So. Very Interrupted – Week Five (Last Week!)
The insecure side of me shouts in my head, Don’t even bother writing your post today. People aren’t reading. It doesn’t matter anyway.
Fortunately, I was able to kick that side of me to the curb. It took a good amount of prayer and time today to do it. But, kick, I did.
So, just know that I am writing out of pure conviction, belief in the good of each of you, and obedience to my Maker. The hope for people still being my friends has officially left the building.
In fact, I will not write this one to you. Jesus has changed my heart and my world these last few weeks, so I truly feel I simply need to write this one to Jesus –
Here we go.
(quote from Ed Stetzer) – “The church is one of the few organizations in the world that does not exist for the benefit of its members. The church exists because God, in his infinite wisdom and infinite mercy, chose the church as his instrument to make known his manifold wisdom in the world.” (pg. 145)
Thank you Lord, that you have given us the opportunity to be Your hands and feet. We get the immense privilege to get out there in our world and shine your light to people who desperately need it. We have the chance, if we choose to take it, to truly serve others, live out your teachings, and, by the power of your Holy Spirit, be a small part in the true and eternal transformation of lives. That you would use us for this great a goal is beyond me. But, I thank you.
I pray, God, that we re-shift our thinking. May we not enter our church walls seeking to be served and made happy. May we enter our church walls, walking alongside someone we met outside the church walls who our heart breaks for, aches for, and longs for them knowing You. Continue to flip my world upside down, until I arrive at the closest possible life that mirrors Yours. Amen.
(quote from Halter and Smay) – “Jesus didn’t and we shouldn’t. He doesn’t need us to stick up for him; he needs us to represent him, to be like him, to look like him and to talk like him, to be with people that he would be with, and to take the side of the “ignorant” instead of those in the “know.” … Love has won infinitely more converts than theology. (pg. 149)
Jesus, you set the perfect example of how to love people with Your life. While I know I will never be anywhere close to where you are, I desire to have the same heart behind my work. May I genuinely see people as you see them. Open my eyes, Lord, every single day; please use me to show those precious people your love. Thank you for your faithfulness despite my lack of it. Continue to grow in me a heart of compassion for all of your kiddos. I want to be like you. I want to act like you. I want to talk like you. I want to serve like you. Only by your power and strength can I do any one good thing at all. It is you I cling to and trust. Teach me how to truly love.
Insisting that unbelievers or disoriented believers defer to our convictions is the quickest way to repel them from God. Even if our posture isn’t arrogant, broadcasting our extreme Christian principles without sensitivity makes us seem so weird that we’ll lose credibility anyway. (pg. 151)
Lord, while I am fairly confident you inspired Jen to write this for me and me alone, I cannot help but stop and wonder. You know my heart and you know the fire you, Yourself, placed within it. And while I tried to explain myself both through writing and through personal conversations with some of my closest friends, I am still not sure how to step forward. Thankfully, you know each of my steps. Help me to seek you for each one of them. And, you know I don’t want to repel anyone away from You and the work you’re doing…so please Lord, continue to work on me. I am so thankful that you are not even close to being done with me yet. Refine me and make me more how You want me to be. Help my attitude and actions change to only how You want them to change. If I am still ridiculed and misunderstood, then so be it. I want your will. Not mine. Not my friends’. Only yours. Forever.
Theology very naturally follows belief, but belief very rarely follows judgment. (pg. 152)
I am not the judge. Lord, PLEASE continue to strip that robe off of me and remind me of where I belong in the courtroom. Help me to see with my eyes wide open, the heart of your kiddos. Relationships are key to this lifestyle of being on mission for you. Help my authenticity bring people in so they can see how deeply they are truly loved by You. Let my life be my testimony. Not my words. Not my blog. Just the life you live through me.
How would our communities be transformed if our churches became servants in our cities. If at every turn, believers labored for others as if they were our masters, we could not be ignored for long. (pg. 152)
Oh that this is lived out through myself, my family and my friends. Pour us out, Lord. Help us to willingly and joyfully take on the role of servant to all. To our neighbor down the street, and the homeless man who stands at the corner of a street. May you receive every bit of the glory. Transform our communities, Lord…and please use us to do it, for Your Name’s sake.
Blessing blessed people and serving the saved eventually leave us empty – and despite a church designed to meet our needs, these words come out of our mouths: “I’m not being fed.” The largest factor in feeling unfed is not feeding others. (pg. 163)
Lord, I want to be used anywhere and everywhere. Please help me to keep this mind-set of it not being about me. I am never more like you than when I am serving others, so help me Lord, to focus on that, and not on my own desires and needs. You daily pour into me, so that I can pour into others. Help me not to keep any for myself in the spirit of spiritual gluttony. I want to be used. Keep my heart pure for the desire you have placed within it. Only by your strength, Lord…only by your strength.
Living on mission where you’ve been sent will transform your faith journey. (pg. 163)
Lord, your body is made up of many parts. All important, but all with different tasks. You call us to serve where you can use our gifts, talents, personality, etc. to do Your best work and bring You the most glory. That is, if we will answer your call. The specifics are different for each of us, but the mission is the same and it is simple.
The woman serving us coffee at the restaurant.
The man cleaning the floors under our feet as we sip that coffee.
But, I beg you Lord, help us not to stop there. Remind us of the lonely and forgotten who live under the bridge we had to pass to get there, too. The men working outside for fifteen hours that day, building yet another fast food place placed on that street for my convenience. Help me see them too, Lord.
Only You know the true answer as to how, where, who we will serve. I guess the question Lord isn’t that; instead the question is IF we are willing to answer the call.
The battle is for souls of humanity, and our secret weapon is love. (pg. 167)
Oh Father, this is all so much bigger than me. This is eternity Lord. This is for real. Please help me to stop focusing so much of my time and energy as if it’s all about my life, my home, my family, my goals, my comfort, my will, my interpretation of Your words written in red. Make my life all about You. Make my life all about Your love.
Amen, Lord, amen.