patience

Love is Patient

Love is patient. God is love. God is patient.

We could find many illustrations about the patience of Jesus, but none compare to how he treated Saul (Paul).

(written by Paul) The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:15-16)

I mean Jesus knocked him off his horse and said, “Saul, why do you persecute me?” Yet, Jesus chose him to display the greatness of his patience!

Simple lesson…… has anyone treated you in any way compared to how Saul persecuted Jesus? No is the answer for everyone of us everyday in America. There are some Christians who are suffering this way, but not us. Slow traffic, selfish sales clerks, swindling mechanics, lying politicians, rebellious children, we could go on. Indeed we understand the King James use of 1 Corinthians 13:4 when it says, “Love is long suffering.” Oh, we suffer long, but nothing like Jesus suffered from Saul. And how did he treat him? He pursued him then he forgave him. Why? Love is patient.

 

knock

Knock Knock

What are you praying for that seems impossible? Check out this situation:

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.  When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison.  Acts 12:1-17

James had just been martyred, Peter was imprisoned. Surely he was next for the bloodthirsty, crowd-pleasing king. The odds were stacked against the praying church and surely against Peter. They could have assumed the will of the Lord was as it seemed yesterday for James – to give his life in ultimate sacrifice for his Lord.

Maybe their thoughts and conversations were something like this:

“Why bother? Maybe this is how it supposed to be. Maybe we all will die for our faith.”

“Maybe the Lord will turn Herod’s heart.”

“Yeah right!”

“Maybe Jesus will come back!”

“Or maybe Peter will just die, and we will too, one by one.”

Then someone says, “We could pray!”

And another, “We did that yesterday for James, remember?”

“Oh, yeah.”

“But I guess we should, you know, just because we should.”

Or maybe the conversation was like this:

“We don’t always know the mind of the Lord. We don’t know why He allowed them to kill our beloved James. But this we do know; this is not right, this is unjust. We are the salt of the earth and all we are trying to do is redeem it back to God! I think it would be good and wise to pray the will of God be done on earth as it is in Heaven; and in Heaven, righteousness prevails! God is powerful and He can turn Herod’s heart! Or He can do something else that is greater than all we could ever ask or even think!”

“That’s right, let’s pray right now! Why not? Let’s lean into all of God’s attributes.”

And together they pray, “Great Father, You can do as you please – and often you are pleased to do as we ask. We want you to spare the life of our friend Peter. The odds are against us. It is not likely that Herod will relent, that rat! He is hungry for the praise of men and took Peter only because his risk of killing James went well for his ego. Crush his pride, bring justice to him now; or if you want to do it another way. We are happily submitted to your perfect will. We know that here below we do not have perfect clarity concerning what you are doing in every circumstance, but in the absence of divine revelation (and you have given none concerning Peter’s death to us today) we are going to go with wisdom. And wisdom says Peter should not die! So, in the face of human impossibility show the world you still reign in sovereign power! Defeat our Enemy and our enemies in the name of Jesus Christ!”

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Did Peter eventually succumb to this wicked world and become a martyr as was foretold? Yes, but not this day!

“Knock and it will be opened unto you.” Matthew 7:7

 

jabez

Enlarge My Territory! (review)

This is the summary from Sunday’s message on Enlarge my Territory.

2. And enlarge my territory, (increase, border, coast)

Don’t think Jabez wanted more real estate, he wanted more influence. He wanted more opportunity and responsibility. He wanted more things to do, more things to manage and oversee, more challenges. So, either he was 1. bored and didn’t have enough to do already or he was 2. fed up with the fruitless stuff he was constantly doing or he 3. had tasted the glory and fulfillment of a life that matters and he wanted more of that! Maybe all three.

“This is how my Father is glorified, that you bear MUCH FRUIT.” John 15

A life of minimalism is not for me! Just enough to get by….

Somehow there had been wakened in me a passion for the essence and the main point of life. The ethical question “whether something is permissible” faded in relation to the question, “what is the main thing, the essential thing?” The thought of building a life around minimal morality or minimal significance—a life defined by the question, “What is permissible?”—felt almost disgusting to me. I didn’t want a minimal life. I didn’t want to live on the outskirts of reality. I wanted to understand the main thing about life and pursue it. (Piper DWYL pg.14)

“Give me opportunities to share your love and truth.” Then… “Give me more! ”

Jesus was full of grace and truth and He looked for places to share them.

Out of comfort zone – Stretch my capacity!

God-sized life!

2 Chron 16:9 – For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.

 

Must we always only be responders? Sure much of life (even Jesus’ life) was responding. (examples)

He rode waves yes, but He also created waves. (examples)

“This kind only comes out…” Mark 9:14-29 It looks like He is merely responding to the demonized boy, but in reality He fasted and prayed ahead for moments like these.

“And he arose a great while before day, went out into a solitary place and there prayed.” Mark 1:35 He set up the days’ encounters with proactive prayer. He knew he would need to ‘respond’ to what life brought Him, so He prayed before the day began. (Next towns also.)

He moved things. He was proactive, not just reactive.

act – do

re – again, back, backward (rebound, rework, rewind, recognize) do back, act back

pro – before, in front of (prologue, prophet) do before, act before

Are you one of these people? “Don’t move anything!” You don’t want change at all! Predictability.

This second part of the Jabez prayer is very proactive.

pray

Hey, they said something smart!

Let’s construct a short list of some of the dumb things the disciples said that were recorded for us in the gospels:

In response to some people not willing to receive Jesus, James and John said “Do you want us to call down fire from heaven and consume them?” (Luke 9) Jesus was not happy.

Or how about at the last supper while they are arguing about who will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven Jesus rises to wash their feet . Awkward. (Luke 22)

Or how about when the disciples “rebuked” people for bringing their children to Jesus (Mark 10) Yeah, you guessed it, Jesus was “indignant.”

But, among all the dumb things they said here is their greatest request ever recorded,

“Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1)

And He did. He taught by example. He gave them structure (like the Lord’s prayer). He gave them illustrations and stories. And He prayed with them often.

There are many kinds of learning styles and teaching methods. Some people are more visual, some more auditory, some more hands on, etc. Some things are learned better through lessons, some by trying it for yourself.

Let’s take swimming. It’s probably not the best idea to throw a person who does not know how to swim and is afraid of water into the deep end of the pool. If dying is the goal…..check. But if learning is the goal we should find another method. The same could be said about riding a motorcycle or defusing a bomb.

But some things are learned best by just doing it, trying it. I really believe prayer is that way. Sure, there are better prayers than others. Sure, there are lessons and structure and discipline, but prayer is simply talking to God.

How do we talk to eachother? Is there structure? A right and wrong way? Can we get better at communication? Yes, but when we are learning how to talk to people we just talk.

How do we learn how to pray? Start talking to God. About everything!

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)

Even after the lessons and instructions and some very important details you gotta jump in the pool, head toward the bomb and get on the motorcycle.

Here is the secret of this simple verse. “Lord, teach us TO pray.” not, “Lord, teach us HOW to pray.” If you know how to talk you know, right now, how to pray. The issue is doing it! As with any other discipline, hobby or task we will get better with time, but may the Lord teach us TO pray!

jabez

Bless Me!!!!

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for day, teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” (Learning how to pray and not just eating once a week….church service)

Father, I Belong to You

Three Prayers

1. “Empty me.” – This is Fasting

2. “Fill me.” – This is Feasting

3. “Increase my capacity for You! “– This is Flowing

 Last week I made some statements – I want to help start a movement in your life today. I am going to dare you to take a step toward a life like you have never had it or remind you of the old days or take you even deeper than you have ever known!

You may not want that! (At least you don’t think you do. Or you once did– but it got lost in minimalism and maintenance.)

John Piper says it this way in Don’t Waste Your Life….

You may not be sure that you want your life to make a difference. Maybe you don’t care very much whether you make a lasting difference for the sake of something great. You just want people to like you. If people would just like being around you, you’d be satisfied. Or if you could just have a good job with a good wife, or husband, and a couple of good kids and a nice car and long weekends and a few good friends, a fun retirement, and a quick and easy death, and no hell—if you could have all that (even without God)—you would be satisfied. That is a tragedy in the making. A wasted life. (pg.45)

If I set before you two options: (think blue pill and red pill from the Matrix) A life that is Peaceful and Predictable or Passionate and Powerful, which would you choose?

I already know the instinctive, uncompromising answer you would give based on the movies you love to watch and the stories you love to read. And yet as we look at the constant goal of our days we are always aiming at predictability, safety, peace, security.

(Now when I say passionate and powerful do not assume that I define them as a large stage and thousands of followers. No, I define greatness and legacy by impact and influence. Does your life matter? Do you make a lasting difference? We are all haunted by the life of Jesus, the early church, and the scriptural definitions of a life well lived! As much as we are inspired and drawn to true greatness we avoid the Bible for its sheer weight. We avoid Christian history. We don’t want to hear of the exploits of Hudson Taylor, George Mueller, Jonathan Edwards, or Corrie Ten Boom. And yet we do! We do love those stories! But then we shrink back and say, “I can’t do that!” But as Eldredge has taught us, “The Bible is not a book of exceptions, but a book of examples.”)

God does the whole red/blue pill thing too. 

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, [20] loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. [15] And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14-15)

This next miniseries fits perfect with the three prayers we have been praying.

The Prayer of Jabez – 1 Chronicles 4

Last week we looked at it in parts: (Let me quickly review and overview)

1. Oh, that you would bless me indeed,

2. And enlarge my territory, (border, coast)

3. That your hand would be with me,

4. And that you would keep me from evil

We are praying this every day in March!

(Build first part of prayer) 1. Oh, that you would bless me indeed,

Few observations:

a. He asks for it! Matt 7:7 Need to ask!

b. He asks with desire! INDEED – 5!!!!! Capitalized, bold and underlined He is serious about this prayer! Not flippant or casual.

Seeking God’s blessing with fervency has everything to do with need and want, desperation and desire!

(From The Pursuit of God Tozer) Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they had found Him the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking. Moses used the fact that he knew God as an argument for knowing Him better. “Now, therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight”; and from there he rose to make the daring request, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” God was frankly pleased by this display of ardor, and the next day called Moses into the mount, and there in solemn procession made all His glory pass before him.

In the midst of this great chill there are some, I rejoice to acknowledge, who will not be content with shallow logic. They will admit the force of the argument, and then turn away with tears to hunt some lonely place and pray, “O God, show me thy glory.” They want to taste, to touch with their hearts, to see with their inner eyes the wonder that is God.

I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.

Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.

If we would find God amid all the religious externals we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity. Now as always God discovers Himself to “babes” and hides Himself in thick darkness from the wise and the prudent. We must simplify our approach to Him. We must strip down to essentials (and they will be found to be blessedly few). We must put away all effort to impress, and come with the guileless candor of childhood. If we do this, without doubt God will quickly respond.

Gen 32:26 (Story of Jacob… “I will not let you go until you bless me!”

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. (Isaiah 55:1-3 ESV)

c. What does he want? What does bless mean? Overuse and misuse. Bless missionaries and sneezes. God bless America! “Bless this meal to our bodies and our bodies to Your service.” “Bless the gift and the giver.”

He wants God’s supernatural favor!

Basically, “fill me!” Eph 3 and 4 “filled with all the fullness of God”

d. God’s disposition is to bless! God’s bounty is limited by us!

Psalm 78:41 Limited holy one

Matt. 13:58 Did not do many miracles

Malachi 3:10 Prove me

e. Sounds selfish!

Yet, we have to start here! I cannot fulfill my responsibility to you or anyone else until I am filled first. I can only love you out of the measure I love God and I love myself.

I am urging you you increase your hunger and thirst and desire by staying in your fast. And when you are hungry come to God alone with your need and want. Find Him and be satisfied. Seek Him fervently and He will be found by you. Then you can pray the second part of the Jabez prayer more effectively because you actually have something to give.

(Tozer again) O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, any love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow T Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

jabez

Jabez part 1 (overview)

These are my notes unedited from last Sunday: Sorry for the mess!

I want to help start a movement in your life today. I am going to dare you to take a step toward a life like you have never had it or remind you of the old days or take you even deeper than you have ever known!

You may not want that! (At least you don’t think you do. And yet your heart is awakened by movies and books that inspire heroism and valor. You long to make a difference!) Or you did once – but it got lost in minimalism and maintenance.

John Piper says it this way in Don’t Waste Your Life….

You may not be sure that you want your life to make a difference. Maybe you don’t care very much whether you make a lasting difference for the sake of something great. You just want people to like you. If people would just like being around you, you’d be satisfied. Or if you could just have a good job with a good wife, or husband, and a couple of good kids and a nice car and long weekends and a few good friends, a fun retirement, and a quick and easy death, and no hell—if you could have all that (even without God)—you would be satisfied. That is a tragedy in the making. A wasted life. (pg.45)

This next miniseries fits perfect with the three prayers we have been praying. And I want us to keep praying them and obeying what we hear! And I want to add a familiar prayer to those.

The Prayer of Jabez

Some of you just sighed. You just thought, “Wow, for real? That is so old. And man that was so overused and misused. I am not interested.”

I want us to read the prayer and talk about it.

1 Chronicles 4

Let’s look at it in parts:

1. Oh, that you would bless me indeed,

Indeed – 5!!!!! Capitalized and underlined

Sounds selfish!

What does bless mean? Overuse and misuse. Bless missionaries and sneezes. “Bless this meal to our bodies and our bodies to Your service.” “Bless the gift and the giver.”

Supernatural favor

Basically, “fill me!” Eph 3 and 4 “filled with all the fullness of God”

Matt 7:7 Need to ask!

God’s disposition is to bless! God’s bounty is limited by us!

 

2. And enlarge my territory, (border, coast)

Don’t think Jabez wanted more real estate…more influence.

“This is how my Father is glorified, that you bear MUCH FRUIT.”

A life of minimalism is not for me! Just enough to get by….

Somehow there had been wakened in me a passion for the essence and the main point of life. The ethical question “whether something is permissible” faded in relation to the question, “what is the main thing, the essential thing?” The thought of building a life around minimal morality or minimal significance—a life defined by the question, “What is permissible?”—felt almost disgusting to me. I didn’t want a minimal life. I didn’t want to live on the outskirts of reality. I wanted to understand the main thing about life and pursue it. (pg.14)

“Give me opportunities to share your love and truth.” Then… “Give me more… ”

Out of comfort zone – Stretch my capacity!

God-sized life!

 

3. That your hand would be with me,

Now it gets scary! “I need You Lord. I could handle my old life, but this one is crazy!”

Dependence/Faith

“My strength is made perfect in your weakness” “OK, most gladly…”

“hand of the Lord”  – Anointing/filling of Spirit (his control)

2 Chron 16:9 – For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.

The church is supposed to be a force for God in this world, not maintainers! For that we need supernatural anointing!

 

4. And that you would keep me from evil

Now you’ve done it! You’ve made the enemy mad. You’ve quit only shepherding your ‘four and no more’ and have ventured out of your comfort zone with God’s blessing and anointing! Watch out!

We don’t have to be afraid, but respectful. “Be sober, your enemy as a lion…”

This aligns with the Lord ’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.”

Sometimes we cannot be kept from evil. There will be evil days and we must fight, but we still pray to be delivered from temptation and evil!

 

ARE YOU READY? Don’t answer cheaply!

All of March let’s pray this!

journal2

Stories

If you’ve known me any length of time you know I love to tell stories. If you think about the conversations we have, a large percentage of them are us telling stories. Most books and movies earn their fame on how well they tell a story.

Your life is a story. And if you dare to pray the Prayer of Jabez for the next 30 days you will have stories we need to hear.

Look for God! Join Him! Write it down! Share it with us!

1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, 3 things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. 5 He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers  to teach to their children, 6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, 7 so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; 8 and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God. (Psalm 78:1-8 ESV)

 4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. [9] You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. 25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.’ (Deuteronomy 6:4-9,20-25 ESV)

Jesus eating

Feasting (review)

Small review from yesterday’s message. If you were not there I encourage you to listen. These may seem random because they are…just snippets from the message.

What is the purpose of fasting?

The goal is not hunger. It is only a means to an end.

We get this so wrong on so many issues! We mistake the fasting for the feasting!

Let it not be imagined that the life of a good Christian must be a life of melancholy and gloominess; for he only resigns some pleasures (fasting) to enjoy others infinitely better. (feasting) Blaise Pascal

We think the goal is our sacrifice and struggle. We believe that is what earns us favor with God. God is not interested in rewarding our starvation and parched tongues with rewards…. Other than the reward of Himself!

Fasting is unnatural! Hunger and thirst are not normal, nor good! We only employ their services when we detect we are now worshiping idols. Isaac was not born to be sacrificed by his father. All of these extremes are necessary evils to get us to God! He is the goal and the end of our sacrifice!

Jesus understood and endured suffering and struggle (hunger) but He knew how to eat!

Don’t settle for hunger and thirst…bring them to Jesus!

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6

Let’s stop talking about hunger and food and let’s eat!

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8

Seeing God should enable tasting, but seeing satisfying food does not satisfy, eating does!

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.” Psalm 36:7-9

O God, Thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly; My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have beheld Thee in the sanctuary, to see Thy power and Thy glory. Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise Thee. So I will bless Thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Thy name. Ps 63:1-4

Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:4

“How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose…! You drove them from me, You Who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, You Who are sweeter than all pleasure.” Saint Augustine

stage

Clear the Stage

Rewatch the video here

Clear the stage

Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols
Jerk the pews & all the decorations, too
Until the congregations few, then have revival
Tell your friends that this is where the party ends
Until you’re broken for your sins, you can’t be social
Then seek the Lord & wait for what He has in store
And know that great is your reward so just be hopeful
‘Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong;
worship is more than a song
Take a break from all the plans that you have made
And sit at home alone and wait for God to whisper
Beg Him please to open up His mouth and speak
And pray for real upon your knees until they blister
Shine the light on every corner of your life
Until the pride and lust and lies are in the open
Then read the Word and put to test the things you’ve heard
Until your heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken
‘Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; worship is more than a song
We must not worship something that’s not even worth it
Clear the stage, make some space for the One who deserves it
Anything I put before my God is an idol.
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol.
Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol.
Anything that I give all my love is an idol.
Yes, I can sing all I want to
I can sing all I want to
And still get it wrong
And you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; worship is more than a song
Worship is more than a song
Worship is more than a song
Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols

scale

Fit or Fat?

At the risk of being simple I think extra weight comes down to two things. (I know we could throw in genes, thyroid, seasons of life, age, etc. but at the base I think my proposed simplicity cannot be denied.)

We gain unwanted weight because:

1. We eat the wrong things.

2. We sit around a lot.

The opposite is true. We fend off flubber because:

1. We eat the right things.

2. We burn off the energy the right food provides with activity.

Charles Ingalls (the iconic figure) was in shape because he worked hard to grow his own food. And the food was better. We ‘work’ to make money to buy food grown in a lab somewhere.

Now let’s apply this to spiritual fitness. The average American Christian is not hungry, he is fat. We are not hungry for God because we are full of other stuff. If we feel the smallest desire/need/hunger arise to be filled with life, love, identity, peace, joy, security, etc. we are prone to run to the nearest fast food joint. Satan is in the business of satisfying hungry, impatient, far-too-easily pleased customers. “And business is boomin.” Then after gorging, while we sit around some of the food turns into waste and much of it turns to fat. Exercise is a rather modern idea. We used to work it off!

The above average American Christian is fat too, but it’s Christian fat! Through growth and maturity we don’t eat junk food anymore, we eat our vegetables. Daily Bible reading, devotions, Christian music, healthy books, church, community group, Christian friends….. but what do we do with all of those nutrients? Go to another Bible study? Even good food unused with purposeful energy will turn to fat!

What if we took in God as our provision then spent Him? We would empty faster and need to come back for more.

Let’s allow hunger for God to happen naturally as we refuse the junk food of the enemy.

Let’s bring our hunger and thirst to God.

Let’s be satisfied to the full in sustenance AND flavor.

Let’s spend with Spirit power what we have received in the lives of others.

Repeat…..