It really is all about HimI had a great conversation with a fellow staff pastor yesterday over lunch. I wanted to share with him some of the things that God had been burdening my heart with and it turned out that God had been doing a similar work in his heart as well.
The crux of it is this: God's people and God's church should be living triumphant, overcoming lives even in the midst of this fallen world. The reality is, however, that many Christians are struggling to stay afloat at all (relationally, financially, spiritually, etc.) much less living the abundant life that Christ died to give us. The saddening part about all this is that in Christ we have all we could ever need to live abundantly. He has promised to "supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:19). All we could ever hope to need in this world, He has purchased for us with His blood. Why then do so many Christians turn to worldly means to try to meet the needs in their lives? Why do they not just turn to Christ in faith and know that He will provide for them?
I don't know the answer to those questions but I have some thoughts on the subject. It seems that the 2 main reasons that we do not avail ourselves to the riches of our Lord are:
1. We don't know that we can.
2. We know that we can but we don't know how.
It seems to me that the church was created in part to remedy these 2 problems. Yet it also seems that a very large number of church going Christians still struggle in this area. Why is this the case? I think partly because it is so easy for us as pastors and church leaders to fall back onto the gifts and abilities God has given us that we assume we know what He plans for our ministries. We rely on our gifts instead of relying on a word from Him. In doing this, we inadvertently rob our ministries of any power because we are the power(less) source and not the Holy Spirit. I know that the burden God has placed on my heart through the course of the last few weeks and months has led to a strong conviction that I cannot pray enough for my ministry, my family, and my church. I can assume nothing when it comes to what God's will is for my life, my family, and my ministry. To miss God means to miss any chance of a life impacting ministry.
If we are to help God's people live abundant, joyful, Spirit filled, Christ dependent lives, we must spend less time planning and budgeting and marketing and more time on our knees before the throne of our God begging that He will speak and begging that He will somehow use us to change hearts and save souls. I am tired of seeing people who attend church every week and still struggle mightily day to day. I want to see them have victory over the things of this world. I want God to do a might work in me and through me. I want my ministry and the ministry of my church to glorify Him be a place where people are healed, strengthened, and turned loose for the sake of the Kingdom. I want to see lives saved, marriages rescued, children raised under the precepts of God, and the Word of God made manifest in the lives of His children. Only He can do all that......I can just offer myself as a humble vessel and pray that He use me as He sees fit to magnify His name and His Glory.