Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Has taken so many
Love lost cause they all
Forgot who You were
And it scares me to think
That I would choose
My life over You
Oh, my selfish heart
Divides me from You
It tears us apart
So tell me
What is our ending?
Will it be beautiful
So, I have to confess… I don’t know where to begin. All I know is that every time I hear this song something in me cries out to sit at the computer and pour out the pain in my heart. So here I sit. Full of thoughts, with no clue where to begin.
Several years ago I remember writing in my journal about how heartbroken I was at the news I had (once again) received about another minister who had fallen. The stronghold of sin had claimed another victim, and more of the people I loved were learning how to walk through the new reality of broken trust and shattered dreams.
My heart breaks now just thinking about it. Men and women that God had exalted to positions of leadership and influence, people I loved and respected, caught in their sin. And those of us who looked up to them left wondering… why did they fall?
The scariest thing to me is the knowledge that I am just one wrong choice away from the same reality. The truth is none of us are safe from sin. We will never overcome the fleshly desires of our heart. And when temptation meets opportunity each and every one of us have the potential to fall, and fall hard.
I understand the logistics of if. If you’re doing great things for God then the enemy will do everything he can to stop it. And what’s the quickest way to destroy a move of God? Ruin the integrity of the person leading the way. Trap the Pastor in sin, let the leader get caught in bondage, bring to light the musicians secret shame. We all know… nothing ruins a ministry like public humiliation.
So what do we do? How do we guard against the schemes of our enemy? How do we safeguard against the trap of sin?
Honestly… I don’t know. All I know is this, when I take my eyes off the cross and put them on ANYTHING else, I’m setting myself up for disaster. When I start to thing that I am above the temptation of sin, I’m walking right into a trap.
What is it that I want? What is it that I am going after? Is it fame? Fortune? Popularity? Recognition? Admiration? Love? Approval? Success? What is my goal? Because if my goal is anything but Christ… I- will- fall! He alone is able to keep me. And any sacrifice on my part, any price to stay in His arms, is worth it. Because…
At the end of it all I wanna be in Your arms
Nothing else matters.
So tell me… what is our ending? Will it beautiful?
Friday, March 12, 2010
This weekend I am teaching at a ladies gathering, and this week has been horrible!!! It’s been one hard thing after another. I feel like I’ve been attacked from every angle. It’s been physically and spiritually exhausting.
The other day I was talking to a friend at work about feeling like I had nothing to offer to these ladies, yet I had to go deliver the word of God with boldness. His words of wisdom to me…
Not 20 minutes later I was on the phone with a friend who always tells me what I need to hear, even when it’s not what I want to hear. I shared this little pearl of wisdom and he agreed. Yet also told me exactly what I’ve been wrestling to find the answer too…
I can’t quit thinking about his words. I’ve known so many people who were bold in their faith, yet after spending time with them all I can think is that they are full of themselves and arrogant. Then… there are the people who have walked through trials and pain with Jesus and have a confidence that radiates from them. They are the people that I can’t wait to spend time with. When they talk I hang on their every word.
That is the boldness I want. Boldness that is birthed from my brokenness. Boldness that points to God’s mercy and grace, and not to my own strength.
There’s an old song that says “the only thing that’s good in me is Jesus”. It’s true. And that truth…
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I don’t have a problem with the world’s obsession with pornography. (Don’t stone me just yet, let me explain) I’ve never really had a problem with sinners acting like… well, like sinners.
They’re in bondage, they are separated from God. They’re supposed to act wicked. We did too, before we were set free from our sin.
The slavery of pornography in the world hurts my heart because it separates people from God. Pornography in the church grieves my heart because we’ve been set free, yet we still choose to live as slaves.
“But YOU are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
WE belong to God, they don’t. We are supposed to be different, set apart, holy. What does it say of our God when statistics show that the number of men and women who regularly view pornography is virtually the same for those in the church than those outside the church? What does it say of us when the divorce rate in the church is the same as the divorce rate outside the church? How are we any different than the world?
Time and time again, Old Testament and New, God warned his people against sexual sin. He hates it when the corruption of the world penetrates our churches. And it has. We have invited sin in our churches. Four out of every 10 pastors have confessed to visiting an adult web-site at least once a week. We have invited sin into our homes. Seven out of 10 men and 3 out of 10 women in the church have admitted viewing pornography at least once a week.
And it’s wrong.
It’s not wrong because it’s on a list of “unacceptable Christian behavior”. It’s wrong because it breaks the heart of a Holy God who died a painful death so that we could be set free.
“If MY people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
If we want God to remove sexual sin from America it will not be done by us protesting certain movies, or writing letters to editors. It won’t be accomplished by us lambasting sexually saturated advertising. If we want God to heal our land then WE have to repent. We, God’s people, the church. God is not calling unbelievers to repentance; He is calling HIS CHILDREN to repentance.
We may never be able to rid the world of sexual immorality, but shouldn’t we at least be able to rid the church of it? And who knows, maybe if we were different, if we were set apart, maybe then the world would notice. And maybe then they’d listen to the Good News we have to share.
(you can throw your rocks now)
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Remember the movie from the early 90’s A League of Their Own? It’s about two sisters who join an all female baseball league during World War II. The older sister, played by Geena Davis, is by far the better player and soon becomes the star of the league. Her team is doing well and makes it to the league’s first World Series. Days before the series begins, her husband returns home from Germany after being wounded in the foot. By this time it is obvious that she loves baseball and is passionate about the game. Watching her play it is obvious that she was made for the game of baseball. When her husband returns home she decides to quit the league and return home without playing in the World Series. Her manager, played by Tom Hanks, tries to talk her into staying. He tells her that it’s obvious that she loves baseball and if she quits now she will live with a lifetime of regret. She answers, “It just got too hard.” At that moment he gets very serious and leans in closer and says, “It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great.”
It’s supposed to be hard.
We live in a culture that says it’s supposed to be easy.
Sagging skin? Two minute facial mask
Hungry? Hit the drive through
In a hurry? On-line banking
Tough boss? Get a new job
Failing marriage? Get a new spouse
Browse through the Sunday adds and over and over you’ll see it: Quick! Easy! Time saving! Oven ready! Just add water! Instant! Fully cooked!
Everything around us tells us life should be easy. Except the Word of God.
God’s Word tells us it’s supposed to be hard.
Wait. Pray. Seek. Persevere. Press.
Turn from sin. Crucify your flesh. Carry your cross.
According to the Bible life is hard. And I’ve noticed that the more you trust God, the bigger risks you take in following Him, the harder it gets.
Thursday night we will air a show dealing with a subject no one wants to talk about. We’re marching up to the gates of Hell and shining the Truth of the gospel on one of Satan’s most powerful strongholds. And it’s been HARD!
We’ve faced sickness, family crisis, equipment failure, and the list goes on and on.
Is it hard? Yes
Am I afraid? Shaking in my boots
Is it safe? Absolutely not
Is it worth it? Yes. Yes! A thousand times yes!
Why? Because it’s the hard that makes us lean on Jesus. It’s the hard that makes us bow our knee in surrender. It’s the hard that makes others pay attention. It’s the hard that brings forth fruit. It’s the hard that brings glory to Christ.
It’s the HARD that makes it GREAT!!!!
If my choice in life is easy and average or hard and great…. Lord, LET ME CHOSE HARD!!
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Surrender- to give oneself up, as into the power of another; submit or yield
Advance- to move or go forward; proceed
I just returned from a four day retreat. Spiritual retreat, not military retreat. But I think there is something to be gleaned from these military terms.
After all, sometimes life feels like a battle that’s gotten out of control. At least it does for me.
So many times we see retreat as a sign of weakness. We didn’t have the strength to fight anymore so we had to withdraw. And… it’s true. Often times we don’t’ have the strength to keep fighting because we are weak. Why is that so hard to admit? That we need rest, we need to back away from the fight?
The truth is… unless we retreat we will never win. We will lie there on the battlefield battered and bleeding until the very life we are fighting for slips away.
The key to being a good Commanding Officer is being able assess the moral of his troupes to determine if the battle can continue or if he should sound the retreat. The key to being a good soldier is obedience to the orders of your Commanding Officer. When God tells us to retreat, then honey we need to high tail it off the battle field and look for a place to hide!
Which brings us to step two… surrender. When dealing with military terms surrender is the worst possible outcome of any battle. But, when dealing with our relationship with Christ, surrender is the absolute best possible outcome. It is only when we surrender fully and completely to Him that we can be ready to face the battle. And nine times out of ten surrender only happens in moments of retreat, in places of safety.
Once we allow ourselves to retreat and surrender something amazing happens. Peace that is unexplainable wraps its arms around us. Everything in us wants to stay in that place and never leave. But the purpose of retreat is not retirement. The purpose of surrender is not to stop. The purpose is to get back up and get back in the battle. Only this time, we don’t fight alone. Sometimes we don’t fight at all; we simply stand in amazement and watch the mighty hand of God fight on our behalf.
Where are you today?
Is the battle raging around you? Is your sword too heavy to carry anymore? Retreat!
Are you hiding in fear from the battle but still clinging to your rights, your plans, your desires? Surrender!
Are you in a place of peace and surrender, refusing to get back into the fight? Advance!
There are seasons for each of these places. Appointed times for each of us to retreat, surrender and advance. The cycle repeats itself often. Only when we are listening to His voice can we know where we are supposed to be. Enjoy each part of the journey. They are all equally sweet and equally necessary.