Friday, January 2, 2009

Ten Years of Ministry (and Taking a Break from the Doomed)

Yeah, its been ten years since I began following Jesus, and I have to say its been wonderful and crazy and weird and depressing and joyful all at the exact same time.

You are so amazed at God's goodness and grace to you, you cannot help but want to serve Him. Then an amazing thing happens - you get to deal with people who want nothing to do with God, who's like, now become your Best Friend (oh sure, you used to be Enemies - I do mean that with a capital "E").

Now you are so ecstatic about answers to prayers and seeing a change in your heart, you want to tell EVERYONE how Good God is. How He can do anything!

Nothing new about that.
"Master," exclaimed the disciples. "Even demons are subject to us in your name!"

"Don't rejoice in THAT," replied Jesus, "service is nice and all - but rejoice in the fact that your names are written in God's book of life!"

We get excited about what we are seeing God do in lives and just start wagging our tail and jumping on everyone and licking their faces, barking about the goodness of God and you want to LOVE everybody...

...and then you meet the Doomed.

Not the Damned - don't have any idea who they will be since the door shuts completely at death - but the Doomed.

The bitter. The whiner. The once-believer, now with a chip of great weight upon their shoulder - and back. The "I-was-hurt-X-years-ago-by- mychurch/pastor/evangelicals/mydrunkenpornreadingfather, yada, yada, yada... who refuses to turn it over to God and be healed.

Oswald Chambers gave me a heads up. I have memorized this piece of advice:

"Never sympathize with a soul who finds it hard to get to God. God is not to blame."

Let me clarify that, so you don't walk away trying to figure out what I am saying.

If you are bitter, angry, upset, "got issues" or have any other problem caused by another person's actions, I can understand having some tears and needing time to heal. You should. That is natural and healthy.

But if you cling to that wound, you are killing your joy in the present and the life of anyone who has to deal with you because of the past.

Self-pity is of the Devil. Period. It is Satan's Prime Tactic.

Again, a favorite from Oswald Chambers:

"Pride when it is strong is boasting. Pride when it is weak is self-pity."

God got you away from that situation, set you in a new place, and you are still whining about the past? To hell with that! Literally!

I say this as much to myself as to others: welcome to a New Year! No one wants to hear how bad your life is, 'cause simply folks, they cannot help you.

God can and will. Its your move.

So its been ten years and mostly good experiences, but only with those who accept their sin and ask God to forgive them, to change them. Who have real humility. But the ones who keep talking smart, whining and ignoring His judgment? Who blow past His generosity to them?

Nope. For me and my ears, that's over. Let God talk to them.

I'm done dealing with "it" - whatever "it" is.

And that's precisely what Jesus modeled, believe it or not.
"Teacher," demanded the Pharisees," - we want to see a miraculous sign from you."

"A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign - and none will be given it - except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the great fish, so the son of Man will be three days and nights in the earth."

Jesus is saying "No. Uh-uh. You need to repent - and I will pay for you, but still, you need to repent and tell God you are sorry. We'll handle it from there. The sign you need, of God's concern for you and My real identity - is found in My sacrifice. We aren't going to do more for you."

Here's to those who repent and stop causing everyone so much grief.

Here's a man who has a most amazing testimony of God's grace for him after a severe small plane crash. Note his complete lack of self-consciousness though he is a living "Harvey Dent/Two-Face". Note also his utter lack of self-pity or shame. It is awesome to watch him talk.



May you be so fortunate.

Amen.

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