Whether or not people will read this, I have some much needed reflection and thankfulness I need to write about because 2015 has been one heck of a year! WARNING, this may get a bit long, so scroll as you please 🙂
Top Things I have Learned this Year:
- Thankfulness Destroys Unbelief
- Sometimes it’s just Hard
- Our Alignment Determines our Assignment
- We ALL Need Community
- Our Private Life with Jesus Must Demonstrate Public Power
- The Best Things are Worth Waiting for
Being able to travel quite a bit this year not only changed my perspective and stretched me, but taught me to learn again how to be content in ALL circumstances. Paul puts it this way in Philippians 4:11 “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
In Nepal I saw those who had lost their homes and were recovering after the tragic earthquakes that struck the nation. Those of us that went saw seeds of hope planted with The Gospel that will in faith be harvested as many continue to go and serve in the body of Christ. I was also reminded of how not so glamorous being in other nations is that are poverty stricken; but what I am always blown away by are a few who are believers who live there where even in the midst of brokenness have a wildness in their hearts and a reckless abandon to Jesus that is messy and captivating. We saw spiritual warfare in many forms and the reality that we are all in a battle was right in our faces. We came away seeing peoples hearts open to Jesus and built the trust with villages that will pave the way for future teams.
I had to confess to God this year that I had put my identity and missions in a box where God couldn’t fit anymore. I had limited missions in my heart based on precedents and what others defined missions as, but missions is simply The Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20 where it says, 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
In Nigeria, the JOY of The Lord was very prevalent wherever we went. Whether we were ministering to Christians or not, these people had an understanding of contentment that I didn’t have a grid for. Everywhere we went we were constantly shaking hands and being met by bright white smiles from beautiful people who were simply glad that we had come. I was introduced to another way of doing missions work and had to learn how to simply be available and serve. The fruit from that trip was in knowing we were investing with a ministry that is already helping save hundreds of lives daily and is rapidly growing by the obedience of individuals who just want to want what God wants.
So here is where it all hit me.
Setting down my pizza, a few of my friends and I began talking about Gods call on our lives. One of my friends began to cry because she said she was struggling with contentment and I realized something. When God calls us, many times He doesn’t explain the details, but simply wants our wholehearted YES because little do we know that there are blessings on the other side of our obedience. I thought about how Margo (my girlfriend) came into my life after a moment with God when I once again relinquished control in my life and surrendered to what He was calling me to in that season. The reality is, is that God gives us things to be faithful to and if we aren’t diligent and watchful in what He has given us, He is not able to give us more. Until we learn to stop for the one, we will never make an impact, let alone love. God is patient to wait and enlarge our influence, capacity, and abilities when we have learned what He wants us to.
It all comes down to the “WHY”
If our roots are planted in anything but Jesus and His word, we must up-root ourselves to bloom where He wants to plant us. If we are fixated on chasing experiences and emotions that will fade, we will burn out and will never be ready for what God is calling us to. But, if we submit ourselves in love and obey, doors will open without us forcing it and experiences and emotions will come as a bi-product of our surrender and devotion to Jesus; and even if they don’t it never changes who God is.
God wants all of us and He can’t get it when we are in the way. It’s hard man and I’m often asked how to know when the right timing is and the how, but it’s all about loving Him. If ministry in our minds is limited to the stage or pioneering some new wild ministry that goes to every closed nation to bring Jesus, we are missing Jesus. Those two things are incredible and so needed, but our ministry is not the end all call of our lives. 1 Corinthians 2:23 says, “You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial.
Being obedient to Jesus even when we have no idea what He is saying is the greatest act of faith we can take. This is all to say, the journey is hard and we mess up sometimes, but His grace compels us to keep moving forward. Don’t look back.