Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Crazy love

One of the most influential books I have read in recent months has been Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  At first I thought that this book was one of those new postmodern hippie cool books that seem to dot the Christian publishing universe these days.  But I was attracted to the title and the synopsis of the book seemed to be speaking to my heart's greatest desire these days--to know God more; to love Him more than anyone else or anything else in this life.  Upon reading it, however, I was pleasantly surprised--and thoroughly convicted.  I realised how little my love for God beats in my soul sometimes; how lukewarm I have become in my thoughts and attitudes.  But at the same time I was so wonderfully encouraged!  Here was a man my age whose sole desire was to love God.  He was doctrinally sound and yet wasn't the stereotypical theologian who is all about head knowledge and is wasting away in his spiritual heart.  Francis wants to want to know God more; in fact, he is so completely committed to following God that he was even be willing to give up the pastorate of a mega church because he felt that God had so led him. 

In recent years, God has led me on a journey where I have felt as if I have indeed "walked through the valley of the shadow of death".  The challenges of raising a severely autistic child are, at times, almost overwhelming.  This was especially true in the early years of Josh's life.  How many nights did I cry out to God for the healing of my son?  There were many days where I asked the Lord why He had answered my prayers for the healing of some who were almost perfect strangers, yet when it came to my firstborn (and at that time my one and only son) His answer was either silence or "no".  For five years I grieved every day for Josh.  This was especially true during his many tortured nights where he would wake up and scream for an hour or more straight. 

But it was only through this painful experience that I began to realise a greater truth: that my Father in heaven really understood my pain.  He too gave up His one and only Son.  And He too heard His tortured cries throughout the night in Gethsemane.  And He too had to give up His most precious possession in order that I might be saved.  I have found that it's not the things in the Bible that I don't understand that are the most challenging, but the things that I do understand.  What Christian hasn't memorised John 3:16?  But how well do I comprehend Jesus' words?

I want to be a child of God who is crazy in love with my Father.  I want to be a husband who has a reservoir of love for my wife that goes beyond human capacity.  I want to be a father who is known by his children as a man who loves God more than anyone else--and from that love I can love my children more completely.  I want to be a pastor who leads his congregation into a passionate relationship with Jesus Christ.  I pray that this will be my story in the next few years.

Friday, 18 November 2011

A new beginning

I'm not really certain if this blog will become part of my daily life, or if it will start and fizzle.  But I thought that it might be a good opportunity to share with others the journey that the Lord has set me on.  Things are going to change in my life in a dramatic way in a few weeks.  After Christmas I'll be taking on a full-time position in my church.  And to be honest, the road ahead seems murky.  I know that God has led me to pastor EKBC, but I'm not certain what the Lord's will for the church looks like--at least not with clarity that I would prefer.  I don't have any "plan" or "strategy" other than to say that I want the church to be passionate about Jesus.  But of course that means that I have to be passionate about Jesus.  And recently the Lord has been revealing to me how dispassionate I can be toward Him.  And I'm being greatly convicted.  This fills nme with doubts.  Shouldn't I be the leader here?  I've been saved for almost forty years--you would think that I'd have a handle on this.  But the disappointements of the past few years (specifically my oldest son's autism) have in many ways rattled me to the core of my spiritual being.  I've been asking myself, "Do I really love God"?  And there are days when I can definately say "yes".  But other days, the answer is well short of what God demands.

A new beginning awaits in ministry.  But the same old journey is continuing as well.  As Francis Chan points out in his book Crazy Love, I want to want to know God more.  And today this is my prayer.