Thursday, March 29, 2012

Do it anyway?

Following is hard. Signing on to be the follower might even be considered a little nuts. That's what I think sometimes when I look at the military. I'm so glad for the people who sign up, but I think to myself, "I could never do that." The blind obedience that is required-- you pretty much give up all your rights. Where you go, what you do, even what you eat, all those things are decided for you. It's little like going to prison, though honorable, and the uniforms are definitely cooler. But you cannot discount the similarities and I have thought more than once, "I could never do it."

And then I think, is following Christ so very different? Because it shouldn't be. Much like those who enlist in the military who make a pledge to follow and agree to unconditional obedience, that's what following Jesus ought to resemble.

The bible says it like this, "bought at a price." When we say "yes" to Jesus we pretty much sign over the rights to our lives to Him. There's a popular Christian song right now that says something to the effect of "Where You go, I'll go; where You stay, I'll stay; when You move, I'll move, I will follow You." That's what saying "yes" to Jesus is supposed to be like.

And when I think about that, I think to myself, the military might be easier. Because in the military if you fail to "follow" the consequence is swift. You'll know it quickly, and you'll suffer accordingly. Getting back on track is something I'd be swiftly convinced to agree to. Not following would bring greater suffering than following, and I would acquiesce.

And in the military, I suspect the objective is clearer. Goals are defined, the desired result is more clear. I cannot always say the same when following Jesus, at least not in the way I would like to have goals, results and objectives clearly defined. In the military the picture is narrow, in Christ,the vision is broad, more broad than I can even comprehend.

Sometimes God asks us me to do things, and I don't understand. I look and I don't see the results I think I should, and I wonder why I'm doing them.

When you don't see an impact, do you do it anyway?
When you don't see a benefit, do you do it anyway?
When you can't grasp the purpose, do you do it anyway?

These are the questions I find myself struggling with.

I wrote a book. It's a good book, a story that I know has purpose and needs to be told. But I sell a couple dozen and then it seems like nothing else comes of it. And I wonder, what I felt while I was writing, the leading, the directing, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was it Him? Or was it just me?

Passion, purpose, talents and gifts-- all coming together, is it God's hand? His plan? Where are the results?
Are lives being touched?
Is it providing for my family?
Is it making an impact?

If I don't have the answers, or if the answer seems to be "no," do I do it anyway?

If it magnifies what seems NOT be happening and NOT going right in my life, but He still seems to be leading, directing, inspiring-- do I do it anyway?

I'm writing my second book-- more to the story of the first book that's "out there,"-- maybe or maybe not making a difference. It has social value, and the potential to touch a life, but I may never see it. So do I do it anyway?

The real question is, "how do I not?"

God leads, I have to follow, even if I don't understand. He never promised that I would. Even if I don't benefit, because it's not really about me. Because it might minister-- even to just one, and that is by definition what ministry is, at least the way Jesus did it.

So do I do it anyway? Yes, I must. Because it's all about Him. And if it brings Him any glory, then it was worth it.

And when I'm wondering why I'm doing it, that's what I need to remember, because following in obedience-- that honors Him.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

100 Verses -Weeks 28 & 29

The next three weeks of the Challenge are a portion of our book titled "Fullness: The Holy Spirit's Role in Our Lives." And the next two weeks verses are four consecutive verses from the Book of Ephesians. And because everyone learns and memorizes differently, instead of breaking them down over the two weeks, I'm going to give you a single passage, and we'll take two weeks to learn it.

And don’t get drunk with wine,
which leads to reckless actions, but be filled with the Spirit,
Speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,
singing and making music to the Lord in your heart,
Giving thanks always for everything to God the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.

Ephesians 5:18-21

It's kind of daunting, I know, when you look at the whole thing together, but if you break it down into pieces it loses some of its meaning. So I want to give you the "whole steak," but you cut it up for yourself however it makes it easy to "digest."

So chop it up, and chew on it the next two weeks. I will re-post this post (maybe I'll have more insight then?) next week, but this is our passage from now until Easter Sunday.