I’ve been attending church since I was an infant and I love the church. But if I took the risk to truly tell you how disenfranchised I have felt from the local church at seasons in my life, you might call into question my calling to serve the church as a pastor. As a matter of fact, I promised the Lord that I’d never be a pastor back in my 20’s and 30’s. And honestly, I do not deserve the honor to serve the Lord’s church as a pastor.
As I kid I went to everything the church did. Sunday morning, afternoon and night. Wednesday night and then as I served my first church as a Kid’s Pastor we added Tuesday night outreach and Saturday morning outreach.
I hit a wall with the church. I had neglected my family. I had completely melted down emotionally, physically and spiritually. It was at that moment, I promised God that I’d do anything but pastor a local church. Anything!!
Life Lesson: The Divine is specific with His purpose for us and is not fond of His plans and purpose being shuffled to the back burner of our lives.
So, like Jonah, I ran the other way. Not away from God, but away from His very specific plan for my life. I didn’t realize that every fiber of my being was sensing the Divine’s pull, prod and call on my life! Just as I believe He is calling you as well. After promising God that I’d do anything but be a pastor, I now find myself eight years into pastoring a great church, a great people and I’m more contented, fired up and energetic than ever before. You can experience that and far more. Just throw your fears to the feet of Jesus and jump off the cliff into obedience and watch the glory of the Lord do what He promises you. Yes, it’s freakish, abnormal, counter-culture and frightening. How cool is that? Let’s chase something that fits those descriptors every day!
The challenge? And please do not laugh, but the challenge? Is that church for most of my life has been filled with complacency, and the total undervaluing of both myself and the people that gathered all around me. In far too many churches the seats are filled with spectators watching as other people live out their dreams. That should be horrific to you if you are a member of a local church. I’m convinced that God does not want us to be satisfied with the status quo. He has created us for action, for glory, for victory, for power, and all for Himself. When I read the following words, I was utterly broken – “We have become hypnotized by two thousand years of secondhand, regurgitated truth—two thousand years of spoon-feeding and undernourishment.”
I ran across a few folks that didn’t fall into the trap of undernourished church as a status quo effort for an hour a week. I noticed that those few were radically different in their faith life. They had a bounce in their step. They were less distracted and far more contented in a active faith. I learned that they were mostly where I had been, but their discontentment had driven them to action as opposed to apathy. They wanted to be a part of something that was beyond the normal and way beyond the natural. They hungered for the supernatural. And friend, that’s where I am. The normal life has become a shame to me and I have surrendered my entire being to allowing the Divine to know me and I knowing Him so well that the supernatural becomes the expected rather than a shock.
I believe, with all my heart, that the Divine created us and wired us for action!
I am confident that He wired us up for victory, daring challenges and power – all for His glory! I’m not spending a single day that doesn’t push me, challenge my faith and focus my energy on the things, words and actions that mimic the red letters of Jesus. I’ve discovered how good it is to walk in His power and away from this world’s status quo – even if the church stands still, I will not! And neither should you! Be the spark in your local church! Dare the assumptions, the rules, the apathy and the way things have always been!
I’ve discovered who I am and by the way, who you are, if you are a Follower of Jesus. You and me? We are not tools! Our functions do not determine our worth or our identity. You are not what you do. You are not your job title. You are not what you are limited by! Do you have a desire to be used by God for His plans and purposes? I think many of you would say, “of course, Chuck.” Well I have some great news for you. God, your Creator doesn’t want to use you, He wants to know you, and even more importantly, He wants you to know Him! God used a fish, but He knew Jonah. God used Ahab, but he knew Ezekiel. God used Saul, but He knew David. God used Judas, but He knew Jesus.
Dead and dying religion screams at us that we are tools and when we are broken, we get throw on the garbage heap of broken tools. It’s like the Home Depot on the Island of Misfit Toys.
Jesus teaches us that WE DO GOOD WORK BECAUSE WE ARE HIS! NOT WE ARE BECAUSE OF WHAT I DO!
I know some of you are reading this post and you are thinking, “Chuck you have no idea how messed up my life is. God could never use me.” The great news for you is that God already KNOWS YOU AND LOVES YOU! He still adores you and He still calls you His Child, His Friend, more than a Conqueror, Chosen and Loved, a Citizen of Heaven, Redeemed, a Saint, A Priest, a Member of a Holy Nation. He even makes all of this personal. He values you, calls you, equips you and goes before you, goes within you and carries you when you need Him.
Come On! That’s good stuff! This life can be far better and so much more!
Choose His way today. When you do, you will recognize, as I have, that this life can and will be MUCH MORE THAN YOU IMAGINED AND MUCH BETTER THAN YOU COULD POSSIBLY DREAM.
Go in Peace, But Go in Action