Lately I’ve been thinking about the topic of life mission. Maybe because I’m a few years from turning 40 or because our family has stabilized after adoptions or because a mentor keeps bringing this issue up. Or maybe because of all three. Some people refer to it as your calling or holy discontent or life […]
Sometimes when we do something for a while, we forget WHY we do it. Anything can go like this—WHY do we eat dinner as a family every night?, WHY do we clean out the gerbil cage every week?, WHY do we go to church every weekend?
Prayer can be like this, too. We can begin to forget WHY we pray. We feel we should pray, but we don’t think about WHY. I suggest when we’re pushed between competing priorities, it would be wise to remember our WHYs.
Here are five of them:
Last week I shared an eight-minute talk on my puny view of Jesus. I had come to a point when I realized I was treating him WAY TOO SMALL. How did I realize this? I was exposed to a larger view of Christ.
At first it came as an imposition:
“You want me to re-consider my view of Jesus? Don’t you know I’ve been following him for 30 years already? I don’t need to re-think Jesus.”
Then I made excuses:
“I believe the basics, that’s enough. I don’t have time for this. You’re just talking semantics.”
Then I got mad:
“Who are you to challenge my view of Christ? I’ve been leading people for years, are you saying I’ve been doing it wrong? My walk with Jesus is MY business!”
But finally I gave in because saying I had the King of kings all figured out was pretty prideful. I barely have my wife figured out. Who was I fooling?
In the end it was a matter of humility—admitting I didn’t know Jesus in the ways I could know him—which meant there was MUCH MORE to Christ to know. I just had to enter the process. So I did.
I’d like to make three points about this process.
Note: On April 23 I participated in a Christ Talks event, where 10 speakers shared insights on the person of Christ from their unique perspectives. You can watch the video or read the blog , which is a portion of my Christ Talk.
Intimacy with Jesus hasn’t been a struggle for me. I like to live my life from my heart. You could say I haven’t been “shorthearted” when it comes to Jesus. But I have been shortsighted in my vision of Christ.
For the last year and a half—after 30 years of being a Christian, including some years in Christian leadership—I’ve been in a process of rediscovering who Jesus is, and I’m coming to love him more. I’m seeing how a greater vision of Christ increases my intimacy and my love for Christ.
My daughter and I are back from the Philippines and here’s a report of what happened. From the outset, I need to say how thankful I am for this opportunity. Thank you to the folks who supported the trip with prayer and with finances. We could not have accomplished what we did if not for your help. So in this way, we have become partners together. Our fruit is your fruit. Our joy is your joy. Our mission has become your mission. Thank you.
This trip carried three main purposes—to speak and pray for people at a variety of ministry events, to make improvements to our student sponsorship program, and to enjoy a meaningful trip between father and daughter. Thank you Jesus, we accomplished all three in an abundant manner!
In case you don’t want to read all this, here’s how I end: In summary, we saw God’s active hand on so many parts of the trip. He filled my mouth when I needed him to, he brought a harvest of souls, he used the Body of Christ in powerful ways, he exalted Jesus to the highest place, he knit together the Church for this mission, and he planted special things in my daughter’s heart that will flower in unexpected ways. We stayed healthy the entire time. We return home more in love with Jesus, more convinced of our next steps, and grateful to have a role in the Father’s great design. Thank you, Philippines, for welcoming and receiving us. Thank you, supporters, for your faith, support, and confidence. Thank you, LORD, for using us. Now for the glory of God the Father we give thee praise.
Here are pictures, video, and commentary:
There was a man who was traveling alone. Some robbers attacked him and left him for dead. A first man came upon him, but crossed the road and left him to die. Then a second man came long, but he too crossed the road and left him to die.
Then a third man came along. But he didn’t treat the victim the same way. Instead of crossing the road, he offered mercy to a stranger:
On Saturday, April 23, from 9:00 – 12:30, we’re going to feast on Christ. The event is called Christ Talks, like TED Talks, but about Christ. Ten speakers are going to help us see Christ the way they see Christ as a result of their unique journeys. There will also be times for audience questions and responses.
As the facilitator of Christ Talks, I’ve been coaching each of the speakers. I have to say – I feel spoiled to have had the privilege of reading each talk. I’ve been moved deeply by the experiences they’ve shared in their pursuit of Jesus. And moved deeper still by the person of Christ that has been revealed through them.
After reading the rough drafts, I already feel full of Christ but want more. And more we shall have at Christ Talks. You are warmly invited to bring yourself and others. The event is free and is at Calvary Harvest Fields.
The talks will be videotaped and posted at the Christ Talks page, where you can read more about Christ Talks and view videos from Christ Talks Youngstown.
But here’s the lineup of speakers (times are approximate) for this Saturday:
Think with me for a minute on what we view as good. Successful career maybe, getting married, going on vacation, having kids, a retirement plan, getting your doctorate. Births, weddings, sunny days, and on and on. We are all caught by these things. While these things are good, they have no ability to give us life though, yet they capture our lives and even our souls if we let them.
We all fall for it, we live in the effects of a fallen creation. God never intended for Adam and Eve to break covenant with him, but right when they did, they noticed their shame and covered their nakedness. Also, they were banned from the Garden forever. Never to return to that intimate place again.
Adam’s actions affect us all, we are all sinners. We were born constituted sinners. Even before our little baby self could actually sin, we were all sinners. That’s rough, right? Scripture tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But here’s where Good Friday comes in.
If you’re around State College, PA, please join us for Christ Talks on April 23. You’ll hear eight-minute speeches on the person of Christ by believers from different walks of life. Christ Talks will enlarge your vision of Jesus as you gain insights from various speakers. The event is free and lunch is included. Register for free now.
I’ve never been so thankful for my recent awakening to Christ as I am right now. I had already been a Christian for 30 years—a darn “good” Christian at that! I had led mission trips and spoken for Christian groups. I wrote a book on prayer. I had served as company chaplain, house church pastor, and guest preacher at church. No one would have said that I needed to awaken to Christ.
But that’s what happened. I began to seek Jesus for ALL he is—not just Jesus on the cross, but Jesus on the throne. Not just Jesus coming back some day, but Jesus alive today. Not just Jesus who wants to bless me, but Jesus who deserves to be blessed by me. I was awakened to not only Jesus the Savior but also to Jesus the King of kings.
As I began to seek ALL of him, I began to see MORE of him. I saw that Jesus is dazzling, stunning, much more than I had thought.
I wondered how often I had stopped short of seeing more of the fullness of Jesus because of my shallow contentment, like the person C.S. Lewis compares to “an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea” (The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses).
For years I had settled for the lesser Jesus, the tamer Jesus—the Jesus who wasn’t really Jesus at all because I had fabricated the Jesus I wanted him to be. But now the real Jesus was roaring like the Lion of Judah he is, and he wanted me to uncap him, unbridle him, let him out and let him be who he really is.
So I let the Lion of Judah out of the cage I had kept him in—the best move I have ever made. Yes, the best—and none too soon.
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