So Will I

So Will I

Late last night I was listening to some music after getting home from campus sweeps. When this song came on, I felt my heart leap. I didn’t give it its due listen at right away, but looking at the words is arresting my heart all over again. I wanted to share with you!

God of creation
There at the start

Before the beginning of time

With no point of reference

You spoke to the dark

And fleshed out the wonder of light

And as You speak

A hundred billion galaxies are born

In the vapor of Your breath the planets form

If the stars were made to worship so will I

I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made

Every burning star

A signal fire of grace

If creation sings Your praises so will I

God of Your promise

You don’t speak in vain

No syllable empty or void

For once You have spoken

All nature and science

Follow the sound of Your voice

And as You speak

A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath

Evolving in pursuit of what You said

If it all reveals Your nature so will I

I can see Your heart in everything You say

Every painted sky

A canvas of Your grace

If creation still obeys You so will I

So will I

So will I

If the stars were made to worship so will I

If the mountains bow in reverence so will I

If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I

For if everything exists to lift You high so will I

If the wind goes where You send it so will I

If the rocks cry out in silence so will I

If the sum of all our praises still falls shy

Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times

God of salvation

You chased down my heart

Through all of my failure and pride

On a hill You created

The light of the world

Abandoned in darkness to die

And as You speak

A hundred billion failures disappear

Where You lost Your life so I could find it here

If You left the grave behind You so will I

I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done

Every part designed in a work of art called love

If You gladly chose surrender so will I

I can see Your heart

Eight billion different ways

Every precious one

A child You died to save

If You gave Your life to love them so will I

Like You would again a hundred billion times

But what measure could amount to Your desire

You’re the One who never leaves the one behind

The Most Beautiful Thing

The Most Beautiful Thing

I’m presently sitting outside on a bench just taking in another beautiful day in Holland, Michigan. It is no irony that I’m here. Every morning and evening, I have an opportunity to listen to messages that scrape away the calloused places of my heart. I get to watch worship from youngsters that force me to confront just how sincere my own worship is. I walk 20k steps per day to serve wherever I am needed, and I laugh so much that my stomach hurts. I walk the campus at night to make sure students are where they should be, but it’s so cool, because I also get to minister to students. 

God had to have me away from what was familiar into what is foreign, to give me a reboot. It’s funny that I have fought Him, but His relentless pursuit of our hearts, of my heart, has astounded me. He has made me  pay attention. I have wanted to collapse into tears so many times this week as He has told me who I am to Him, and what my place in Him is. I have made connections that don’t have to be regular, yet mean so much in this season of life. The more God has loved on me, the more I have loved my wife and kids, even in the sparse moments that I get to spend with them. 

I see my  imperfections. I see my failures. I see my trust issues. I see my feelings of  inadequacy.

But I also see His grace. I see His love. I hear Him calling me, like Peter, to feed His sheep. He never asked me to be perfect. He has only asked me to be willing to step out into the adventure of His will. 

And it’s the most beautiful thing, because see, like Peter, I have failed Him. I do fail Him, yet He never focuses on my failure, and points me continually toward faithfulness in who He is, and how He loves me. 

So yeah. It’s beautiful. 

I Will See Your Goodness Again!

I Will See Your Goodness Again!

 

I find myself this morning feeling anxious. My stomach is a little topsy turvy. I’m not eating breakfast. It feels like things are happening around me, but I’m strangely detached. The feelings started last night, and I know why I’m feeling them. Yet, I don’t know why. Something God has brought us through countless times is now causing some fear in my life. Wonder about outcomes.

“Will God still be God?”

“Will He provide what we need? Because we need a LOT!”

“I want to vomit, does God care?”

How many of you can relate this morning? How many of you have ever found yourselves in a situation where you are faced with something that God has helped you overcome in the past, only to be presented with the same thing in a different package in a different season? The worry is the first thing to come back.

But what should happen when we are confronted by these things is that we should revisit the altars that we have placed at those points in our past where God has shown Himself mighty. We should go back in order to go forward.

We have to remember His faithfulness. We have to remember His unfailing nature. We have to remember that He alone is powerful.

Throughout the time in which we discovered that we were being put through another familiar, frightening season, these words from Elevation Church have come to us over and over again.

“I’ve seen You move, You’ve moved the mountains

And I believe, I’ll see you do it again”

See, the operative words there are “I’ll see you do it again!”. There is power in making that confession. Even when my heart is troubled and my stomach is in anxious knots, I can say these words and my spirit latches on to them.

We used to sing a song in church that was a musical restatement of Psalm 27 which says,

“I will remain confident in this, I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

This will not defeat us. This will not cause our demise! What this will do is strengthen out faith as we remind ourselves that God is good in every season, no matter what may come.

In the same way, your mountain will not defeat you. God has given us the means, by faith, to speak to our mountains and have them cast into the sea. That is our birthright. That is our power because of His power.

Besides, fear is a lie. Anxiety is as well. They want us to believe that God runs contrary to His word. Why would God tell us 365 times in the Bible to not fear and then allow us to live in it? No. The truth, regardless of how I feel, regardless of my stomach flipping and the knots, regardless of what I can’t see in front of me, is that God never fails!

This is the truth that we must speak over our hearts. And then the peace of God, which the world can not understand, will flood our hearts because when we belong to Christ, we not only know His voice, but we recognize his truth, and we receive His love!

So, let’s have a few moments of faith-building worship. Take a moment and listen tot his song with me, and let’s pray for each other and believe that no matter what we face today, we will see God be God again!

 

God Heals Me Through My Wife

God Heals Me Through My Wife

Last night, I was having problems deciphering something that God was doing deep inside of my heart. My wife picked up on that and proceeded to describe to me in very accurate detail what the issue was, and how to fix it. I immediately recognized this as truth from God and received it. It was tough love, but it was also needed for my own personal and spiritual growth. God took a broken place that I revealed to my wife, and He spoke such power and love into me that I can’t help but praise Him. As I think about that now, and the many times this has happened over the course of my life, I become ever more thankful for my wife. And so my teachable moment for this week is simple:

Men, trust what God has placed inside of your wife.

We will celebrate 14 years of marriage on tomorrow. Over the 16 years of a relationship that we have built, there have been so many moments when God has used her to pierce parts of me that were closed off to Him. Parts that I had no idea were closed. Walls that I didn’t even recognize had been built. God has used my wife’s spiritual discernment to diagnose me when I never knew that I was sick. Not only has He diagnosed broken places through her, but He has dispatched healing through her so many times. And so what I have learned is simply that God placed her with me, because He knew that she could speak to me in ways that would have to be pried open in order for Him to reach me. I don’t think that is such a bad thing.

Husbands, your wife must be your chief consultant. Besides the Holy Spirit, that is. But what I have found is that sometimes they are one in the same, especially as the Holy Spirit inhabits my wife, God will speak through her to the heart of my problems. Sometimes I hate what she has to say, but I humble myself and receive it from her because I know that she only speaks with the Father’s love for me.

I trust that she works with God so that I can be the best that I can be. I believe that her intentions for me are God’s dreams for me.

That’s big! How many of you husbands out there can honestly say that?

We have to trust our wives enough to let our guard down. Be sensitive. Emotional. Allow our wives to see the ugliness inside of us. God can use those moments of transparency to heal us and help us become better for our wives and our families. This is one of the greatest keys to health in a marriage relationship.

And it is why I celebrate my wife. She is my gift from God.

And I will have loved her as such for 14 years tomorrow. Actually 16…cause I loved her as soon as I met her. And I trust her with my tears, my frustrations, my hopelessness, my weakness, and dreams. Through her strength, God strengthens me so many times. Through her love, God heals me. This is what marriage should be.

Be blessed today!

The Tough Choice

The Tough Choice

Hebrews 13:5- “…Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, don’t harden your hearts as you once did in the rebellion.”

We all want to hear from God. We want the “experience”. We want the encounter. We want to be able to tell the story of how God came and sat down on our bed and had a conversation with us at 3 in the morning, and our lives instantly changed.

But what about when God is saying things to us that we don’t want to hear? The things that will make us better? What about when God says things to us that are corrective, yet still show His love? The Bible DOES say that the Lord chastens those that He loves. he disciplines us. He is not the God who spares the rod. His love is abundant, but it would not be love if He did not tell us what in us needs to be fixed.

I feel like I am learning this lesson all over again during this season of my life. I don’t know when it started, but it is an uncomfortable thing to hear the voice of God pointing out what only He can fix. Many times these are things that we know lurk beneath the surface, but we are loathed to address because of the things that have to be dredged up in order for the situation to be rectified.

It sucks to be confronted with the ugliness of our lives. Jealousy. Undue anger. Regret.

But God does none of this to be spiteful. He does this because His love is so great for us that He desires that none of us be left in a place where all that we feel like we have are the cards stacked against us. That is not fuel to live on. His love is our daily bread. His peace is our direction. His joy sustains us. Any other fuel is quickly burned out, leaving us empty again.

We must tell ourselves the truth. We must be open to God speaking the truth to us, because along with what He wants to fix, God will tell us who we are.

Self will lie to us. Self will deny that there is any truth to the fact that we are broken and in need of repair. Self will tell us that we don’t need anybody. Self will convince us that who we are is just who we are.

Which is why self must DIE. Self will leave us into rebellion.

But when we hear the voice of God and we allow it to penetrate our hearts, rebellion is not possible. His love is so profound that even when it places us in a difficult situation, we will still feel His peace leading us into healing. That is when self dies and the spirit of God within us can rise.

When God shows Himself as a Father, a GOOD Father,  and corrects you, don’t harden your heart. Accept His love, and be changed.

Be blessed, fam!

Failure is NOT an Option

Failure is NOT an Option

Deut. 31: 7-8  “Then Moses summoned Joshua. He said to him with all Israel watching, ‘Be strong. Take courage. You will enter the land with this people, this land that God promised their ancestors that he’d give them. You will make them the proud possessors of it. God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry.'”

What would you do differently if you knew that you could not fail? That failure was not even a variable in the equation? What would your life look like if it was victory was the only possible outcome? Would you chase that passion? Would you follow that dream? Would you let the word “no” have any power over you?

I wonder sometimes what my own like would look like. I’ve been one who has a preternatural disposition to see the failure in every possible outcome. In some cases, it has helped me plan better, but mostly it has kept me from doing some things that I really want to do. So when I read these verses last night, it was quite literally a slap in the face. Where is my expectation? What is my expectation?

Moses’ last words to Joshua are pretty profound. After having all of his life to watch this man do amazing things for God, and also mess up at times, Joshua was now on the cusp of leading this tremendous number of people into the land that God had promised them. Moses was dying. It was Joshua’s turn to model faithfulness and leadership. After having spent all of his time watching a legend, I believe that Joshua was ready, but he didn’t know how ready he was until Moses addressed him with these last words.

It felt like the moment in the original cartoon Transformer’s movie where a dying Optimus Prime gave Hot Rod his own spark, which leads to him becoming Rodimus Prime. Joshua ascended immediately with confidence that God was striding ahead of him. I believe the word striding is important to note.

It’s not just that God is walking in front of us, but His steps are so huge, that we can never catch up to him. Therefore if we are following His footsteps, his strides, we will have a lifetime of victory. See a lifetime of blessings manifest. Witness a lifetime of goodness, love, peace.

But how do we explain the setbacks and failures of our lives? Moses told Joshua that God would always be with him and that God would never let him down. Success was assured as long as he walked with God. But what about the complaining? What about the let downs emotionally? What about this and that?

I think we have to change our minds about what failure actually is. I think Moses was telling Joshua not to be intimidated by anything because, in the grand scheme of things, the only way to fail is to not try. As long as Joshua tried, God would honor that and see things through to success. In our own lives, when we fall, we can’t automatically equate that to failure. It is only a moment. When we decide to quit trying to live for God when we decide that we no longer want to dream, or live life intently and purposefully, that is when we fail because we are no longer following in the strides that God has made before us.

So what would your life look like if failure was not an option? Guess what…it’s NOT!!! Success is your only option. No matter the direction. No matter the path. In Christ, victory is assured. A caveat here….notice that I said IN CHRIST!! You have to be with Him. So live life the way that God intended. Take risks. Be passionate about God and people. Love loud and proud! 

Be blessed! 

Speak Life- Proverbs 18:21

Speak Life- Proverbs 18:21

“Oh be careful little mouth what you say,

Oh be careful little mouth what you say..

Cause you oh so “harmless” words

Could cause someone to hurt.

So be careful little mouth what you say.”

We, humans,…ALL OF US…have this thing where we say stuff without sometimes thinking how it is going come off. I mean, really think about how it sounds. Sometimes what we mean as a compliment comes off as mean and unthoughtful.

And I don’t doubt that we mean well. All I’m saying is that before we respond to anyone, about anything. take a few moments and run through the possible outcomes of what you have to say. There will be times when you are tempted to give you real thoughts about someone’s situation. If you haven’t built the kind of relationship with that person where your comments could be received in truth, keep them to yourself and pray about an opening. Ultimately, ask yourself,

“Will my words encourage? Edify? Provide hope? Show love? Bring peace? Speak life?”

Even in a compliment for congratulations, be sure that you are conveying what you really mean to convey. Be purposeful in your speech. Be genuine in your meaning.

Because if we aren’t, even “kind” words can kill the spirit of others. Then we become unwitting accomplices in killing off the joy of someone who needs it.

This all goes for me as well. I believe that this is what God wants to speak to us all today. Speak as Jesus would. and Does.