have all laid to rest within ourselves, as we worshiped, God was raising them. He was speaking life into those things and us. And as we stood there worshiping, God was raising an army…exceedingly large, and exceedingly powerful! Then God showed me something else. He is drawing dead things. People who are half dead, half alive, He is drawing them. They don’t know why they are coming to our churches. They don’t know what is even placing the thoughts to try church in their minds. Some have not even sniffed a church in years, but for some reason, now they are trying it out. God is drawing the dead things that we might speak life into them. Ezekiel obeyed God, then watched in amazement as God raised the bones to life, symbolizing what He was going to do with the nation of Israel.

 

I get the feeling that what we have seen so far in my church is not even scratching the surface of what God has planned. I get the feeling that what the Body of Christ has seen so far is not even scratching the surface of what He is wanting to show the earth. If the dead can’t come into our churches, or encounter Christians, and walk away living, breathing disciples of Christ, then what are we doing? Everyday, Christ walked among zombies and restored life to them through His words and actions. What are we doing then? If we are truly imitating Christ, there should be an aura of life around us as we walk and talk among those who don’t know Him. We shouldn’t shrink from the moment, but trust God to revive all that we come into contact with.

 

I believe that we are really about to see dead things raised to life. There’s an army rising up., and it will consist of every soul that we have spoken life into.

 

Maybe this makes sense to you, maybe it doesn’t. maybe it resonates with what God has spoken in your spirit. Maybe it doesn’t. All I know is that I’m excited. I’m expecting. I’m ready. Let’s get to work!

BNG: Growing New Perspectives

Someone that I look up to as a mentor urged me to really try to blog more often, because it helps with spiritual growth to be transparent and talk about what God is doing in lives.  I really enjoy blogging. I just have to have something to blog about. Lol. I do now. And I hope my Pastor doesn’t get too mad at me for adding to his sermon series. Just seemed to fit. Any members of my church woul read this, this is not from any message Pastor Gene has preached. These are just my own thoughts.

 

All of my life, I have struggled with so many things dealing with my identity. I regret to say that I have been jealous at times of others who I interpret as being further along in their purpose than I am. I’ve been resentful at both man and God for presumed slights against me, for overlooking my own presupposed giftedness. I’ve used the fact that I know God has called me into the pastorate to harbor ill feelings and feel looked over., completely overlooking the fact that God’s path for me is completely independent of what He does in someone else. Not painting a pretty picture of myself am I? And this is the me that I see when I look in the mirror. Much of how I move through the world is based on aspects of this personality deficiency.  Even when it comes to spiritual gifts, I often haven’t been honest about my own, and embraced them. So, as you can imagine, for much of my life I have struggled with an identity crisis of sorts. Not that I don’t know what God says about me, but I’ve struggled accepting where I am versus where I think that I should be. I know that I’m not the only one out there who struggles with this. For much of my life, I have harbored dreams of being someone important, without being sure what a person of importance really is, has to sacrifice, and is responsible for.

 

What I am understanding now, though is that I have thought about things wrong all of my life. I’ve ministered to people about recognizing their worth in God, but disregarded that same wisdom for my own life. Let me give you an example. Ephesians 4:11 is a very well known verse. It says that when Christ ascended, he left gifts to men for the equipping of the church and to build up the body of Christ.  When I was younger, I thought that the order in which they were listed indicated their rank of importance. So when I would complete those gift surveys, and mine would come out as Pastor/Teacher, I would change answers to try and fit what I thought were higher offices. Perhaps, not esteeming what God holds as important is a reason why I’m just now submitting to His will for me to teach. The thing is, God did not give us these gifts to lord them over one another. The 5 fold ministry gifts were given to build a winning team in which each office needs the other to do its job effectively. One is no more important than the other. I see that now. Even in the church, everyone is on equal footing. The Pastor may preach in front of everyone, but he or she gets the least face time with the congregation. It’s the greeters, ushers, and congregation that makes the most difference in whether people feel welcomed enough to receive the word. It’s a total team effort.

 

Another area where God is really dealing with me is in the area of pastoring. I’ve come to the conclusion that while God has called me into that area, my primary pulpit will not be in a church setting. It’s been a hard chain to break in my life. Parts of me have felt that if I did not have a traditional pastorate, then I had failed God. Isn’t it funny how things sneak into our lives about Godly purpose that have no Godly relevance at all? Again, God is working on me daily about my perspectives and mission. My “church” will be the students in my classroom who see me everyday. My pulpit will be my interactions with them. My sermons will be my actions towards them and others that show God’s love on a daily basis. In just my short time being in schools as a sub and library aide, I see so many children who just need to be loved. And God has had to break down my walls about this, because for so long I was just rigid, not allowing God to be creative in my life. I wanted the status quo, because that is what I had been conditioned to desire. But while, I will preach in church from time to time, I will be ministering to these students everyday, children whom God loves with a stronger love than I could ever imagine.  It’s humbling that God is equipping me to do this hard work.  What has God called you to do, and are you allowing Him to be as creative with His calling as He wants to be?

 

So here is what I’m getting at; it is easy for us to become disillusioned with life, and with our identities. It is easy for us to spout Biblical truths to others when we know the Bible. It is easy for us to live lives that have absolutely no relevance in our own minds. What I am learning daily is that my life is not about me. It’s not about what I think about myself. It’s not about where I want to see myself. It’s not about how important I want to be.  And even with my self- esteem issues, I realize that when I focus on how far I am from where I want to be, I’m still being arrogant. I’m still being prideful by willfully focusing only on myself when there is a God in heaven who has His own thoughts about me. I really hope that you’re getting what I am trying to get across. Our lives should be daily testaments. We should trust what God says about us, and believe Him when He says it. We have to quit holding ourselves to a standard that God has not set for our lives. Our hopes, dreams, wants for the future, etc, are nothing compared to God’s dreams and will. And if we will be still long enough to hear from God, I believe that the same things that God is pulling out of me are things that He wants to eradicate from His church as a whole.

 

Don’t be like me and allow yourselves to become corrupted by your own dreams and expectations. Free yourself in Jesus’ name, and ask God to help you see yourself as He sees you, that He will help you dream His dreams about you. Ask Him to help you see through His eyes, the work that He wants to do through you. He will begin breaking down walls in your life, and He will break new ground, thus growing more fruit for others to partake of and see His glory.  A big part of God breaking new ground in our lives is building a new perspective in our hearts.  As we stay in His presence, this perspective will become who we are and how we live.

 

On the flip side, maybe none of this is you. If not, I praise God for who He has made you! I just pray that you will be open to God moving in you to help others who aren’t like you. The body of Christ is made up of all kinds. We have to help one another become all that God desires for us to be. So that is your charge!

 

Be blessed, family!