I talk to so many people who are waiting on a burning bush experience before they move forward with an idea or dream. With the best intentions, they want to make sure what they are doing is God’s “will” for their life. They keep waiting for some sign…maybe a writing in the sky…a letter from God…or certainly some definite “sign” that this is God’s plan for them.
I also know pastors who are afraid to let people “follow their heart”. Anytime I post about following a dream some well-meaning person challenges me that following the heart is dangerous.
Can you trust your heart apart from Christ? You better not. Could we misunderstand God’s will? Absolutely. Could we move in a wrong direction? Of course. But, telling people not to follow their heart?
I’m not sure that’s the right approach.
God didn’t make us a robot.
If your heart is closely following Christ…
If your desire is to please Him…
If you aren’t being convicted otherwise…
You don’t have to sit on the sidelines and let the world pass you by.
God is creative, and He’s made you creative as a part of His image.
I’d rather tell people to get their heart close enough to hear Christ…then go!
- Check your heart
- Continue to check your heart
- Check your motivation
- Continue to check your motivation
If it’s not sinful…if the Bible doesn’t specifically address your issue…if you don’t have any sense God is telling you otherwise…if what you are doing is good and honorable…if it is helpful to others, or…if it is in line with the direction and experience you’ve had in life…
Give God all the glory…
But quit sitting on the sidelines and follow your heart.
Have you been waiting for a “sign”?
In your relationship with God.
In your career.
In your social media activity.
In your education.
In your financial life.
In your life planning.
In relationship building.
The “secret” that separates many from succeeding or failing is the degree in which they were purposeful in attaining what they hope to achieve.
Not getting the success you’re looking for these day? What’s the secret?
In what area of your life do you need to be more purposeful?
My friend Kenny York launched one of the fastest growing non-profit ministries I’ve ever seen. Manna Cafe is a mobile feeding ministry in my hometown. They take food to where the homeless and hungry live. It was amazing to watch them flourish in two fast moving years and I was happy to be a small part of it.
Recently Kenny and I were talking about his story. He has some “baggage” in his past. There were times of partying…a little more than most of us have partied. There was the period of homelessness. There were the days that were so dark he couldn’t even see any hope of future light.
He calls it his “wilderness experience”.
Many of us have similar stories, but they didn’t all run as deep as Kenny’s did.
Today Kenny is an ordained Gospel preacher. They call him Pastor Bubba and he is reaching people who will never enter most of our churches.
I’m so proud to call Kenny my friend.
Kenny said something in our conversation I thought was worth repeating. Perhaps it applies to you in your story. Maybe you are doubting the purpose for your struggles, or at least how God could ever use them for good. Perhaps you are in a leadership position, but you feel slightly unqualified because of your past. You fear if people knew the real you, they may not respect you…or even love you anymore.
Maybe Kenny’s story can help.
Without my wilderness experience, I wouldn’t have the scars I needed to do what I’m doing right now.
Have you ever thought of it that way?
Your scars have shaped you into who you need to be, so God could use you how you were designed to be used. The scars you are now developing, even though you can’t see it at this time, are achieving a greater glory that will someday be revealed.
You wouldn’t be who you are designed to be…without your scars.
He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:4
Are you at a point yet where you can see how God is using your scars?
Our youngest son Nathaniel (now known as Nate) turned 21 years old this week. It reminded me of this story.
When our two boys were in elementary school, and actually wanted us to, Cheryl and I tried to go to lunch with them once a week, unless we were traveling for business. They loved it because there was a special seating section for visiting parents, and usually we brought them lunch. (I think that was the real attraction. )
Nathaniel was probably in about first or second grade. He was less the socialite of our son Jeremy so he always looked forward to me coming each week. These were some of our favorite hangout times.
On one particularly busy week, it was Friday and I still hadn’t gone to lunch with him. It was an exceptionally busy morning also and I got distracted from the time. When I realized how late it was, it was questionable if I could get there in time for lunch. I knew Nathaniel would be disappointed if I didn’t show up, so I left quickly for the school as fast as I could.
When I got to the school, I went straight to the cafeteria, as it was midway into his lunch period. To my surprise, Nathaniel wasn’t with the rest of his class. I went to his room and found his teacher. She told me Nathaniel was in the office. He was waiting for me.
Nathaniel had refused to go to lunch with his class. (He could be quite stubborn at times.) Nathaniel insisted to his teacher, “I know my daddy is coming today. He hasn’t been yet this week.”
He had that much confidence in his father.
I have thought about that story many times through the years. It’s been a consistent reminder to be the best father I can be and to never lose the respect or confidence of my sons.
It also had a spiritual implication for me.
If only I always had that much confidence in my Heavenly Father.
He is the perfect father. Always. He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me. He’s promised to work all things for my eventual good. He’s committed to counting the hairs on my head. I can surely trust Him. My Heavenly Daddy will come.
Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Isaiah 35:4
Are you waiting for God?
Your father will arrive. You can trust Him!
Pastor do you feel a pressure on Easter unlike other Sundays?
It seems there is an internal pressure to:
- Find an obscure verse.
- Address the story from a new angle
- Reveal new insight in applying the story
- Develop a character like no one else has
- Tell the story in a fresh way
I feel the pressure. Am I alone?
What if we simply preach that Christ was crucified, buried and rose again?
What if we let the Gospel be the Gospel? What if we let truth prevail and the Holy Spirit be the teacher?
What if we drop the pressure and share the truth that God still loves sinners, that the Cross is still enough and that He is calling people to repentance and restoration?
What if we share the glory of the resurrection, not in a way that brings attention to our creativity in preparing a message, but in His humility and grace on the cross?
What if we decrease so the light of the world might increase?
That’s my aim this Easter. Who’s with me?
It’s been an interesting week in the world of football. America watched as Peyton Manning chose to go to Denver, rather than Tennessee…or any other team. It was honestly disappointing, because I’m a Peyton fan, having watched him as a University of Tennessee player.
I felt sorry though, thinking of what it meant for current Tennessee Titans quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck. Reading THIS article in The Tennessean was difficult, because I felt his pain. Yes, he handled it with class (I understand he’s a committed believer), but he knows he was second choice in quarterbacks. As strong as he is as a Christian and man, I’m certain it still hurt. It may have hurt even worse for his family.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
“This is Peyton Manning,” Hasselbeck said Thursday.
“There were no guarantees I was going to be back,” he said. “If Peyton Manning had come to Tennessee, you know, I wouldn’t be playing for the Titans next year and that would’ve been unfortunate in my mind. My family and I have fallen in love with Nashville.
“But at the end of the day, I get it with the Peyton thing.”
I get it with the Peyton thing, also, Matt.
I get it, but it still hurts.
Have you ever been second choice?
The reality is Hasselbeck is still a good quarterback. In fact, of all the people in the world, Hasselbeck is a great quarterback. One of the best if you compare it in sheer numbers. Compare him to me (or you) and how good is he? Pretty good, huh?
But Hasselbeck is not Peyton.
And, guess what?
I’m no Andy Stanley when it comes to preaching either.
I’m not Matt Chandler when it comes to dissecting a Bible passage.
I’m not John Maxwell when it comes to leadership.
Let’s be honest, if I ever write a really good post people think I stole it from Seth Godin.
The point I’m making is that in our system of comparison we may not measure up to someone else. There will always be someone who can do something better than we can do it.
We can even argue about who is “best”.
But, I’m not sure that’s the best method of comparison.
The good news for me is that God doesn’t measure like the world measures. (1 Samuel 16:7)
In the eyes of the world, I’m probably not an expert at anything.
In the eyes of God, I’m an expert at being me.
Have you been trying to be someone you’re not?