Thursday, June 7, 2007

Sabbatical #5: "What do you want?"

I’ll probably only bleed out one or two posts per day to allow for more reflection for myself and you, if you’re reflecting alongside me. Last night’s message was from Dave Johnson of The Church of the Open Door in Minneapolis, MN. He spoke of his desperation, as his church was growing uncontrollably, that he didn’t have a life and that all the problems they had ignored because of their tremendous growth had come to roost. They hadn’t built the character to uphold the anointing God was giving them.

His biblical example was Samson. He was blessed time and again, but he had no character. Johnson thinks it was because he didn’t want it. Maybe didn’t think he needed it to be blessed. The foil to Samson is the Israelites as they prepare to go into Jericho. They were to be circumcised again. Not the best battle plan. But God wanted to “cut them deep,” I guess to remind them whose battle it really is.

The common theme was that this “cutting deep” would slow the Israelites down, and it slowed Dave and Open Door down. They couldn’t, and didn’t, continue at their frantic pace of growth. In fact, they were going to have to go backwards for a time to create the church that took “spiritual formation” seriously. But that was fine in his eyes because it was building character to go along with God’s anointing.

This was so good because I feel at times, in the busyness of ministry and life, that I’m “anorexic inside” (his words), in terms of Christ being formed in me. I find myself driven by my circumstances. I don’t want that. That’s why I chose this conference as part of my sabbatical. I don’t want to go through the motions as a pastor – or even as a Christian for that matter.

His closing question was this: “What do you want?”

I don’t know. I know I want to want to have Christ fully formed in me. But if an omniscient observer of my life were to judge me by my actions, I wonder what they might see that I want. Comfort? Appreciation? Approval? Who knows? I know now my prayer is that I would grow to become the person who genuinely wants to let God invade every part of my life. I need to wrestle with this a little more so I’m going to quit blogging and start journaling.

Before I go, “What do you want?”

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