It’s been a while. A long while. And during that long while, I have changed. …
As I finish my final preparations for Brazil, I’m left with a feeling of inadequacy. A realization that I’m not at all qualified to be using the church’s money to fly into another hemisphere to minister. See, a feeling of complete inadequacy.
Today I read Matthew 28:18-20, in which Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
To be honest, my feeling of inadequacy is garbage. It is an attempt of Satan to break apart my God confidence and to minimize our team’s effectiveness. It is true that on my own, I am inadequate, but Jesus says that He has been given all authority and because of that, we are to GO. He then reminds His disciples that He is ALWAYS WITH US!!
As the eight of us pack up and travel to Brazil tomorrow, Jesus is with us. All eight of us are completely inadequate and incapable of doing this on our own, but we are not alone. We have Jesus!! He has sent His Spirit, who enables us!
The great news is that this is true for all of His disciples. Whether you are going to Brazil for two weeks, going to Asia for a year, going to work for 8 hours, or headed into the mine for a night shift, we are ALL empowered by the Spirit. Whenever we feel inadequate, stop and be filled with the comforting truth that you are not alone. You are a strong son or beloved daughter of the King who is with you until the end of the age.
This is a story.
A long story.
A story that began a while ago, but is far from completion.
This is but a short chapter that began in the fall of 2011. As a senior at Cedarville University, the time had come to begin planning what I was going to do after graduation; if not to put my own mind to ease, I needed to at least come up with an answer for the questions I heard every day.
“The world is mine” I kept thinking. “When I walk across the stage, receive the most expensive and hard earned piece of paper I will ever touch, the world is mine.” My thoughts weren’t self-centered as much as they were my attempts to process everything. Graduating with no girl at my side, no commitments… nothing holding me to any certain location, the world is, in a way, mine for the taking. Isn’t that what we’ve always been told?
… Continue Reading
Warm sunshine that brightens everything that walks in it. A cool breeze that carries with it a hint of warmer weather to come. New fresh life bursting forth from the brown tinted ground. Buckets of cold rain pouring from the clouds nourishing everything in sight.
This is Spring. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on Autumn, and how it is both an incredibly beautiful time, but all tainted with the reminder that for the next few months, all of creation will be dormant…seemingly dead. This post came a few days before Easter, and this realization of death came with the recognition of Christ’s execution. … Continue Reading
I can’t justify this, but I’ve been feeling kind of passion-less recently. Life is good, school work is steady, but I’ve just been doing things, with no purpose or motivation behind it. Unfortunately, this lack of motivation has also manifested itself into my spiritual life. Last week I wrote a post talking about how I longed to be the one jumping out of the boat to walk on water with Jesus, to be put into the game, but this week, I have found myself content sitting in the boat, sometimes not even caring what was going on outside. This whole attitude sort of climaxed as I was trying to sleep on Saturday night, when these lyrics from Hillsong wouldn’t stop repeating in my head.
“You were near though I was distant Disillusioned, I was lost and insecure…”
I’ve been keeping Christ at an arms-length this week for no reason whatsoever and in the end, I’ve been left with insecurity. But, in the midst of this, Christ wasn’t content with being pushed away. As those lyrics were on repeat in my head, I caught a glimpse of God and His grace, one in the form of a 2 day old Direct Message from a friend talking about how she is being stretched in a few different ways in relating to others. In concluding, she said, ”Strive for progress, not perfection, eh?”
In these moments of our lives, we often want to clean house, throw everything out, start fresh. I know I do. Begin a new day with a perfect amount of time for quiet time, hours of prayer, donating everything I have to the poor, living the PERFECT LIFE from the get go. But no, if you strive for perfection, you are left with a few days of self righteousness and then a time of regret after you inevitably fail.
Strive for progress, not perfection.
Those Hillsong lyrics in my head on Saturday night were kind of depressing, because I wasn’t remembering the whole song. This song is a song of hope.
Trading your life
For my offenses
For my redemption
You carried all the blame
Breaking the curse
Of our condition
Perfection took our place
STRIVE FOR PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION because PERFECTION TOOK OUR PLACE.
Christ has done what we could not and He continues to do so today. In our imperfection, He becomes perfect. In our weakness, He becomes stronger.
In what areas are you making progress?
How is Christ transforming you?
Have you ever wanted something so bad, but never been able to get it?
I’m not talking about wanting an iPad, but not being able to afford it or even wanting that Frappuccino but arriving at the door minutes after Starbucks closes.
I’m talking about craving something so badly that is right before you, but being so torn and distressed that you can’t make up your mind. Sometimes when you finally make up your mind, it’s too late. Other times the right decision has been starring you in the face so terribly long, but for some reason you’ve over analyzed and over thought it so much that clear direction is the last thing you see.
Welcome to my mind.
I truly wish it didn’t take me so long to think things over. By the time I finally decide what’s best, I’m convinced its too late. I long for spontaneity, boldness, and the impulse to do great things. I want to be like Peter and be willing to take the step out of the boat, instead of the unnamed disciple sitting in the corner, considering every option, and finally, when i muster up the courage and want to take the step into the unknown, Jesus swings his last leg into the boat.
I crave boldness, yet I’m stuck in a rut of being careful. I want to live my faith loud, yet I’m always attempting to speak gently, pleasing people. I want progress but I fear risk. I fear change.
In these situations, I am consumed with a spirit of worry, doubt, and unrest. However, when Jesus’ last words on earth, He made a promise. In John 16, Jesus tells of all the times of trouble that His believers will encounter: times of persecution and ridicule. While this doesn’t describe my situation, the worry and frustration that comes along with it does. It is then that Jesus promises to send the Helper, the Counselor, the Comforter, the Spirit. Jesus describes the Spirit as:
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
- John 16.13
In my times of distress, I must remember that Christ’s Spirit is within me, guiding me into the truth.
Have you ever been stuck in a place of wanting? What is it you want most?
This past week, the pastor in charge of all things intern at Nappanee Missionary Church had us share five words that describe our current reality as it relates to our relationship/interaction with Christ.
Here are my five words:
- Salt – God is teaching me what it really means to leave the salt shaker of the Church and start being a preservative in a world full of decay. (Hey, I like the metaphor!)
- Faithful – learning that God is faithful even when I am not.
- Idolatry – learning the simple truth with incredible implications to put God before EVERYTHING in my life.
- Joy – Learning that life is not abundant without being joyful.
- Source – God is constantly reminding me that He is my source for everything.
What are your five words?