Sunday, July 13, 2014
I'm on my way.
That up there is a half hour message that Jon Jorgenson (yes, same one, from The Anima Series) gave at a camp. It's called Transformation Implementation, and I need to talk about it because it hit me straight in the heart. I've transcribed four pieces in particular (best I can, anyway, he talks so darn fast), if you don't have half an hour to spare right now. But you really should watch it when you can. It's good and packed with truth.
The first comes in reference to Matthew 4:18-20.
"We worship a God who is in the business of calling people. You see, God has been calling people since the beginning of time. God called Abraham to build a family. God called Noah to build an ark. He called Jacob to build a well, Nehemiah to build a wall, and Jesus to build a way. God called David into the valley; he called Moses onto the mountain. God called Esther to speak up, Job to shut up, Ruth to stick around, and Gideon to stick it to 'em. God called Joshua to take a walk, Jonah to give a talk, Solomon to be wise, and Lazarus to rise. God called Elijah in a whisper. He called Elisha to dig ditches. He called Daniel to be the best. He called his disciples to love the worst. He called the prophets to speak out, and he called the church to invite in. You see, there is literally no major character in the Biblical narrative who was not called by God to something greater than themselves, and we worship a God who still is calling people today."
Here's a secret: As much as I freely say that I want God to use me, sometimes I don't know why He would. I'm nobody special. I've lived a pretty sheltered life. I don't have any extravagant gifts. I don't have some lifelong calling to move to Africa and take care of orphans like some bloggers who are about my age. I don't know how I could with all of my health issues even if I wanted to. So what's the point in using me for something greater when there are so many other options, stronger Christians, stronger people?
But all I have to do is take a look in the Bible to see that from the very beginning God has been calling ordinary people. They weren't a big deal in their time, they didn't have big and important jobs, they didn't know they were going to be used for something epic from the start. The one thing they have in common is that they became worthy of the record books because they answered His call.
That's Jon's first step: answer the call. All I have to do is answer, and He will bring me to things far beyond my dreams and imagination. All I have to do is answer, and He will take care of everything else.
The second is a pretty long one. It comes from Matthew 26:57-58, 69-75.
"See, the moment the rooster crows is significant, because listen to this. The moment the rooster crows is the moment we're confronted with our sin and shame...You see, the moment the rooster crows reminds us that we are not the perfect, strong, amazing Christian that maybe we thought we were once. It's the moment where we realize we weren't really following God; we were just inviting God to follow us and hoping that Jesus would be our good luck charm. It's the moment that we realize that our choices have isolated us from God. That's what the rooster crowing stands for for a Christian.
BUT to literally everyone else in the world, specifically those in the Midwest, the rooster crowing stands for something else...What does a rooster crowing stand for? It means it's the start of a new day! You see, the rooster crowing means that night is over and morning is coming. It means that darkness is on its way out and light is on its way in. You see, it means there's a new beginning, it means there's a fresh start, and it means that the sun is about to rise. And follow me here 'cause I'm about to blow your minds with this. You see, what Peter didn't know was that the teacher he had just betrayed, that teacher was also a Son. And what Pilate didn't know was that the man that he had just sentenced, that man was also a Son. And what the soldiers didn't know was that the prisoner that they had just beaten, that prisoner was also a Son. And what the Pharisees didn't know was that the carpenter that they had just crucified, that carpenter was a son. Okay, you following me? And even though he was betrayed, even though that Son was sentenced, even though that Son was beaten, and even though that Son was killed, when the rooster crowed, it was a reminder that that Son was gonna RISE three days later and bring LOVE and REDEMPTION to the world forever!...
The rooster crowing in your life is not a reminder that you are broken, sinful, and far from God. The rooster crowing in your life is a reminder that even though you have sin, and even though you are broken, and even though you may be far from God, IT AIN'T OVER...We have to learn to love the rooster because the rooster foreshadows resurrection, and resurrection means redemption is coming."
When the rooster crowed, Peter remembered Jesus predicting his betrayal. He wept at how far from his Lord he had gotten. I'm not gonna lie and say there haven't been times that I've cried at how badly I've messed up. Shame is a brutal feeling, how many things can knock you off your feet like that? A lot of times in the past couple years, I haven't been following God. I've been, as Jon said, hoping Jesus would be my good luck charm. I haven't been seeking after the Lord, not even close to the way that I should. I've been getting a lot of things wrong, so often, no matter how much I want to. I think about things like that, and I feel like I'm just waiting for God to throw in the towel on my messed up life. And I know how much I deserve God giving up on me, which is why it feels inevitable. I am Peter too many days, sickened by my actions.
But those crows signal something else, something I fail to recognize far more often than not. It's the start of a new day. Lamentations 3:23 says that God's mercies are new every morning. That means EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I get a new chance to start over and rededicate myself and my choices to the Lord. It isn't over because I'm still here, which is an even bigger deal for me considering doctors say I really shouldn't be. Because my sin was paid for on the Cross, God doesn't hold any of it against me. God isn't mad that He is giving me another chance; it's what He does!
The rooster means a new day is coming. Oh, I do love a good play on words. When the rooster crows, the sun is rising, and when that rooster in Matthew crowed, it was a reminder that the Son would rise again. And when the Son rose, my sin was forever defeated. So if my sin is defeated, why wouldn't I get a new chance?
Step two: Learn to love the rooster. The rooster's crows means resurrection is coming, and in that resurrection comes my redemption. I am FREE.
The third is tied to John 21: 15-19.
"Even though Peter's not the rock yet, the command never changes. He still says 'I want YOU to be the shepherd. Even though you're not changed yet, I still wanna use you.' And that's what God says to us. He says, 'Even though you're not there yet, even though you're not perfect yet, even though your love for me is still a little flawed, I still wanna use you, so GET BACK IN THE GAME!' Because Jesus is the ultimate recognizer of our potential. Why? Because he's the one who put it there. Jeremiah 1:5 'Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.' Jesus says 'Peter, I know you're still a reed at times, but I know there's a rock inside of you somewhere.' And Jesus is saying to you tonight, 'I know you're a reed sometimes, but there's a rock inside of you somewhere.' And tonight, it's time for you to get back in the game...Your greatest misery that you've been dealing with for I don't know how long is about to become your greatest ministry tonight when you get back in the game with God."
I'm still a reed sometimes, I'll be the first to admit it. I want to be a rock all the time, what Christian wouldn't, but I'm just not there yet. Because I'm such a perfectionist, when I recognize my screw-ups, I often get so caught up in yelling at myself for it that I don't remember to try again. I wonder what the point is, because hey, if I'm just going to screw it all up again, why do I even bother? I might as well save myself the embarrassment and God the frustration.....Uh, except here's the thing. God doesn't get frustrated! He loves me too much! If I think I have to be perfect for God to be able to use me for something, I'll be wasting this whole life away because I'm never gonna be perfect this side of eternity.
I don't love God as strongly as I should, as steadfastly as I should. God still wants me. He wants me so He can grow me. And in the process of growing me, He's gonna use me. If I don't want to give up on God, I can't give up on the creation He made in His image. So here's to giving myself the same second chance God gives me every day, because by doing that, I trust that the One who is in control can make it right. As long as I keep getting back in the game, there's hope for me yet. There's no mistake that I can make that God can't turn around and use for His glory and my good. He knows my potential because He put it there. I'm gonna keep getting back in the game and trust that He knows I really am capable of more than I think I am.
Step three: get back in the game.
The last is his end statement, what I needed to hear the most.
"You see, transformation doesn't come by following Jesus and giving up as soon as you screw up. Transformation comes by answering the call and getting back in the game no matter how many times the rooster has crowed in your life. Transformation comes by saying these words, 'I may not be where I wanna be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be. I'm okay, and I'm on my way. I'm back in the game.'"
I'm not the person I want to be yet, but this blog is enough proof by itself that I am not the person I used to be. God has brought me so much farther than I could have imagined was possible before it happened. More than I even knew that I wanted. Thank God for that. And as long as there's breath in my lungs, God's gonna keep working in me and on me, and who knows, maybe even through me. ;)
God won't quit on me, so I'm not gonna quit on me, either.
Step four: rinse and repeat.