Exalting our inability
Pastor Bill, “In direct contradiction to the American dream, God actually delights and exalting our inability. He intentionally puts His people in situations where they come face-to-face with their need for Him. In the process He powerfully demonstrates His ability to provide everything His people need in ways they could never have mustered up or imagined. And in the end, We make much of His own nature.
As we are drawn towards such thinking, the Gospel has different priorities. The Gospel beckons us to die to ourselves and to believe (Trust) in God and to Trust in His power.”
Personally, I wanted more information on this. And when I Googled the above paragraph, “beckons us to die to ourselves and to believe (Trust) in God and to Trust in His power,” all the search results came back with one word – Radical.
Is this “radical” thinking of God? Is this a concept that lived and died as the dinosaurs? Or is extinction not an option as long as one person is willing to pay it forward? Even multiple people.
I cannot survive, or have my dreams fulfilled, unless I give it all up to God’s power. I will never be fulfilled unless I do this one act of self facing.
And I begin to question. And all the previous sermons have deft lead to this point. If I truly believed, if I truly prayed enough, if I paid it forward and touched enough hurts, would my dreams be more fulfilled today? Isn’t that a selfish reasoning to do all these things? And God does not want us to be selfish, but earnestly giving of our spirit to others as he earnestly gave his son’s life for us.
Where do we draw the line between acting for one’s own benefit and acting for another’s?
Which leads me to thoughts that I may not pray enough, I may not have touched all the hurts that have come before me and even at times been the cause of those hurts, as well, I may have even stopped following God through my 43 years on this earth. BUT, I most definitely tried to live up to the standards of caring for others, loving without question or doubt, being honest of nature and intent. My acts may be confusing, but I have diligently tried to live as God would ask. Being human I have faltered, hence we have Jesus. So, why are these not good enough? Why must I “die” and completely lose everything to be good enough for God?
Or maybe, just maybe, I’m not seeing this as it should be. Maybe this isn’t radical thinking, and maybe, just maybe, I have not explored God’s love deeply enough. Maybe it is me with a myopic mind that needs to look beyond the superfluous vestige I call my life.
Pastor Bill, “Consider the story of Joshua outside of Jericho, a strong city with massive walls surrounding it. Certainly Joshua was anxious about leading the people of God in his first battle as commander. I can only imagine the sense of inadequacy he felt as he contemplated the task before him.
That’s why, at the end of Joshua chapter 5, we see him alone, wondering about the combat that lies ahead. But suddenly God appears. In that moment God promises Joshua that his side will win the battle, and He gives Joshua the plans.”
I chuckle thinking about all those times I have heard people say, “I had a plan for my life and then God told me otherwise.” Can we make our own plans? Design our life? Or are we truly pawns at the mercy of a higher power?
If we are pawns and we fight against that higher power, is that the strife; and when we humbly accept that there is an alternate path that brings the peace? I suppose we should stop and evaluate each of these moments. Who we were when the strife and peace flowed through our lives and what we were like as people in those moments.
I know often times I prayed when I really felt I needed help and felt dejected when that help did not appear in the form I thought it should. Reflecting back, if my plans had worked out to my desire I honestly do not think I’d have my three amazing children, or had reconnected with my Dad to enjoy the last years of his life.
I suppose there must be some “truth” in this radical thinking, but just how radical can we get before we are labeled obsessive, loony, or make those around us uncomfortable.
We are pack animals, we need the comfort of companionship, and we do not like to limit who those companions are. How do we lift up to God while being so rubber cemented to “here”?
Pastor Bill, “Can you picture Joshua as he listens, thinking, what will it be? A frontal assault? A trick of some kind? Or just lay siege and starve them out?
Put yourself in Joshua’s shoes as you hear these battle plans:
March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carrying trumpets of ram’s horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priest blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; and the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, and every man straight in.
Let’s be honest. That’s weird. If you were Joshua, you want a second opinion at this point.
Why did God design this battle plan for taking the first city in the Promised Land? Don’t miss what God is doing. He was divinely orchestrating the events of His people so that in the end only He could get the glory for what would happen. Read the rest of Joshua 6, and you will see them take the city of Jericho just as God had outlined but notice carefully what you don’t see. You don’t see all the Israelites going up to the trumpet players and telling them what an incredible job they did that day. I can almost hear them now: Herbie, I’ve never heard you play that well. Nimrod, when you hit the high C, that was beautiful, man. No. Instead you see the people of Israel realizing that only God could have done this.
This is how God works. He puts His people in positions where they are desperate for His power, and then He shows His provision in ways that display His greatness.”
Ego versus intent.
American Dream vs. God’s dream.
Man vs. Spirit. I get it.
How do I make it happen in my life?
What will it take to move forward from here?
We all love the praise, the accolades, but can we have both?
In church, at the end of the covenant choir’s singing or the youth services, often times I want to applaud the performance. In that applause are we missing the most vital element… If God did not give His hand to that person or people I would not be as moved as I am today? It is in a daily act of self-recognition that we can truly see the spirit of God and what he plans for our lives. He does not require applause but servitude and humbleness. The only way to remind Him that we are here is in prayer. The only way to remind ourselves that He is here is to stop fighting his plans but ask Him for a map. Figurative, but it’ll be there. Radical movement of the human mind to release the bounds of control.
And there is a light bulb flickering over head…