Weight

I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure. While I can’t see it, I can feel it.

Weight.

Something pressing’s down on me. Many things, actually. And they’re not bad things. They’re good things. In fact, they’re God-ordained things.

Serving my wife, stewarding my kids, taking care of our home, investing into people, building the local church, growing kingdom businesses that influence communities, creating art that changes hearts.

Every one of these topics have high price tags of time, energy and money. And they each have severe ramifications if I make mistakes.

Legitimately.

And yet they weight me down.

So is the weight something I’m to be afraid of? To fear?

How about to avoid? That seems to be the most common advice I give myself. That’s the advice most well meaning people give. Avoid the weight. Look for ways to offload it. It’s unhealthy. It’s not God. If you’re not at peace with it, look for where you’re being disobedient.

But what if not giving myself to any of those things is the disobedience?

I’m also inspired by a quote form one of T.D. Jake’s famous sermons, The Weight of Glory:

The conduit from laity to leadership is discomfort.

What if the discomfort of my life is the very thing that qualifies me to lead? To stand in front of my family, my friends, my church, my businesses, and say, “Follow me as I follow the Lord.”

I’m inspired by the life and letters of the Apostle Paul, knowing that affliction is the gateway for glory.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

What if the very tactic of the enemy is to get me to believe the “burn out” lie? To subtly convince me to “take it easy.” To “quit” one thing or another “because it’s hard, and I’m so tired.”

If anxiety and burdens are the enemy of the first-world Christian, how can I consciously avoid lines like this in what most scholars believe is the first written text of the New Testament?

And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 2 Corinthians 11:28

I can feel the loving eyes of the Father staring at me as I complain about my circumstances. As I moan about one issue or another. About how hard I have it. The past several days, it’s been a minute by minute awareness. He’s checking me. Testing me.

•••

This past Sunday was the most frustrating tech Sunday at New Life. Ever. Four days before, our building was struck by lightning, so by Sunday, my tech department was finding more and more ghosts in the systems. Lights stopped working, lyrics stopped going up on screens, audio sends weren’t feeding. And I have no hair left to pull out.

Meanwhile, on stage, Jamie Wright was talking about victims of sex trafficking and how The Exodus Road is working covertly to rescue them.

Could God be speaking any more loudly to me?

•••

I think I’m mining gold now. I think I’m arriving at a divine conclusion. I feel God forging it deep within me. And I’m becoming profoundly certain of a heavenly truth.

The best way to keep from spoiling our position is to correct our attitude.

And what is my attitude to be?

That I live like a king. That pastors dream about having the “problems” I do. That since I’ve been given so much, much is required of me (Luke 12:48). Anything less than my very best not only belittles my calling and my position, but mocks the one who knew I can stand here and lead. And serve.

I’ve never met a grateful person who was burnt out.

Keep going today.

Don’t give up.

Tomorrow will take care of itself. You just be obedient today.

Souls are waiting on the other side of your obedience.

Ultimately, it’s obedience that the Holy Spirit is looking for (Psalm 40:6, 1 Samuel 15:22).

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Ode To The Common Heroes

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The earth is impregnated with heroes.

They love the land others think is cursed.

Their eyes aren’t on fortunes or fame, unless having to do with increasing their King’s, as His fortune is measured in souls and His fame established in grace. Grace that’s invited the sickest, murdering pervert among them to dine at the Father’s table – realizing they had all been branded the same for executing the Father’s son with their sin. Sick, murdering perverts who found grace.

They have the audacity to think they can impact their region; having themselves been touched by the life altering presence of God, they do not think it a stretch to believe that that same presence can change those around them.

They get frustrated with other Children of the Light who unwittingly mimic the lies of the Enemy over territory marked for the King, but remember they would be in the same depraved condition if it weren’t for divine perspective.

So they move in grace for the saved and the unsaved alike.

They are dispensers of mercy, not holding people to the fates they deserve; dispensers of grace, looking to give to people that which they do not merit.

Their culture is upside down. Unusual. Deliriously different and yet definitively divine.

They see their cities and towns and villages through heaven’s eyes, ever aware that there’s a better way to live for those struggling to feel better about the way they’re living.

They’re dreamers. Warrior poets. They make music with their inventions, create positions with their endeavors, generate monies with their pursuits, and forge converts with their humility.

All the while reminding the Enemy he only has control over regions of the earth where no Christ-followers live: if they aren’t there yet, Devil, they’ll be there soon.

You can attack them, frustrate them, discourage them, shove them, marginalize them and tempt them, but you can not defeat them. Because the epicenter of their earthquake causing, ear drum rupturing, heart stopping power is the Mercy Seat of Jesus Christ.

Kill one and you’ve invited heaven to your house, indeed doing God a favor in designating a place that’s in need of mercy. Kill them all and they’ll only be replaced by more; for the Creator has an endless supply of resources with which to fashion an army capable of representing Himself, embodying his love, and serving those in deepest darkness into light.

Their sleeves are rolled up. Eyes are on the horizon. Faces set like flint.

Yet they look common on the outside.

And this, the beauty of it all.

For when the Enemy least expects it, he’ll have lost another soul, another town, another nation to some unsuspecting vagabond that reeks of the divine, sounds like the crucified, walks with a limp, and has eternity in their eyes.

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Rearview Mirror

Every morning I leave for work, I drive down this road and look back in this rearview mirror.

My wife is back there.

My children are back there playing.

Without me.

Ahead of me lies conquest. Mission. Vision. And yet behind me lies the same: training my children for mission, conquering new realms with my wife.

It’s a world torn in two.

That’s because I exist in the beautiful strain of tension. We all do. The pressures that exist between who we’re becoming and what we were, what we’re pressing toward and what we never want to leave.

Neither world is wrong, only being in the wrong one at the wrong time is. And that’s why the Holy Spirit is so important: He alone can dictate the proper rhythm for your life, faithful through the nuances of all it’s seasons.

Because when I come home later in the day – little voices squealing my name – that rearview mirror shows others I leave behind: hurting lives, valuable families, noble Kingdom endeavors.

Make sure there are goals within your day job that reach beyond the temporal; and make sure your home life sees as much time in the front window as it does in the rearview. ch:

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Spheres of Influence

Spheres of influence.

We each have one. Probably more than one.

And each sphere is a culture. A set of unspoken nuances, rules, and behaviors that differentiate it from other cultures.

And you’re in it. You’re in it to bring Jesus and aspects of his character into the middle. Sometimes subtly and over time. Other times abruptly and within minutes.

Calls and cultures cannot be compared. It’s a dangerous game to get involved in. Some people will influence thousands in their lifetime; others will influence one. But the measuring stick isn’t necessarily volume: it’s faithfulness.

I won’t be asked if I was diligent to affect your cultures. Just my own.

I serve at New Life with an amazing team of creatives. Designers, fabricators, and all around hard workers. Visionaries.

Part of my call to Jefferson County is to slowly, over time, help teach a community to appreciate art. Things that aren’t easily explained with simple metaphors because their impetus was to provoke unique emotions in each individual. Not to draw parallels.

In creating the “Refresh” stage set for October – drawn by Jason Clement, sewn and set by Kathy Fahey, and rigged by Zach Yelle and Daniel Gilchrist – some will see joy. Others will be inspired. Some will wonder. Find fascinating. Stir memories. Be provoked.

But regardless of meaning, memories, or metaphors, I hope people find it beautiful.

For beauty is a mark of the Kingdom.

And she doesn’t need a reason.

She simply is. Because God likes beautiful things.

Just because.

So what are you being faithful to? What are the many-faceted, multi-layered, underlying missions that burn in your heart? Who are the people you’re reaching, the themes you’re living out, the calls your answering?

When you can, be specific. Intentional. Write it down, pray over it, act on it. Ask yourself what you see your cultures looking like after your time serving within them is done.

Don’t wait for someone else to do the job God assigned you to do. ch:

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