Because he is God, and I am not

On this date, 45 years ago, I was sitting on a bluff at Kiamichi Baptist Assembly, resisting God’s call to Kingdom service because I was afraid he would call me to pastor a church. A smart spring breeze was blowing through the treetops, and I was meditating on Jesus’ comment about the Spirit moving where he wills.

I noticed a hawk circling above me on the updraft, and I decided this was a good time for a kid to put out a fleece before the Almighty. I informed the Lord that if he would have the hawk land on the rocks next to me, I would surrender to whatever service he had in mind — even pastoring.

I felt more than a little smug when the hawk flew straight away from me, and I started to get up and head back down the mountain. When I glanced down, however, I found a hawk feather on the rock between my legs.

The Lord spoke clearly to me in that moment that because he is God, and I am not, I should be pursuing his Kingdom first and foremost — whatever that meant — rather than trying to build the life I wanted for myself.

“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” (Mark 8:35 NLT)

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Turning 31 … again

A birthday ramble:

When I turned 31, I lived in Little Rock. Megan was about to turn 3; Graham was still just a gleam in the old man’s eye. I had a good paycheck coming in, but my employer was headed toward bankruptcy. Our young church was torn by division. I was about 4 years out from the onset of Crohn’s and the wreckage that would follow. There was a lot of trauma in the next 31 years.

Tomorrow I turn 31 again. As I embark on this third (last) set of years, I’m done with big shots and big talk. I’m done with consumers who pretend to be Christians, organizations that pretend to be church, and programs that don’t facilitate transformation. I want to walk with kingdom-minded people who yearn to see captives liberated and taught to walk in God’s ways. I want to yoke up with visionaries who can see God’s justice restoring hearts and multiplying through communities. I’m glad to have several friends in here who have that heart, as well as a few in the “real” world.

An awful price has been paid for the Lord to bring me to this place in life. I don’t want to waste what he has invested — or what I have endured. YHWH Pattish has worked hard on me. I want him to be proud of his handiwork. Whatever this tool is that he has hammered out, I want to be useful to him.

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