My Purpose, My Calling

We hear a lot about hearing God’s call, following God’s calling for you, receiving the call to ministry, finding your purpose in life.  Are you looking for that dream job, the career of a lifetime.  Well hold on to your seats kiddies!

I have the answer for those who are searching.  And if you thought you found your calling and now feel unfulfilled, I have an answer for you too.

I know, who knew such wisdom rested in this earthen vessel but, prepare to be amazed.

Your calling, your purpose, your life’s ambition is fulfilled in following the same call that Jesus yielded to.

Your purpose, my purpose, your calling and mine, is to die.

Well that just sucks!

Yeah, I wanted something cool and amazing, preferably center stage and that paid well.  Second best would be something behind the scenes, you know, nobody sees you but you’re making things happen.  Those on stage depend on you.  You are needed.

But then I looked at Jesus.  His calling wasn’t to do miracles, though he did some of those as well.  His purpose was clearly not to be king, or even start a religion.  He stated that his purpose was to “do the will of the Father.”  And the final act of that was to give his life up.

I saw “the Passion of the Christ” one time.  As I watched what happened to him, I cried.  I balled.  And I kept asking why?  Why would he do that for someone like me?  Why would he do that when he knew how I would receive it?  How I would throw the shit of my sin on the priceless gift of his love?

There is no explanation for why that my mind can comprehend.  But he accepted that price.

And now he calls to me.  He beckons me with his scarred hands, with the love, that held him to his purpose and to the cross, shining over me.

How will I answer him when He longs to take me through the cross?  How will I submit when it is more than my salvation that is at stake, when it will cost me everything?

“Not my will but yours, Lord.”

Itty Bitty

Because I have never held a staff position at a church, I seem to be constantly wrestling with the idea of fulfilling my purpose.  Now, I probably would still wrestle if I was a pastor, but that’s my golden chalice, my “dweam wiffin a dweam”.  Part of me wants to accept my low position.  Part of me knows that I was meant for something more, something great.

Now, I know, I am just one guy.  I am not amazing or even noticeable.  But, somehow, as I go through my days, I see that with Jesus living in me, with the Holy Spirit flowing through me, I could do something amazing.

I think that is why I write.  It provides that chance for God to inspire, to infiltrate my words and make them something that lifts others up, alters their view a little, brightens their day, maybe inspires them to dare greatly.

We live in a time where children are told that if you believe in yourself, you can do anything.  Conversely, as adults we are given constant reminders of our insignificance.  It seems that often even God wants us to know how small we are.

I question this.

When I look at the stars, do I not sense a calling out, a pull to see beyond?  When I look at the oceans, doesn’t a sense of adventure rise up in me?  Don’t the crashing waves beckon me to dive in, the cliffs to try to fly.

He designed us with greatness inside.  Sin humbles us, tells us what failures we are.  But, oh hear me!  BUT, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

Christ lives in me!

CHRIST LIVES IN ME!

What’s Your Flavor?

The question caught me off guard.

It could’ve been asked different ways.  What’s your color?  What’s your background?  What’s your heart?

What’s your flavor?

He was trying to see what made me tick.  We were playing a song together and he saw through my attempts to sound like someone else, to immitate, to comply.

What’s your flavor?

I think Jesus asks us that some times.  He doesn’t want us to try to be like others.  He isn’t looking for us to fit some mold of contrived religion.  He created us as unique individuals that bring various facets of His nature, His beauty to light.  He didn’t bring us into creation to be like anyone.  He wants us, all of us.  He wants our light to shine, our purpose fulfilled – which is really His light shining through us.

So once again, I ask, what’s your flavor?

Jesus, Pay Attention

“Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.” Matthew 24:1

Another strange portion of scripture (at least to me).  Why would the disciples need to point out the temple to Him?  Jesus had been there before, you may remember.  All I can think of is that, on this occasion, He didn’t show any evidence of being impressed, He didn’t take the time to notice His surroundings, He wasn’t paying attention.

Why?  Sure, He had some other things on His mind.  He knew that He would soon be betrayed, rejected, crucified.  Maybe, He just didn’t care.  It’s not hard to imagine that the creator of the universe would not be impressed by any building, ever.  I think He would be particularly unimpressed with a building designed and built to show off the greatness of a human king.  Perhaps He was focused on what He had seen in the temple, the money-changers, the greed that was so evident there, the mess they had made of God’s plan and will for their lives.

And His response, all that is so impressive, that you admire so much, it’s going to be destroyed.

Sometimes, all too often, I question whether Jesus is paying attention to me.  Like a spoiled child, I whine about my “needs” not being met, my wants, my dreams unfulfilled.  Does He just have other things on His mind?  Am I not important to Him?  Does He see the things that I long for as silly, frivolous, warped, wrong?  The things that I think will make such a difference, my purpose for being here, means nothing to Him.

The only problem is I know the verses that say He cares, He knows the number of hairs on my head, He sees me.  Maybe, He’s so busy saving me, protecting me, loving me, molding me, shaping me into His image, that He won’t waste time on my crying.

I doubt He’s very impressed with me, except the way a dad is impressed with everything His children do.

Yeah, I forgot about that.

dadandchild

Love Who You Are

I watched this video and thought of what I’ve been through, what I look like, who I am.

We can think of this as a catch phrase, a trite saying to deal with bad days, but, it is biblical.  Not in the modern, narcissistic sense of being the center of your own universe, focusing on yourself to the exclusion of others.  It is biblical in the sense of accepting the value that God has placed on you, appreciating the gift of who you are, your life, your purpose.

I am not tall.  I am not good looking.  I am pudgy, wear glasses, have gray hair.  I am loud and obnoxious, moody, intense, opinionated, argumentative.  I am not strong or fast or graceful.  I’m not a great guitarist.  My voice will never win any awards.  My attempts at sainthood have fallen pitifully short.

So what is there to love?

I am the only me that there is.  My voice is the only voice that some people can or will hear.  My songs, my heart are the only ones that have the potential to reach certain people.  My life is the only one that some will see the presence of God through.

You are the only you that there is.  Live like there is no one else that can do what you do.  Live like yours is the only voice people will listen to.

Live like God has chosen you.

Because He has!

Boo Hoo!

Motivation 008Today is one of those days where I hear the voices telling me no one’s listening.  They whisper to me about mistakes, about failure.  They remind me how weak I am and tell me to quit trying.  I do not even want to write today.

I let you in on a little secret though.  I hear everyday from people around the world.  I have been walking in victory, storming the gates of hell.  I’m seeing break through in other’s lives.  I’m enjoying, and watching in amazement, the growth and strength of my children.

And yet, today, I’m discouraged.

I’m not God, so I can’t speak very authoritatively on this, but there is a purpose to my discouragement.  I don’t want anyone to spend even a second feeling bad for me.  I think God lets these moments in to see why we’re doing what we do.  For me, I sometimes live to see comments and likes, to see new followers and hear new voices.  But that isn’t why I do this.  It isn’t why I sing or play guitar.

I need reminded that the reason for my life is that I would live to serve Him, to know Him more, to see His light burn brightly in others.  I sing because I love Him.  I move and breathe because it is all I can do to repay Him for what He has done for me.

I don’t know how I would do it, but I would hope that if no one ever read anything I wrote, I would hope I would write just the same.  If my hands were broken, my guitars taken away, my voice silenced by disease, I want my life to be one of worship to my Jesus.  I want my heart to drip with joy and forgiveness seeping from me like nectar from a flower.

It is all I have to offer.

Let it be enough.