Sunday, October 19, 2008

Soul Food

I love how God is so faithful to remind us of the aspects of His character that we tend to shelve after having lived with them for a while. What was once a ‘holy cow!’ moment becomes more of an ‘oh, that’s nice,’ and the Katherine McFee tune “Over It” starts playing like background music in our heads. We often forget the impact that the truth and love of God had on our lives in the first place as they fade into our memory bank as ‘another time, another place.’ But here’s the deal: the truth and love and promises of God are still as alive and rich and fulfilling as when we had our first personal encounter with Holy Love. In this over stimulated world we live in it is so easy to coast through and tune out any Divine whispers and stirrings in our souls. It’s easier just to flip on the TV, the only activity being our hand repeatedly going from the bowl of Cheetos to our face. Been there. But I think there comes a point where we simply cannot survive on cruise control any longer. Our eyes may be a little glazed over from inactivity and our hearts may be buried under all kinds of clutter, but our eyes are still open and our hearts are still beating. More than that, God is still actively involved in our lives, whether we believe it or not.


This is a realization I came to just last week. Not a new truth, mind you, just a forgotten one. It was as if someone unlocked the 6-foot thick, soundproof door to my heart and let me breathe in the fresh air and feel the warm sunlight on my face again. You see, I had gotten to the point where I felt a bit like a robot, responding to commands and going through the motions, yet remaining unaffected and completely numb. I hate that more than anything, being trapped in some stale box and not knowing how to get out. Thankfully, the Lord was gracious as always and showed me the exit. I was sitting in on a session during our pastor’s conference at Harvest last week, hungry for anything (‘throw me a bone, here!’) but unsure if the plate could even slide under my heart’s door. (Bear with me on the word pictures, I’m a visual thinker.) And then it happened. CJ Mahaney was speaking out of 1 Corinthians, and I honestly couldn’t tell you what He said, but the unchangeable truth of God’s Word gripped me, and the shell around my heart shattered.


Whenever we get the notion that God is not moving in and around us, we can become despondent and cold to what He is wanting to reveal. We think that maybe He has ‘moved on’ or forgotten about us. This simply isn’t true. We are easily led astray and can shift into automatic mode or even become jaded by what we see or don’t see. It is in these moments that we have to throw emotions, lies, and indifference out the window and choose to stand on God’s Word. His Word is alive and active and contains truth from the very heart of God that is still setting people free today! And that doesn’t just mean new believers. It applies to Christians old and new as well. In order to walk in freedom we need to constantly remind ourselves of what God says to us through His Word. Let it wash over us. Let it strengthen us. Let it dispel the dark lies that try to take root in our hearts. So as the Lord has challenged me this week, I also challenge you: dig deep into God’s Word. Ask God to open your eyes to what He wants to show you. Beg for a hunger to know Him revealed in the pages of Scripture. My friend, you will not be disappointed.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Glory to God Tour

As I type I am sitting in the balcony of Heartsong Church just outside of Memphis listening to my new friends Fee rocking it out. The guitars are blaring, the drums are pounding, our ears are bleeding. But don't be fooled, this is no ordinary rock 'n roll show. Jesus is being lifted high in this place and we're all coming out of our chairs. We're only 4 days into our fall tour with Fee, Phil Wickham and myself, but already the Lord is uniting all of our hearts and moving mightily among us. When we took time out of our busy first day in Powder Springs, GA to come together as a new family and beg God to show Himself to us and through us on this tour, I couldn't help but cry tears of joy. How refreshing it is to be out with guys who sing, play, eat, sleep, live, and breathe for God's glory. That's why this is no ordinary fall tour. I'm officially labeling our next 13 dates as the Glory of God tour. That's the whole point. Not just of our short tour, but of our entire lives. Living for the glory of Jesus is our only rational response to the Gospel at work in us. We boast only in the cross! Let us spend ourselves to spread the life-changing name of Jesus. Who's with me?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

You Invite Me In

It happened again yesterday. I was leading the song “Adoration” by Brenton Brown at our Harvest Niles campus, and when we got to the bridge I was so struck by what I was singing that I thought I might just jump out of my skin. The lyric says this in the second half of the bridge: “We’re caught up in the angels’ song, we’re gathered to Your ancient throne. Children in our Father’s arms, shouting out Your praise.” Wow, what a vivid picture. It was almost like while those words were rolling off my tongue, someone took a paintbrush to my brain and left me with an unforgettable image of saints, old and new, gathered around the ‘ancient throne’ of God. And as if that picture burning in my mind wasn’t enough, I was left wondering at the mystery of something that God has been whispering to my heart on a regular basis. He reminds me constantly of this awe-inspiring truth, and perhaps He is so repetitive because I am so easily distracted and forgetful. Nevertheless, it happened again yesterday, and hypothetically speaking, my jaw hit the floor.

What happened, you may ask? No, fire didn’t fall from heaven nor did any white horses come running through the sanctuary. Something better and much more shocking. As we stood there singing our hearts out and by faith believing every word coming out of our mouths, we met with God. Without physically moving anywhere, we entered the presence of the Lord and stood before His throne. He heard us. He let us in. He delighted in His people.

Now you may be wondering what the big deal is, but if you take a step back and ponder the fact that the Holy God who created all things seen and unseen is in our midst, you may be shocked too. I mean, c’mon. It shouldn’t be this easy. But Hebrews 4:14-16 says, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” By sacrificing His perfect life on the cross two thousand+ years ago, Jesus paved a way for us once and for all to come to the Father. Our ‘approaching the throne of grace’ has nothing to do with our perfection or lack thereof. The fact that we can come to God wherever and whenever has nothing to do with our parents’ faith, nor does it rest on our moral track record. There are no background checks at the throne of God. Our past, present, and future have already been covered by the blood of the sinless God-man at Calvary. So rest assured, Beloved. God is calling out to you, inviting you into sweet fellowship with Him. He knows your name, your hang-ups, your joys, your sorrows. Now He wants you to know Him. So come, just as you are. Come dirty, come hungry, come downcast, come hopeful…just come. He will take care of your rags when you get there. You have been invited into the presence of the King. What are you waiting for?