Posts tagged ‘holyspirit’

Sunday Blurb

Today in both services, our Pastor was really sensitive to what was going on around us. It was pretty evident that the Holy Spirit was moving, but then he came up and asked all who were able to just “take a knee” and be still in the presence of God. It was so powerful. For me, both instances were completely different. The first service was really about pouring my heart out to God. The second was just resting in Him, and allowing myself to be washed away in His love. It’s hard to explain, but as I thought about it earlier today, I wrote this poem. Hope it makes sense.

 

Down on my knees, head kissing the ground,
forgetting all the noise that is swirling around.
bearing witness to His presence, cause the only sound
Is people declaring “Holy”, giving Him the renown.
Transported to a place, holy ground indeed,
Where He becomes real, and then He proceeds
To meet every single need, filling up every hole
Taking my broken spirit, mending, and making me whole.
Bowed low, but lifted high, drugs couldn’t compare
To the feeling when our God came in and took us there.
Blasted away from this earth, His goodness filling the air…
The King of Heaven and Earth choosing to visit us here..
His love evicting all fear, causing tears as He draws near,
Filling to the fullest-
An electric atmosphere.

Worship the Lord, all ye people in every land,
Lift high His great name, for He trumps all of man.
And when He comes in all His glory, people, please understand
Give him the first and best praise,
Not just the secondhand.

Advertisements

An Honest Assessment

We just recently returned home from a trip to our home in the South. Being down there raised so many emotions, and it was really surprising to me that I had to filter through so many conceptions and misconceptions concerning ministry and my role in it.

I can still remember sitting in my car and telling God yes. He called me to preach. he called me to minister. For reasons unbeknownst to me, He saw something in me 10 years ago that He wanted to use. Now, 10 years later, I still can’t quite figure out what that “something ” is. There is a stark difference in the way ministry is looked at between where I’m from and where I am now. If we had remained home, I would most certainly be a Pastor of a church by now- probably would have been pastoring for a few years now. I was being groomed for it, and my wife was being groomed to be a Pastor’s wife. It is almost like a farm system, where you are trained to preach. The saying is that the only way to grow a preacher is to let them preach! When I was home, in my first church, I came up without any pastoral leadership. Our church was without a Pastor, so I had all of the opportunity to preach that a new preacher could ever ask for. They licensed me, and I was sure that I would be the Pastor of that church one day.

Then I lost interest, because God was moving me into something new. I left that church and went along with my wife, because God wanted to show me that the Holy Spirit was real. It was in that church that I first received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It was in this church that I proudly served as an Associate Minister with 7 other dynamic, spirit-filled men. We sat in the pulpit. We preached with fire and intensity. We prayed in loud voices until we were hoarse at the end. I lead an intercessory prayer ministry. I co-lead with my best friend in a class that saw so many get baptized in the Holy Spirit. I was fine with the status quo. I knew that I’d go through classes soon, and then get an assignment to a church. I would be a Pastor, which is what God was calling me too anyway. I was fine with that.

Until I wasn’t anymore.

What I saw many times were young preachers put in churches where the congregations were not growing, and were more interested in upholding the traditions and stories of the past, than building new stories in the present. It was frustrating. I felt like God required more. And when He moved us to Missouri, I finally saw that there was in fact MORE to being a minister than simply preaching. Over the last 6 years, I’ve had to repent several times, because at times it has felt like the wheels have been spinning, while no distance was covered. I have been hard on myself, harder as I have gotten older.

So, this trip home was a little difficult on my psyche. I don’t mind admitting that. See, for every question of how we were doing, there was another question as to whether or not I was a Pastor yet. Reminders of those of my spiritual kin who were now pastoring were never far away. Ministers younger than I, working dutifully in churches that were growing and thriving. I began to feel the old feelings of jealousy and insecurity began to resurface. Cause see, where I live now, there appears to be a way to work up into Pastoral ministry. It seems to begin with working as a youth pastor, and then being granted more responsibility from there. But in my case, I have never felt the leading to work primarily in that capacity. So what does that mean? Was I not good enough? Had I not been chosen after all? With every fiber of my being, i want to feel as if I am some use to God, but by that same token, I harbor deep-seated ambition. I recognize, and admit to that. I’m flawed.

Despite my honest feeling here, in my spirit I know the time will come when God will say “NOW!”. If I have matured anywhere, it’s in knowing how to separate what my feelings are telling me versus what I know to be true in my spirit. My life these past 6 years has been filled with a richness of life experiences that have shaped my personal view of who God is and how faith works. I have a personal theology that is dear to me. And while at times, it really feels like maybe God hasn’t called me at all, I also know that had He not called me, my life would have probably been a bit easier to this point. lol. I know that’s not really a concrete thing to say, but I know that it is true.

So, how do I reconcile all of this? I mean, God has called me to minister and Pastor one day. I serve, and I serve, and I watch. I celebrate those who are working according to the vision that God has given them. I serve within their visions until God shows me my own. I counteract any jealousy that comes up with praise for what God is doing in lives via those ministers and Pastors. Just in my own church, the youth Pastors are putting something really special together, something that will shape a generation for years to come. Our JR High Pastors are working to develop identities in those kids that will counteract what culture tries to tell them. Our elementary and preschool Pastors are pouring into those kids hardcore. Until further notice, my job is to serve with them.

Finally, I trust God. He knows what He is doing. He is preparing me for something that I can’t handle right now. And while that just feels so counter to what I have been raised with my whole life, it’s where I am right now, and I’m at peace with it.

finally.

God be praised.

A Wonderful Change

I remember watching “The Passion of the Christ” when it came out on DVD. My wife and I didn’t want to go and see it when it was in theatres, so I purchased it after it was finally released. As we half watched- half bawled through it, something happened on the inside of me. It was something so powerful that the next day at work, I passed out tracts like they were going out of style! In this job, most people pretty much knew that I was a Christian, but I had never shared my faith. So, as I passed out these tracts and left them on people’s stations, I got many curious looks. But in my heart, I felt a stirring that people needed to know this Savior who endured hellish kinds of torments for our sins. I was changed! I was on fire! I was mistaken, because after that day, I never passed out another tract in that job. I never witnessed again in that job. The change didn’t stick. I have never really thought about it that much until lately. It got me started thinking about why that change didn’t stick. I mean, I knew God was doing something powerful in my life as I watched the rendering of Jesus being murdered, but the change did not stick! what does it take for the change to stick? When does change become real change?

I think that firstly I allowed my change to come via emotional pursuits. I mean, who can watch that movie without their emotions really getting the best of them? Through tears and much internal wrestling, I somehow made the decision to pass out tracts. This happens every Sunday. We get together and have emotional meetings with God. We cry, we fall to our knees, we snot and sniff, we dance and laugh; but then we leave and the emotion ceases. Why? We serve a God from whom all emotions were created, and all emotions understood. But why can we not serve God out of our emotions? The heart is described as a deceitful thing. Our emotions are all messed up. That explains why all at once we can “feel” like God is with us, and then feel completely abandoned by Him. Our emotions can tell us truth, but many times, they can also tell us lies. If this was not true, how else do we explain half of the stuff that we deal with internally? Being emotionally lead causes us to misinterpret what God is actually trying to do. So when we seek God and seek to serve Him only out of an obligation to what we are feeling, then we risk missing the mark.

So how should we experience God? How do we experience change that lasts? It comes down to being willing to accept truth. I believe that God has created each of us with a propensity towards truth. We internally recognize it when we are confronted by it. Whether or not we act on it or believe it is a different story, but we know truth. And when we experience God from an avenue of accepting His truth, believing His word as truth, and then acting on that truth, we are changed in a way that can be lifetime lasting. Yes, there will be emotion. We can’t eliminate it. I mean, I cry every time we have worship, and every time I praise God tears freely flow. I’m probably the BIGGEST God cry-baby that there is at times, but my tears come from a place of knowing who He is, and what my history has been with Him. It is emotion born out of knowing and accepting the truth. It was Jesus who said that the truth would make us free. I believe that this freedom allows us to be lead to Christ hungrily and thirsting after what He freely offers. And once we taste just a bit of His freedom, our emotions will worship Him as truthfully and honestly, as our hearts do. He truly becomes the source of our emotions, rather than something that our emotions can sometimes push back against.

The truth of the Cross of Christ is that it changes us. It washes us. It frees us. The truth of the Cross of Christ is that it is horrific, brutal, and hellish. The truth of the Cross of Christ is that if we believe in it, and Christ’s resurrection, we become changed into a new creation. Whether that registers with any emotion matters not. It’s the truth. And when we begin trusting in the truth that is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, we will begin to be changed, and we will begin to see our world changed as never before. We must be renewed by our minds first, before we can be transformed in our lives.

On last Monday night, I watched the conclusion of the “Bible” series on History. My eyes welled up with tears as I watched another rendering of Jesus being crucified. This time, however, I pushed the tears back down. As I watched with clear eyes my savior dying, I saw a beauty there that I had never registered before. I saw love that had never completely registered before. And when they showed the empty tomb, I felt exhilaration that may not have registered in a smile, but my spirit and soul leapt within me. This is the God we serve. This is the Christ that we pursue. This is the Holy Spirit that we are lead by.

Until next time, family, be blessed.

 

A Place For Everything and Everything in It’s Place

I sometimes get to frustrated with myself, and my capacity to be what God means for me to be. Then i realize that I’m trying to become someone on my own strength, and have to repent and laugh at my own stupidity. I’m coming around though, but sometimes I feel the cold, slender tendrils of jealousy wrapping their hands around my neck.

Lord, where is my vision? where is the plan? Why do I keep hitting this roadblock? When do i step into what You have for me? Lord, You called me. Why don’t I feel equipped? Why am I not being used? Why am I such a failure? Look at them over there, working and serving away. Why not me? why not now?

If I’m right, you’ve had those same questions and conversations with God. As far as I can tell, there is nothing wrong with getting those initial feelings and thoughts out in the open. God knows them anyway, so why not vocalize them to the only One who can understand where they come from? While I believe in having a support system to help us wade through our issues, I also believe in the peace of venting to God, giving voice to my anger, sadness, despair. But, I also believe in the danger of comparisons. That is where I am right now in life.

Seemingly all around me, I can see signs of progress. I can see signs of God working mightily through those who are much younger than I am, older than I am, and the same age that I am. When I allow myself to be taken in by the natural aspects of what i see, then jealousy manifests. But when I focus on the spiritual ramification, when I understand that there is much work that God is doing behind the scenes to produce such work into the open world, I am more in awe of how creative God is in His workings in our lives. As I grow older, I understand how deadly comparisons are in our lives. for years, I have compared myself to everyone in sight; trying to find ways to snatch what someone else has, so that I can see the same results in my own life. Now almost 33 years old, I can see that whoever I am, be it full measure or only partial, is only a result of what God has done through me to this point. The workings of grace and mercy in my life are such that God shows me that He has no favorites. I think that it takes us a long time to really internalize that. Sometimes we think that God shows more favor to the Pastor

———————————————————————————————-

My thinking takes a turn right here.

Comparing yourself to someone else is futile. Comparing your ministry to someone else is futile. Comparing God’s work in your life versus someone else is futile. Comparing is insulting to the Holy Spirit. We see in 1 Corinthians that all gifting are given by the Spirit as He pleases. Just because you perceive someone else as being higher or deeper in God than you are, deosn’t make it true. I am learning that where God is concerned, the hierarchy is the Godhead, then us in a straight line. I would venture to say that not one of us is any more important than the other. While there are some who have made global impacts, who have started whole movements or expounded upon great dispensations of the Spirit over the years, there are even more who have propped them up by giving time, sweat, prayers, tears, etc, to ensure that the public display might be seen.

So, I guess what I’m getting at is this- you have a place. Instead of spending so much time questioning God, why not trust that where you are and what you are doing is bringing Him glory, which is all that we can ask for. When we seek to glorify God and lift Him higher, He draws all men and women unto Himself. honestly, it’s not easy to feel good in your own skin. For some it might be, but for others like me, it’s a daily, constant, gut wrenching battle. My only advice would be to strive every day to see yourself through God’s eyes.

In truth, God has you where He has you for some reason. Even if your situation is dire, you’re on the verge of giving completely up, and you could care less what anybody else thinks of you, there is a purpose in it. There is vision in it. There is ministry in it. There is gifting at work through it. There is a purpose. There is a purpose. There is a purpose. THERE IS A PURPOSE!

A purpose that is only meant for you to accomplish. Someone else might be working mightily for God in a very public way, but instead of comparing yourself to them, work with them, support them. Pray for them, because nine times out of ten, they are struggling with God’s calling on them as much as you are. The beauty of God’s Kingdom is that just they need you, you will need them. People are raised in due time to be a blessing for others whom God calls.

Stop comparing. Start living. Then you will see the results God desires.

*Disclaimer: this post is very disjointed. It is because my thoughts on this are also disjointed. as I said, I fight with myself daily on this, more than any other thing. Glory be to God that He has given me grace to blog, because I sense that there are more out there who need to feel peace about who they are in Christ, and where they are headed. So, be blessed.*

 

Simply put, God’s Love is EVERYTHING!!!

I have been reading Christian Athiest, by Pastor Craig Groeschel of Life Church.tv. The reading has been slow for me, but I think that is purposeful. There are so many good nuggets of thinking and meditating material in it, that to read it faster might be more bad than good. The most recent chapter that I read talked about people who believe in God, but also believe that He could never love them, for one reason ot another. Maybe it’s because of the shame that we carry about our past sins before becoming Christians. Maybe it is because we feel that we are so insignificant. So many times, we attribute human characteristics to God. Think about your childhood and your relationships with your parents, or whatever caregiver you had. Now, think about how you see, view, and approach God. I remember growing up, and even as a teenager, quietly knocking on my dad’s door when I wanted to ask him something.  I didn’t want to bother him, because he was a busy man. Even today, I sometimes fine myself quietly knocking on God’s door, even though we are told to approach Him with courage and boldness. No matter how good or bad your relationship with your parents, I can promise you that there are some aspects of them that have been transferred to how you interact with God. Only the ministry of the Holy Spirit can free us of those chains.

 

I love the way God can cause things to interact though, because in our Wednesday Bible Studies we have been doing Forgotten God, by Frances Chan. Last night’s study dealt with how much God desires us to have a deeply personal and intimate relationship with Him, one that goes further than us calling Him by his formal name. he wants a relationship with us that involves us knowing Him the way a child knows his or her loving father, can calling Him as such. It’s the Holy Spirit that calls out through us to Him as Abba, or Daddy. As we were talking about all of this last night, and how the Holy Spirit shows us in our lives and ministers to us through every instance to show us how much God loves us, I had a hard time holding back tears. To think that God, Elohim, Yahweh, this same God who is above all, yet IN all…that He loves me renders me speechless. And yes, I have had real issues in believing the depth of God’s love for me in the past, because I couldn’t see how God could love someone who sinned as deeply as I have in the past, and sometimes still today. Why would I ever be worthy of God’s love? How could I ever be worthy?

 

And Craig Groeschel and Frances Chan both talk about how we think that we can earn God’s good graces by going cold turkey from our sin for a time, then thinking that we can approach God for a relationship after we have been “clean” for a particular amount of time. But see, that doesn’t work, because we always fall right back into that sin or more sin. Furthermore, our sin is not the point. God does not focus on our sin. He focuses on US. His love is so much greater than wanting to condemn us for every wrong thing that we do in life. His love is so much stronger than the weakness we exude in our times of falling away.

 

The story of the prodigal son really moves me like nothing else as I get older. The image of the father running out to meet the wayward son as he returns to ask if he can merely be a slave- how is that not us at some point? We sin and come back to God as a last resort, expecting God to treat us with contempt and scorn, to shackle us and make us to menial labor around His house. Yet when we lift our heads, tears staining out face, our shame causing our shoulders to buckle and lean; we look up and see not merely God, but ABBA running as fast as He can to meet us and lift us up! We feel His arms around us, squeezing us tightly and spinning us around over and over again. This is the love of our Daddy! Just typing this gives me goose bumps.  We can never truly comprehend the love of God, but He just asks us to accept it and believe in it!

 

There is something incredibly freeing about accepting God’s love. It frees us from the weight of expectation and the fear of failure. How many of us would have better lives if we weren’t consumed by wanting to make our parent’s proud? The fear of failing people drives us to do the most insane things, which are often to our detriment. And God presents His love to us in the form of Christ, who died for us while we were yet sinners. Do you understand the magnitude of these words? While we were yet sinners, while we ARE yet sinners, Christ died back them for each and every instance of sin and shame in our lives. Christ died way back then so that we would be covered for the rest of our lives. The Bible says that Love covers a multitude of sins. Guess what, that love is spelled out clearly in the blood of Christ. Every drop cleansed every sin, every detracting thought of doubt and self- image. Everything that Satan and our flesh would use to pull us away from HIM, Christ tethered Himself to us, refusing to let us go! He loves us! He loves us! He LOVES US!!!

 

So, what does this mean? It simply means that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord. It doesn’t matter what was in your past. Embrace the fact that God can make you a new creation. Embrace the fact that he WANTS to make you a new creation. This life changing message of love via the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the sacrifice of Christ has to be internalized and accepted as true within us. Our minds can not comprehend this, but it will bear such powerful witness in our hearts if we allow it to sink in.  So I would like to ask anyone who reads this blog today to do 2 things. I normally don’t do this, but I just feel lead.

 

  1. Share this blog posting with at least one person. If you feel lead to do more, bless you. It’s not about getting my reader counts up. It’s about getting the truth out. The world would have us believe that we are insignificant, unimportant, nothing special, because of one reason or another. God is screaming from the heavens that we are SIGNIFICANT and WORTH EVERYTHING! This is the truth that we need to be shouting as well.
  2. Stop and pray that God’s love becomes real in your life, and the lives of those whom you share this with. Pray for a relationship that goes beyond formalities. Pray for a relationship where you develop your own intimate time with Abba. Even if it ends with you calling God Provider, Healer, etc, this needs to be a personal relationship. As big as God is, He desperately wants to know everything about you and become your ALL.

 

Thank you for reading today. I’m so excited about God’s love, and I’m so excited about what He will do in our lives as we live in His love.

 

 

Something Short

At our church, we have been on a 21 day fast. We are in the last week presently. I can say that this has been one of the most fulfilling fasts that I have ever embarked on, partly because this time for some reason, I have been able to remain focused. I was looking forward to this fast before it even began. I believe that there is something marvelous happening in my life and in the lives of others throughout my church, and churches around the world. There are so many who are fasting right now. I think it’s completely fabulous to see so many starting the year off on a sacrificial note. Over the course of this fast, I think that God has been impressing upon me the benefits of a positive, faith filled life. Even though our struggles have really been hard, for the most part I haven’t been able to dwell on them. Instead, I’ve focused more on God’s goodness. Sure, there have been times where I’ve wanted to condemn myself for sins of the past that have been forgiven for, but God has really been faithful during this time.

Last night though, seems like all at once I felt the weight of everything that has been happening just land on my shoulders. I felt worry, anxiety, fear. I understand that this is a natural happening, and I have been praying since last night and into today, because I refuse to give in. I serve a good God, and my spirit realizes that everything happens for a divine purpose. God is building ministry into my wife and me. And while my mind continues to toss around “what if” statements, I know that God’s rest is here for me to walk in. I know that His peace is here for me to clothe myself in. That hope hakes all the difference in the world.

So why this post? I don’t know. I just think that sometimes it’s good to encourage others by what you are going through. Sometimes it is hard to keep a “God centered” view on life in the middle of the storm, but God will choose to redeem us FROM the struggle, or He will redeem us THROUGH the struggle. It’s our job to learn to praise him WHILE we struggle. If we ask, the Holy Spirit will help us remain focused. It is that focus on Him, that can translate into overcoming faith, regardless of the trial or tribulation.

So, stay hopeful. Receive His rest and His peace. That is my prayer for you today.

Be blessed!

I Know..I’m Late.

I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving holiday break. I know I’m late, as most bloggers to the cursory “What I’m Thankful For” blog before or on Thanksgiving. In a prior blog, I did the same thing. This year though, I didn’t want to be cursory. I really wanted to think about what I was thankful for. I mean, yes. I’m thankful for my wife and children. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my church. Those things are a given. But it really hounded me that so many times we give thanks for things, yet we have no real reason WHY we give thanks for them. And yes, we should give thanks in all things, for this is the will of God through Christ Jesus for us. I believe that. But it hit me yesterday what I’m thankful for.

 

When we have worship services, I am usually on stage singing with the worship team. While I have no qualms whatsoever about going after God and closing my eyes to focus properly, there are many Sundays where I don’t close them. I look around the service to gauge the temperature of the people worshiping. This is what I saw yesterday. I saw people who had not gone up for prayer being prayed for by people close to them. I saw people at the altar, totally abandoning themselves to God. I heard people shouting out and crying out to God. As worship continued, our Pastor came up and instead of calming things down so that the Associate Pastor could begin his message, he ramped things up higher and higher. He pushed for more worship, more adoration, more honor for God. And I watched all of this with open eyes, well, tear stained opened eyes.  People were jumping up and down. Hands were stretched, pushing into the air, reaching out for God to touch. It was pandemonium, chaos. Yet, it was beautiful. And it hit me.

 

I’m thankful that I go to Destiny Church. Why? Because at my church, the people, the Pastors, don’t care. Yes, they care that people engage in worship. They care that people grow in grace. But they don’t care how you express yourself in your worship to God. We have had a young man rap on stage. Yesterday, one of our guitarists shredded his guitar in offering praises to God. They don’t care. We jump. We leap. We dance. We shout. We cry. On stage, our Worship Pastor allows us the freedom to prostrate ourselves as we sing. Even people who lead songs have fallen to their knees during their leading. Instrumentalists have stopped playing and just lifted their hands. It’s bedlam. But it’s all for God! We don’t care how we express ourselves to God. We just give what we have to Him, and trust Him to receive it in the spirit in which we offer it. Now, don’t get me wrong. When I say that we don’t care, we understand that there are appropriate ways in the Holy Spirit to express that adoration. We understand that the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. We’ve been taught. We have been trained. But anything beyond that, they trust us to go forth in the Spirit. It is this freedom that allows God to completely wreck us in our services, and this is why I believe that so many lives are being changed each week. People are growing, expanding, stretching, and running after God.

 

I’m thankful that the Spirit manifests Himself differently in every life. It shows me that God has such an artistic flair. Services where so much is going on, yet there is harmony gives me a picture of God painting a beautiful picture of what heavenly worship will be like. I’m so thankful for a congregation that is moving towards autonomous worship, a response that just pours forth from their lives when in the presence of God. It is encouraging and empowering. I love it so much.

So, this is what I’m most thankful for this year. I count myself blessed. Thank you, Abba.

 

Until next time, be blessed.