Prayer & Yearning

About two weeks ago, during our staff retreat at the Cove in Asheville, God impacted my heart in a huge way. I can’t exactly put my finger on what is happeneing in my soul, but I feel a new work of God happening in my heart.

I feel a new sense of urgency in prayer and an increased passion for the ministry He has called me to.  At the same time, I have a clearer understanding of my my brutally selfish nature.  In opposition to it, I’m asking God to expand my capacity for service without recognition.

Some of what I’ve seen in my heart bothers me, but other parts give me great hope in the future. As I battle against my flesh, I’m praying that God will use this time to draw me even nearer to Himself.  I’m praying that He will work through me in a way that earns glory only for Himself.

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Parenting, Everclear, & Sunflowers

I have to admit that I am a hardcore fan of alternative rock music.  1994 was a pivotal year for me as I began to fall in love with the gritty sound of bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, and a slew of others.  The energy and passion was contagious, and even though I still love much of the musical style, I regretfully let my mind be filled with a lot of stuff that wasn’t good for my soul.  I still listen to alternative rock, but I’ve added quite a few bands of a different nature, like David Crowder Band, Switchfoot, & Skillet.  I’ve also eliminated some bands and many songs from my music library.

Well, last night, as I was mowing the lawn, I came across a song that I’ve heard a hundred times before – Sunflowers, by Everclear.  This time as I listened, I actually picked up on the flow of the lyrics.

I know where you go when you want to fall
Why do you want to be broken?
I know where you go when you want to fall
Yes your friends they tell me everything
Yes I know where you go
Yes I know what you do
Yes I know the awful things you say and who you say them to

I had always assumed these lyrics were referring to a wife or girlfriend, but today I clearly heard the important lines of the song:

Your mom she said that you are just like me
I can see it in your eyes
I can see your shaky hands
Yes I think you think i’m stupid
You don’t think I understand
Yes I see you and I see myself when I was a younger man
When you were a child
You were happy and free
You were my reason to live
I would die when you smiled at me
I can still see you
I remember you painting
Sunflowers in your room

These are not the words of a bitter lover or disillusioned spouse.  These are the words of a brokenhearted father.

God, please help me to raise my children to follow after you.  I pray that they would escape some of the pitfalls I fell into emotionally during my teenage years, and I beg you to please raise them up to be leaders in your Kingdom work here on this earth.  Please mold me into the dad and husband you want me to be, and help me treasure each day with my children.

PS – If you randomly found this blog post, and you’re not a part of a church community, I’d love to have you join me this weekend at our Internet Campus.  It’s an online interactive broadcast each Sunday, and for the next few weeks, we’re specifically talking about issues facing families today.

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Aren’t We Clever?

As I was reading last night, I came across Luke 10:21. It’s part of a passage that I’ve always enjoyed, but with the rise of social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, it’s especially interesting:

At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike…. (NLT) [emphasis mine]

This is a motivation check for me. Why do I do the things I do and say the things I say? Is it to please God, or is it to impress people?

Father, please save me from my selfish motivations and my silly attempts to feel good about myself. Help me to place my identity in Christ and understand my worth through the cross.

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