Thank you to those of you who have been asking questions, both in private messages, emails, and folks who have been responding to the blogs and responding to the YouTube channel. I appreciate all the comments and all the thoughtful questions.
One of the things I found myself struggling with just this weekend was finding the time to respond to folks and while working on everything else. I think it was on both Saturday and Sunday, I found myself during my evening prayer just wrecked, frankly, kind of in a doldrum, down-in-the-dumps depression over my inadequacy to get it all done, to be effective in all arenas at the same time.
For instance, I’ve got some client sites that I should be doing as a form of ministry. I have my own studies (I’ve gone back to school and I’m currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Religious Ministry) and I don’t feel like I’m making great ground with that. Then, to have these comments rolling in—it’s good, it’s great, it’s exactly one of the things I’m encouraging; for folks to comment and to have that dialogue. That’s why we put ourselves out there; to engage others in the conversation.
In this case, we as finite beings are trying to wrap our arms and our heads around God, the Infinite, and so that in and of itself is an exercise in vanity, but still we have to try. We still try to gain a deeper understanding of God. I’ve heard it put that, “The more we come to know God, the more humble we should be growing.” Intellectually, when I heard that, I’m like, “Oh, yeah. That makes sense.” As we begin to know God’s nature a little more, we should be growing more humble. We won’t necessarily grow more humble until we know God more, so it’s a relationship; a deep ratio there.
I don’t want to presume that that’s what I’m experiencing in my depression during the evening prayers, but certainly there’s some mortification going on when I look at how pathetic my efforts are in the world. All I can do is plant these seeds in the form of videos, in the form of discussion or blog posts or responses… and then it’s up to God to really bring fruit to that. There’s nothing I can do that doesn’t have God’s hand on it if it brings success, if it flourishes to success. I can be banging on whatever efforts I want to, but it’s God that brings the growth. It’s God that brings the fruit.
It’s just like when we plant a seed in the garden. Some of those seeds will bear bruit, some will not, but none of it has much to do with us. We can bring water. We can bring plant food or fertilizer. We can bring some of these other things to it, but ultimately it’s God that says whether or not these seeds bring forth any life.
I think that I was stewing in my own inadequacy. Just producing a post or producing a video—so what? At the end of the day, so what? I can only do so much, and I think that’s where I was getting stuck, as in, “Lord, look at how inadequate this is!” For me to be able to produce a blog post (that takes me hours to stamp out) or for me to produce a video (that may take me one take, or maybe should take me more than one take…) but to even come up with this stuff and put it out online to share it—not as a guru (definitely not as a guru)—more as a student or a reporter on my position or my journey. I hope that it helps people and I hope that God can use me to move the multitudes.
That’s my prayer—and it’s a big prayer—but it’s a prayer that I say gently and with caution because I don’t think that I am deserving in any way to be used as such a vehicle. Exactly the opposite is what I’ve been feeling. I even cracked up during my prayer. I laughed a bit. I had to say, “All right. Lord, I’m not laughing at your ability to use this mess that is me. I’m laughing at this mess being used for anything good in the world, is really what it boils down to. This mess of a human being. I find it laughable that you would use this smallness, this pathetic story to your own glory, but if that is your will, I will be subjecting myself to that. If that’s your will. If it’s your will that I do nothing, that I spend the rest of my life doing menial labor or nothing. If I die tomorrow, it is your will. Let your will be done. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to subject myself, my will, my ego, my intentions for my own life, to you, Lord.”
I think that ultimately, when I sit in that space and I think of how ridiculous it is that God would even use me knowing where I’ve been and the dumb stuff that I’ve done and how infantile I am in my faith. I think some of this might even be coming from watching some of these great Christian apologetic teachers, like Greg Bahnsen, like Ravi Zacharias—some of these folks out there who are doing some fantastic teaching. Then, I compared it to where I’m at in my own apologetic study and my own walk in the faith, and I think these guys have decades on me— decades on me. I feel like I’m trying to crush 40 years into 3.
Peace be with you brother.
It sounds like you have a case of too many irons in the fire. I did want to encourage you and your decision to go to school. Very honorable. I would remind you not to rush anything. If the work load at school becomes too great, if possible, scale it back a little. Personally, I would rather take my time to get something done right, than rush through it and get it wrong.
Wow, some big name drops in here! You are certainly right in your humble self-reflection of being decades behind their level(not an insult to you). That is something that comes with time, so again, DON’T rush it. Allow God to let you come into your own at your own time frame, after all, He knows you best. The greatest thing I see is this, you can read about things all you want. You can study theology and the many facets that intertwine in apologetics, but experience is the better teacher. My dad always told me that all school does is teach you how to learn. It’s the experience that tells you what to learn. Take that in with a grain of salt of course, but it’s application goes across many avenues. It’s the engagement and interaction with non-believers that will build up your own faith. The interaction with believer’s helps affirm your faith and attain better understanding through their enlightenment, experiences and lessons learned. Remember you are His vessel to bring a message to someone that doesn’t know Christ as savior. It’s all about Him, His story, His glory. See those people with your spiritual eyes. If we only have one reason to love them, the fact they are an image bearer of God is the only reason I need. We could list more of course, I’m just keeping it simple and straight to the beginning of things.
I would say that I shouldn’t reply to the blog so as not to be your stumbling block in regards to your work load, but it sounds to me like your opinion is one of gratitude regarding feedback. I don’t intend to stop anyway. I did wonder and ask myself why I was so compelled to respond to you and write over the past month. Nothing is by chance. There is purpose to every action and event. I was drawn to you to try and help I think, as if you need some sort of support line? I don’t know you at all, who you are, what makes you tick? You are a complete stranger, so how am I so drawn to check in and see how you are doing? It’s almost as if there was a duty bound feeling that now peaks a curiosity that says I’m on a road now and have just begun the journey to another crossroad of knowledge and truth. Obviously I still don’t ultimately know why, but I hope you have found my words encouraging and I will continue to pray for your peace that only our Lord can give.
Thanks again for your comments and support, Mike! Too many irons in the fire, definitely, though this has been greatly improved compared to where I was two years ago. At least now the irons are for God and not my own vain pursuits! Fortunately, the classes I am taking are in the form of an extension program, so it is somewhat self-paced even though there are recommended completion goals. Most of my slowness comes from simply trying to get clear on EVERYTHING all at once. There is so much to understand! Thank you for the reminder to allow God to design me. I’ve been trying to be calm (ish.. calm-ish..) with this, but I still admit to a sense of urgency to “get caught up” in order to be more useful to our Lord.
I love your reminder that experience is the best teacher and completely agree. I know I am being called to open-air witnessing and will be engaging in that this spring under the guidance of a local spiritual mentor God has brought to me. Thus, again, with the sense of urgency as I do not want to misrepresent. I also understand it is not my job to convert anyone; that domain belongs to the Holy Spirit. The most I can do is to give the defense and reason for the faith and hope within me, right? Still, my Lord deserves my best, even if it’s a broken best.
LOL. You are NOT providing a stumbling block. I have been floored and blessed by your thoughtful responses and am encouraged by your support. Thank you for your continued engagement and for responding to God’s pull on your heart to offer guidance. Yes, I absolutely encourage you to continue writing and sharing your own journey. As that spiritual mentor of mine reminded me, we are all members of the Body and mutually buoy each other in different ways. While you and I may not know each other well (yet), it is obvious by the sense of gravity you are experiencing our paths have joined. If I am beginning to even slightly glimpse the awesome depths of divine orchestration conducted by our Father, I am sure you and I will continue to fuel each other toward higher and higher heights of ministry and revelation and relationship with our Lord. May God use our discussion and witness to speak life into others.
When you get some time, it’s an older one but perhaps you can pull some good points out of this.
Life is full of surprises. And sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity. So how do we keep stretching when the path we’re on hits an unexpected speed bump?
This sermon was on Mother’s Day and was provided by the pastor’s wife but had a great message regardless.