Demeaning Assignments God Gives Me

I’ve met many people with crazy, insane stories about how they encountered God. I’ve also heard many stories about how people have seen visions and got “a word from God” in some fireworks-spectacular-way. I get jealous, sometimes. Why can’t God speak to me like He did or does with others?

Something else that also kinda messes me up is how God seems to let others do cooler stuff than me. I’m not saying He shouldn’t have given some assignments to other people. I just wish He’d spread out some of those assignments to me too.

It’s almost as if other Christ followers get ice cream and I get peas and oats. Bleh. After all I want to do it for His glory. Well, honestly sometimes my motives are messed up. (There are times where I try to steal God’s shine.)

Demeaning Assignments God Gives Me

When I read Jonah 1:1 it says, God’s word came to Jonah and told him to go to Nineveh. There isn’t much detail on how it came. It seems somehow God was more concerned about His word getting to Jonah than He was about furore in its delivery.

Maybe it was dramatic. Fireworks, trumpets and all. Or may be it was when Jonah was having his first cup of coffee of the day while reading scrolls God penned through Moses. Or he was fishing, trying to catch his supper. (I just had to throw that one in. Jonah and fish, you know… Hehe…)

I’m sometimes responsible for demeaning assignments God gives me. I sometimes get caught up in that they did not “come to me” in any spectacular way.

I sometimes forget that the supernatural is not always spectacular [Click to Tweet]

I undermine the assignments God gives me when I’m more concerned about how they come than Who they come from. I undermine God’s assignments when I want to be the rock star. I seek ‘rock star status’ when I want to put myself and not the ultimate object, God’s glory at the center.

I forget that the worth of God’s assignment is in Who they come from and what they ought to accomplish [Click to Tweet]

It is not how God’s word comes when He gives me assignments, but that He does. What is important is that I’m an agent of His love to the world and not the magnet of spotlights.

God, help me keep everything in perspective… I’m sorry for messing with lives you wanted me to touch by being caught up in how I wanted attention. Forgive me. I Am Jonah. Amen.

[Photo Credit: See Modern Britain]

Not Talking To The Guy Next To Me In Church

Church, rather the worship at church, is about to start. The countdown on the large screen is ticking too slowly for me. Every ticking second is excruciating and can’t pass fast enough so I can get over the awkwardness with the guy sitting next to me. We’ve just mumbled something to each other.

Wait, did we just pretend to exchange greetings? Not really. I think we wanted to greet each other but weren’t sure what made an appropriate greeting. It’s the first time we’ve sat next to each other in church. I’m thinking, “should I take the conversation further? Is he thinking perhaps we should be saying something more to each other than just the grunts we just exchanged?”

We’re “in church” and frankly, I don’t feel like or want to talk to the guy next to me [Click to Tweet]

What should we talk about? He’s a little older… What do we have in common? Do I really want to start another conversation like the one I just had in the foyer with the woman at the door? Yet another brief chat about the seasons change? No!

May be the guy next to me would like to talk but the phone in my hand is doing its job in keeping him from saying anything. A nice wall. I’d rather chat to someone in another part of town or the world than this guy.

not talking to the guy next to me in church

sitting next to a guy in church but I’m not really there

 

Does he want to talk or is he glad I’ve taken away the pressure of the chat through the focus on my phone?

Should we talk? What should we talk about? The countdown has only gone down by thirty lazy seconds. Can’t the band stop being slaves to the countdown and start with the music? They are ready, aren’t they?

Do they really have to hold hands and mumble final prayers on the side of the stage just to make sure God’s Spirit is with them as they do what they’re going to do in the meeting. Weren’t the prayers they prayed at rehearsals enough? Perhaps they just want to be double sure.

There’s still five minutes on the countdown. What could talk to the guy next to me about? Am I obligated to speak to him? I’m just here for church not for another meaningless conversation with another guy I might get to next to again in a year.

Wait, did I just say I came for church? Then am I missing the point?

What if I asked him how him and his family were doing? I mean not like how I asked the man in the car park, as a greeting, without even pausing for his response. But really asked how he was doing and I prayed with him of he needed prayer.

Maybe something great is happening in his life and he’s looking for someone to share how good God had been on his life and that could be one of the ways he glorifies God today?

Maybe if I talked to Him I might hear God answering some of the questions I asked him this week. Maybe?

Gee, I can’t believe I’m so impatient to have church instead of being the church with the guy next to me. How many opportunities have I missed to be the Church when I’ve come to church? How many people in this hall are having the same experience and thoughts I am right now?

Isn’t community about interacting with fellow followers of the Way and not just standing next to each other singing the words on the screen? I’m not saying we shouldn’t sing, I’m just wondering if I’ve made that the object and overlooked the other experiences God has for others and me.

What if God wanted me to sit next to this guy so that our interaction enriches both of us and He is glorified through that?

Is this dude next to me thinking what I’m thinking of just wondering why the countdown is being beat by snails? Maybe he’s thinking the stage guys have put too much smoke on stage today.

Uhm…

How can I claim to be a part of the community of believers when I’m not even making effort to be community? Everyone has a bad day; today is my turn to have one and not be bothered. Jesus, I’m sure you understand. Right?

Oh we’ll, I was about to start the conversation but the band just started the first song. It’s not like I can ask this gentleman to step into the foyer and tell him I’m sorry for shutting him out and I just didn’t feel like talking to anyone.

I’m so impatient to have church instead of being the church with the guy next to me [Click to Tweet]

I mean we’re here to worship God so why would I want to distract this guy? Will I regret not talking to this guy after the meeting? During the week? How long will the guilt last. Perhaps a week like when I didn’t talk to the woman in last week’s meeting. But with her I didn’t want to interrupt her checking her emails on her iPad before the meeting started.

Oops, I’ve been calling this a meeting; it should be “worship experience”. I should go back and edit this. Wait, what have I done by not talking to this man? Should I feel guilty? Have I failed God? Or failed this man?

Should I talk to the guy sitting next to me in Church? [Click to Tweet]

Ah… I wish I were sitting next to my friend on the other side. Gee, this third song needs to come down a couple of keys for the entire congregation to be able to sing. Is that a typo on the screen?

I’m still feeling bad for not talking to this guy but hopefully he’ll get over it…

What if my internal conflict and the question of speaking to this guy is God sending me? Am I running?

[Photo Credit: amslerPIX]

Fixing People

There’s always something about an encounter with God that makes us better. That awakens us to meaningful lives. Having an excitement about the future is one of the fruits of God encounters. Too many to mention…

God’s assignments help me see how depraved I am. It also makes me aware of others’ needs. However, there are times I think God sends me to “fix people”. How sad. I can’t even fix my own life. I need God for that.

Deviating from exactly what God sends me to do often results in frustration. One of the reasons for frustration is either do not respond how I thought they should or they don’t do what I felt they should be doing.

There are times I impose how I would respond to God’s message about something onto other people. I want to make them engage with God the way I do. That is not what I am called to do. I’m called to convey God’s message and leave the rest to His Spirit to work in the hearts of people.

fixing people

I tend to forget how I resisted responding to God how people said or thought I should. For example, going on a camp with Christ followers… There is always that one guys or gal who talks about how they can feel and see God’s power through nature. I hated it (and still do)…

I remember thinking, “Because you “feel” God in nature doesn’t mean I have to. I hate the way people try to force how they experience God on me.

Yet, I try to impose that on others. I try to impose my experience of God on them. I’m not called to replicate my encounters with God on others but to come alongside them in their journey with God.

When I try to make people respond how I think they should, I make myself the standard. I elevate myself above them. Looking back, I see that God has always sent me to convey a message, to give toward meeting a need. He’s never called me to elicit responses.

We’re not called to coerce responses but to convey God’s message [Click to Tweet]

It is sad when we force and coerce a response on people when God never sent us to do that. When we do this we undermine the Holy Spirit because it is He who convicts (John 16:7-8). Not how I craft my words. Not how emotional I make them feel. It is not the ambience I set with lights and smoke.

When I try to add my own flair I undermine God’s wisdom. I tell God there is a better way of doing things. Yes, I tell God how He needs to be God. God, forgive me.

My commitment has to be only what God sends me to do. Nothing more, nothing less [Click to Tweet]

Our commitment to the world as the Church is do to solely what God sends us to do. We must make sure that nothing about us taints the purposes of God in the lives of those he loves dearly.

Jesus, help me. Help us.

Truly,

Jonah(s)

[Photo Credit: Tech109]

Running

Movement can be deceiving. Sometimes I think my activity is synonymous with movement toward God. The truth is, I don’t always run to Him. Sometimes I run from Him.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I do it intentionally sometimes. At other times my life is too clouded and my thoughts too cluttered for me to discern. I sometimes realise that I have been running from Him when peace and purpose evade me.

Running from God always costs me something. I pay the price unawares and sometimes not only knowingly but willingly.

It is easy to know and at other times takes me a while to figure it out.

Because I am aware that I Am Jonah I know to constantly ask and check with myself, “am I running to or from God?”

What about you? Does peace and purpose evade you? Have you stopped to ask yourself if you were running to and not from God?

I’m not suggesting that peace and purpose is that sign that I or anyone is running from God but it is one of the signs to watch out for.

Am I, are you, running to or from God?