Know God Now.

Once again, it has been a while since I’ve posted. This time, it has been due to some serious thought. Thought about why I post: is it so I can shine in my “high spirituality”? Or to communicate ideas that will strengthen and encourage the body of Christ? I’ve learned how much selfishness and arrogance can rule my life. It is a battle indeed. However, even writing this now, I realize how I have neglected a passion of mine. How good it feels to combine words to create sentences and have those sentences communicate ideas and thoughts. It was good to take a break and take a good look at my heart, but now it feels wonderful to write again! 

My main inspiration for writing this post is because I have seen more and more where this generation is going. It is interesting for me to look at high schoolers now and then look at who I was in high school. They look very similar. A lot of my high schools years were spent chasing my pleasures be it girls, skateboarding, or video games. You name it. If it was something that I enjoyed and brought entertainment to my life, I pursued it. In the midst of those pursuits, I look back and see how very confused I was. Because the things I pursued (mainly women and relationships) ruled over my heart, I did everything to attain it: lying about who I am physically and as a person, changing parts of me to seem more appealing to whomever I was trying to impress, and ANYTHING I could do to have a girl like me or be in a relationship. 

Thankfully, most of my plans failed and I was continually humbled to the point where I was frustrated. Granted, there were other times when my scheming succeeded and I regretfully got what I wanted. If God had not frustrated my plans over and over I do not think I would have been led to Him, and would be, to this very day, seating my desires on the throne of my heart and doing everything I could to satisfy them. I praise the Lord that He pointed out the idolatry in my life, which was an incredibly painful process. 

Anyway, my point is that when I look at this society in which we live, I begin fear and lose hope. I cannot imagine raising a child in this day in age. All the things that kids (children mind you) are exposed to today. I could list them all, but that would digress from my point. In spite of all this, I am reminded of a God who redeemed me from a similar culture. If I had to offer any piece of advice to the youth of today (meaning high school and younger) I would say to pursue God now. Too common is it thought that, “I will have fun while I am young, and then do the ‘Christian thing’ later on in life.” Or sometimes, perhaps not consciously, there is a thought that says, “Sexual pleasure, partying, alcohol, drugs is the best thing I can get in this life.” 

I, too, have erroneously thought this, but that was before I had tasted the sweetness of the fellowship I have with God. I think C.S Lewis said it right when he said that our desires are not too strong, but too weak. We desire these things, which are good sometimes. Our flaw, though, is thinking that they can bring any satisfaction to our lives. And I would distinguish pleasure from satisfaction by saying that pleasure brings excitement while satisfaction brings rest. So then, let us take heed to this word:

 

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

-Hebrews 12:14-15

 

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A Season of Change

Fall (or Autumn as some prefer) is said to be the season of change. It makes sense that this is the season of change. A new school year, new seasons of New Girl, and sometimes even new jobs. Well, this season has been quite the change indeed.

I just recently turned 20 years old which is quite strange to think about. As I look back on the last 10 years of my life I see a tremendous amount of work that has been done in my heart. I’ve been the “Jesus is my homeboy” guy to a disciple of the risen Christ declaring that Jesus is my life.

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Anyway, that’s really crazy and I’m excited for what God has in store the next 10 years of my life. One thing that is constant in my learning and that continues to deepen as I age is this understanding that nothing matters except God. 

That is quite a bold statement to the rest of the world. Really? Family, friends, and even one who might be your wife aren’t important? Okay, obviously I care much for those things, but, in the end, whom will have I have? I think Psalms 73:25 states it quite well:

“Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.”

I am reading through a book called Justification by N.T. Wright and he says this:

But we are not the center of the universe. God is not circling around us. We are circling around him. It may look, from our point of view, as though “me and my salvation” are the be-all and end-all of Christianity…But the real point is, I believe, that the salvation of human beings, is part of a larger purpose. God is rescuing us from the shipwreck of the world, not so that we can sit back and put our feet up in his company, but so that we can be part of his plan to remake the world. We are in orbit around God and his purposes, not the other way around.”

-N.T. Wright, Justification

As I read this, I wholly agreed with him. I know that, personally, a lot of my life has been about me. I’m starting to see the real picture of what life is about.

This would be comical if there wasn’t so much at stake, but we use God. We use God to get his stuff. We use God as a means to an end be it marriage (“just keep waiting”), a successful life (job, family, etc.) or for anything else in this world.

We hear that God loves us and that all he wants to do is make our life better. Well, that is true he does love us, but ultimately he wants to glorify himself. Is that our thought as we go throughout the day? I know for me it hasn’t been that way at all. I realized about a month ago that I was really living for God to get his stuff and cared nothing for him.

I surrendered his stuff for him, not solely because he will satisfy me more, but so that he would glorified in me and that people would look at him when they see me.

It was a very freeing and joyous moment knowing that I have Christ in me and that’s all I need:

“The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”

-Psalm 34:10

I would challenge you, thoughtful reader, to consider what is the end goal of your life. What is that one (or maybe multiple) thing that you want? A good way of figuring that out is by looking back at your day and asking yourself this question: what was I pursuing the whole day?

For some, it may be a relationship pursuing any girl or guy that gives even the slightest hint of interest. Maybe it’s a 4.0 so you lock yourself away from anyone who might distract you from that. Whatever it is, it holds you back from true life:

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

-Jesus Christ of Nazareth (John 17:3)

Worship-less worship

Very recently, I was talking to a couple of good friends (Clint Harper and Elliott George) and they were talking about how sometimes people sing things they don’t understand. They commented that it’s becoming more common that the time of worship by singing has become equal to the amount of time the pastor speaks. Because of this, it is also becoming more important to correctly worship God. In the same way you wouldn’t have a theologically unsound pastor preach a church, why would we allow theologically incorrect worship leaders lead worship?

I completely agree with them. It hit me a little bit harder this week at the gathering (Tuesday night worship service on campus). I sincerely want to sing praises unto God Most High! It’s the words of truth that stir my soul, not just emotional feel-good lyrics. When we sing songs that speak of who God is in a way that mimics what the Bible says…oh the desire in my heart to pour out song and praise and fill the room with loud music.

A song entitled “What Do I Know Of Holy” by the band Addison Road is a great example of a song that pierces the heart. Here is a sample of the lyrics:

“I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees”

This is so true! Look at all the times in the Bible that God appeared to people! They weren’t all happy and smiley! They were terrified:

Isaiah 6:5

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Job 42:5-6:

“My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”

And even the Apostle John, who had seen Jesus before, saw Jesus again in His Heavenly form (Revelation 1):

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.”

God is terrifyingly holy. Yes, He is our Father and Friend, but He is God. Jesus Himself says this in John 4:24:

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

If we are not worshiping in truth, then what are we doing? The idea of worship is to bring worth to our object of worship, hence it’s appropriate to call it worthship. Next time you are singing in church or any place for that matter, consider what you are about to proclaim.