Monday, January 18, 2010

Fasting, pride, and trees

We are in day nine of our 21 day fast. In the prep time before starting this journey God showed me something. He showed me how much of my self image and what I think about myself (if those two things are different) is tied up in other’s opinion of me.

So much of where I find my worth is in other people. On the outside I put on a good show that other people's opinions don't matter to me. What I should be saying is that people who's opinion doesn't matter to me, don't matter to me. In my pride I have filtered out many opinions people had of me I didn't find favorable. I have found my worth in many things. Being the edgy, push the envelope pastor, but that has gotten me to the point of leading a church dangerously close to not surviving. I find worth in what other people say about me. I have people complement me on many things I do. It is all too easy to take all that in and believe every word of it. I guess you come to love how other people make you feel vs. loving them despite how they make you feel. I guess that is why there is a lot of divorce. People love the way people make them feel and when that feeling is gone they don't know what to do. Do I love that person or the way they make me feel? It can be a very fine line.

So what I have been dealing with is basically: Is my worth rooted in the person that Jesus makes me or is it in the image I have built of myself that is pieced together from the opinions of what people think about me? (Opinions which are based in what God is doing in me) Both of these are very close to the fulcrum of going one way or the other. I believe wholeheartedly that the good people see in me is because of what God has done in me. But is my self worth/image built in humility or in pride. If my self image is rooted in who I am because of God it is built in humility. If it is rooted in what other’s think about me because of what God has done in me it is pride.

God is dealing with some very deep emotional roots. God has cut away many limbs and branches and has sawed down the trunk of this issue but now he is digging into the dirt and reaching down to get the roots out of the ground. Unfortunately the roots go down as far as the tree went up. I know how long it took to cut the branches and trunk down. I think the roots are going to take longer to deal with. This fast is just starting to dig up those roots in my life. Its hard though because when people look at my life all they can see is what’s above the ground. Only I and God can see what’s under the surface. This will be a lonely journey to the bottom of this tree.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fasting, food, and whittling

21 day fast-Day 3

Some observations:

Little compromises can always lead to big compromises.

Our culture is obsessed with food.

I don’t need many of the things I think I need.

I need Jesus more than anything.

Obeying God because of grace instead of because of rules leads to true joy and freedom.

My lifestyle was not sustainable.

I need more sleep.

I don’t pray enough.

I have the opportunity to be so much more in tune with the Spirit of God than I am.

God is enough.

God does not want to mold us into the person he wants us to be. We have included this in the language of the church I think because of some passages that talk about us being made in the potter’s hand. I think these passages refer to God’s true intention for us. What he created us to be. Molding involves rearranging the material that is already present. Through this fast I am thinking more and more that God wants to whittle, chip away, or carve away the things that are not of his kingdom until there is only Jesus. It is a cutting away not a molding.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Grinch, Crowder, and the Apostle Paul

My two year old son Caleb got into a couple movies this Christmas season. He locked into Frosty the snowman, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, The animated old skool Grinch, and the full length Jim Carry version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. The ones I was most excited about was the grinch. He absolutely tore up the grinch. He sat through the full length version of the grinch a couple times. One of those times was when he was served a waffle breakfast in bed by Grammi.

I love that Caleb loved the Grinch. I love that he attached to a story of hope and redemption. He got into a movie where the most looked down upon was raised up. Where the hopeless became the hope giver. Where the left out, the cast aside, and the disenfranchised was redeemed. The Grinch who’s heart was two sizes too small grew three sizes when he saw the Whos discover that Christmas was more about what could be taken by the Grinch.

At Veritas we had a dance party at church where we rocked out to “Oh Happiness” by David Crowder Band. It is such a great song about redemption.

Lyrics for Oh Happiness by David Crowder Band

Oh, happiness, There is grace enough for us, And the whole human race

Friend or foe, Stranger or kin, All who come, begin again, Hard or frail, Rich or poor, All in need, Need fear no more, Such a thing to give away

All regrets, Let go forget, There’s something that, Mends all of it, Such a thing to give away

Sound the church bells, Let 'em ring, Let 'em ring, For everything can be redeemed, We can be redeemed, All of us

I have been reminded lately of the expanse of God’s plan for redemption. God wants everything to be redeemed from “Grinches”, to cities, to all of creation (Romans 8:18-25). That is why the “Church bells ring”. This is why we exist. I think we in church have lost the belief that everything can be redeemed. We look at the Grinches all around us whether it be an organization, a city, or people and actually believe they are beyond redemption. What business do we have saying something is beyond redemption when half the new testament is written by someone who killed and hunted people who followed Jesus. Let us be a people and church that believes God can redeem everything and anything.