View After Church

 

My view after worship gathering with the Church today.

Somehow I always have a different perspective on the same thing after “encounter” with God in worship and listening to His word. Interacting with the Church i.e. other Christ-followers also helps.

Sometimes I don’t “feel like it” but I’m grateful that God allows me to connect with people and Himself in the life-changing experiences.

 

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Success When God Sends

Jonah’s story, the one in the Bible, starts with God’s word “coming” to Jonah (Jonah 1:1). (This is one of those moments my head says, “Whatever that means”). God reaches and speaks to us differently at different times, as different people.

God sends us. How humbling.

Related:

ME | What The Assignments God Gives Reveal (Part 1)

GOD | What The Assignments God Gives Us Reveal [Part 2]

OTHERS | What The Assignments God Gives Us Reveal [Part 3]

So, God sends Jonah, he didn’t go where he should have at first, but ended up seeing an entire city turn to God. What a story. I sometimes get caught up imagining that. Reaching an entire city, right up to its king.

Success When God Sends

I read this and don’t understand why silly Jonah got upset with that. Who wouldn’t want a city turning to God, as God’s sent person to that city? Jonah had what many Christ followers call, “A successful” ministry.

I want one. A successful ministry that is. I have these moments I imagine myself being “used of God” (that voice in my head again, “whatever that means”) that entire cities turn to Him. Ministry should be like that. Because God is with us, we must see “great responses and harvests”

(I feel “polluted” with jargon.)

I mean I’ve heard Daniel 11:32 preached… You know, “Those who know their God will do great things.” Does that “great things” mean I’ll get to stand in front of thousands to preach? Is great defined by the number of people who come to “hear me” preach or read my blogs?

Do I have the same definition of “great things” as God does?

It is the discrepancy between God’s definitions and mine that cause frustration in me [Click to Tweet]

In fact, these discrepancies are the source of my biggest disappointments with God. Why hasn’t God done this or that? One of the reasons is that simple: I have imposed my definitions of success and His will on Him. God doesn’t honor that.

What if my story is not Jonah’s? What if my story is Jeremiah’s, who from a young age preached as God sent him and so nothing as “dramatic and grand” as Jonah?

Jeremiah hardly had success like Jonah, if any. He preached throughout his life and every time he did, things got bad for him. He was arrested, thrown in a well and ridiculed. Had God sent him? Yes.

Am I willing to be in discomfort for the sake of God sending me?

There are times God has sent me, and I knew it was God sending me. However, somewhere along the way I battled separating what God wanted from what I wanted. I was clear about what the goal was. But somehow my selfish ambition and ego tried to feature in the execution.

Has “success” when God sends us, become subjective… to us and not by God’s standards? [Click to Tweet]

I pray I don’t get it twisted. I don’t ever want to get caught up in the belief that the more crowds I preach to the more successful and blessed I am. I don’t want the attention I draw or fail to draw to be the measure of God’s blessing on what I do or the assignments I know He’s called me too.

I’m confident that God was equally happy with Jonah and Jeremiah meeting their assignments. (Well He wasn’t happy about Jonah’s whining after, but you get the point I’m trying to make. Right?)

Sometimes I Am Just Jonah, when it comes to aligning God’s will and mine.

God, may doing exactly what you send me to do be enough. Help me never to make anything else more important. May my success be enough in being true only to you and where you send me. Amen.

[Photo Credit: StockMonkeys.com]

The Path To Choose

 

I always hear preachers talking about the fear mentioned here having more to do with reverence than being scared.

I think they may be onto something, although part of me feels… I don’t know…

In that case, having reverence for God in itself will guide us. It means we’re not driven by what we want and that we esteem more highly God’s will and His “demands on us”.

I’m not there yet. I wish I was. I wish I had so much reverence for God that my fears and ego were so irrelevant that I followed God wholly in everything.

I guess, in this regard, my reverence is lacking. While I follow Jesus, I’m still learning to really follow Him. Through His grace I know it is OK to struggle with Him. With understanding and following Him.

The only thing, though, is that I struggle running in His direction and not away from Him [Click to Tweet]

Bargaining

 

This is so funny. Well not hilarious funny but the other one.

It’s funny how I sometimes push for bargains with God, you know, try to get Him to bend His will to mine.

Sometimes I try to reduce what God requires of me by making excuses. But Moses also had excuses for not going to Egypt so… There I go again…

God, help me to appreciate and accept your will for my life and for others through mine. Amen.

OK To Struggle With God, But In God

It is not always easy being vulnerable about struggles with myself in relating to God and what He expects of me. I wish I was super spiritual. The thing is, growing up as a Christian there were times I was made to believe that the more you matured spiritually the less you struggled with stuff. That you were impervious to temptation and unChrist-like behavior.

I wish I knew earlier that it was OK, fine, to struggle with stuff. I’m not saying that it is fine to give into temptation but that temptation and other struggles of being a Christ follower don’t make you a “lesser” Christ follower. What determines whether you’re immature or not, is your response to temptation and struggles.

I’ve been liberated to know that it is fine to have struggles with God. I mean Jonah, for example, struggle with God’s plans for the people of Nineveh and went to Tarshish (Jonah 1:2-3). Maybe that’s not the best example, what about Paul, kind of the rock star Christian right, he struggled with God because of some thorn (Romans 7:21-24).

Wait, I think I have the best example. A man asked Jesus if He could heal his son. Jesus said the son could be healed if the father believed. Wow. That simple? Sometimes not. The man’s response was that he believed but still had some hang-ups. Some issues, you know challenges, believing.

Out came his confession, “I believe but help my unbelief” (Mark 9:23-24). Awesome. This man was upfront about what His struggle to believe and rely on Jesus completely. This is liberating, especially for the times I’ve felt and feel condemned by others for not believing or having “enough faith”.

“Enough faith?” What is that? Who has the measure for that? [Click to Tweet]

How absurd that we can be the ones to determine how “enough” other people’s faith is. Ludicrous! Profanity! How dare we tell people they don’t have enough faith. How dare I tell anyone that they faith is not “strong enough”. How can I condemn others like this?

Moving on. This man was real with Jesus and Jesus had no problem with that. It is when we’re smug and try to act like we got it all together we push God’s hand away (Luke 18:10-14).

The most important thing about having struggles, whatever they are, is where we turn to. Some have challenges with some of the ways things are done in the local Church and choose to stay away. Some don’t understand how they lives have played out the way they have that they shun and hate God.

It’s OK to struggle with God, but in God [Click to Tweet]

Grapple with whatever you’re grappling with as long as you take it to God. As long as you use it to seek God more about it. As long as you go back to God, like the man in desperate need, “I believe but help my unbelief”.

God I’ve used excuses about the things I don’t understand about You, about how my unmet expectations in life, to turn from you. I’ve turned from you while, on the outside, I’ve done things that “normal” Christ followers do. Help me to always turn to you when I struggle with you. Amen.

I Am Jonah, I believe but help my unbelief…

 

[Photo Credit: jot.punkt]

The Nice “Small” Feeling

 

I love moments when I look up and just feel small.

They remind me how small and frail I am. That I am not the center as I sometimes believe or want to be be.

They remind me that God is not as small as I sometimes make Him to be. These moments remind me there’s so much more to my existence than the mundane.

Looking up and feeling small today reminds me that God still has plan for me.

You have these kind of moments? What do they remind you of?

Deep Draughts Of God

deep draughts of God

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It’s not that I don’t love God I do. It’s just that sometimes I pursue the hunger of other things at the expense of pursuing Him.

I’m ashamed that sometimes I “feed” other hungers and not the one for God.

I’m desperate to want to want God so badly. For deep draughts of God that satisfy in a greater hunger and deeper love for Him.

Oh God, I want to want you. May I drink deep draughts of you, that satisfy and make me thirsty for even more of you. I’m desperate to be desperate for You. Amen.

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Jonah Notes: God’s Voice Through Twitter

This tweet was so on point, mainly because one of the post, The Notifications that touched something along these lines. So true.

Sometimes God fighting us is what is best for us. It takes discipline to allow Him to be God.

Related to the previous tweet. Sometimes I think and act as if I know better about my future and more, when I should be at peace with God for what He wants in and through my life.

 

 

The heart of I Am Jonah resonates with Nicole’s tweet. God, deliver me from this. Amen.

 

 

This is from one of C.S. Lewis’s works. A demon was being coached on how to trip up Christ followers.

The truth in this is that undermining community and gathering with other Christ followers for edification and service detracts from our spiritual strength. It facilitates our falling away.

Remember, you already have your Church Clothes on.

 

I got a laugh out of this one. The funny but sad truth is that sometimes people in the Church are far from what they should be. I mean everyone and not just the deacons.

This week, what are some of the tweets that made you examine your walk?