Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More than this

Times are going fast and life has passed me. I'm just trying to catch up, hang on, etc. So officially a homeowner! Exciting times ahead. We settled everything yesterday and finally closed on the house. I left feeling a little disillusioned. I was excited but there was something else I was feeling. It took me a few hours to really feel what it was. I think partly it was the fact that well..."wow, that was a lot of money." But I don't even think it was the money, I think a big part of the feelings was the thought that I have committed to something big. I think commitment really sobers you up from the fast pace of life. The other thing I have been feeling lately is that I have let life run over me. I let it. God made our days for something bigger than having a good job, money, friends, and a mortgage. There is something in me right now that says something big is on the horizon. Ever feel like that? I never really feel anxious about anything. I really think that God has blessed me in that area. I never worry. I have a good life. Somewhere in the past year, I have made a provision for life to pass me. Scripture speaks of not giving the devil a foothold in your life and not making a provision for your flesh. Mainly it's speaking about lust and the things of the body, but you can apply that to so many other things in your life. I think most of my past year, I've just let the world and surrounding dictate what I do on a daily basis. I haven't grabbed my days by the horn and done something that I really wanted to do. None of this probably makes sense, and that's okay, because my blog is therapeutic for me. Right now, I just feel like something is just around the corner in my life that is going to be crazily good and from above. I've had so many thoughts lately about big things that I want to do with my spare time right now. I don't have everything sorted out and a true direction, but I do have some baby steps. I will take them. I want to do something that has some eternal impact. We think so small, I know I do. We believe that...all the big things in the faith must be done by people blessed with organization, money, time, smarts, or many other excuses. That's crap and from below.

I've been thinking about a lot of other crazy things too. Ever really wonder why you are the way you are? Were you born that way? Did your social conditions do the most to shape you? If you look at my left ear, it def. sticks out more than my right ear. Anyway. I didn't get serious about living for the Lord until probably my senior summer of high school. I think that's when the Lord really started working in and around me. I began to read my Bible and just grew. I didn't listen to sermons, I didn't read Christian books. I didn't wear a Jesus bracelet. I would just read. I wanted to go to school in the Navy, but ended up being color-blind so I had to sit home a semester before starting Clemson. I would just read every single night. If I would fall asleep, God would wake me up and instantly, I would start reading. I was disciplined. It was a good time of growth, real good. I have never been directly involved in a church. I've always been on the outside looking in. I just never really felt like it was my place or that I didn't really belong there. These are feelings that I am sorting out. I've been apart of churches, helped in their ministry, and done things behind the scenes but I just have never really had this deep desire to be involved in one church. Something in me these days is telling me that I prob. won't ever be. I'm always going to be on the outside and roaming around. I don't know what that looks like yet or where it will go, it's just what I feel and have felt for a long time. I do not believe that everyone is called to that type of life. For most people, it might be harmful. But for me, I do well having people around me that are good and from above, friends that care about the Lord more than themselves, for the most part. Wow, we struggle there. I raise my hand first. I'm the worst. Back to church, I feel like God is leading me to something that will help glue churches together and make it where we will care about souls. Somewhere in our growth, the church seems to have forgotten about the souls of people. We forgot that Hell really does exist and people will go there. Do we care about the lost? Think about all the books that are out right now. They all seemed to be focused on what God can do for us and how our lives can be complete. Does this bother anyone? This life is not about us. In Philemon, Paul was writing to this small church that was meeting. He really loved them and wanted to encourage them because he heard good things about their faith. He tells them in verse 6..."I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith so that you will have a full understanding of everything good thing we have in Christ" How do we REALLY know what we have until we explain it to someone. Man, that's good. I miss opportunities all the time to share my faith, but as soon as you finally share with someone, there is no feeling quite like that. It encourages every part of you and the people around you. Christianity isn't just about witnessing to people, it's about exciting and refreshing the hearts of people around you.

It seems that most of today's modern churches have an inward focus. I know, right now, of one church that does evangelism training. One. I think most churches really believe the sign out front that says..."Walmart, it's not the only saving place" is their evangelism. We are missing it. This world is not going to be reached by just inviting people to church. That is not the heart of what Jesus taught. I'm not saying it's bad to invite someone to church, that's great. Jesus' greatest ministry took place during the one-to-one relationships He had. They multiplied from that. Evangelism is not about how great your videos are at church, it's not about how great your singers can sing, it's about having a contagious faith. This is convicting for me to type. God has done the work, He has paved the path that we will walk, in His blood. How often do we cry for lost people around us? Who cares whether or not God chooses or He doesn't? I have spent way too much of my time wondering that one. He has commanded us to care for the lost people around us. Who knows if God will save them? He didn't ask us to save people, He commanded us to speak and encourage them, He will do the rest. I do such a crappy job at encouraging people. I have a friend that really believes in me. A friend that always challenges me to think outside of myself and get out of my world for a little while. A friend that sometimes makes me mad. The madness will go away and I'll realize the truth. Mmmm, that's good. It's so good to be encouraged and have someone push you along into doing something eternal. Mmmm...good.

6 comments:

erin said...

Justin Tanner..that is the longest post ever..but it was all good...good processing. I was reading this tonight and thought I would share it with you...
"If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea." Isaiah 48:18
That was pretty convicting to me, showing me that I want to seek God daily and not have regrets that I didn't listen to His commands. From your processing I would say you feel the same...thanks for the encouragement and the honest and real man of God that you are. Miss you too:)

Bri said...

"Now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known."
1 Corinthians 13:12

I am excited to see what the Lord reveals to you, in heart, mind and eyes, in the coming days. God bless you Justin and your willingness to serve.

Laura said...

That really convicted me. I know what you mean by feeling exciting things are ahead. Thanks for the great blog and sharing. Congrats on the house as well!!

Candice said...

1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (MESSAGE) 12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

I like the way the Message Bible puts that....love extravagantly....is that what we are doing? or are we just loving ourselves extravagantly....thanks for posting this JT...it made me think!

Ed said...

JT,
You know of one church that does evangelism training. What's hindering you from starting a training class at a second one? I can't think of ANY person better suited for this than you! Good communication, charisma, and a heart for the content...

Melody said...

JT, first of all congrats on the house, secondly, I just started reading this book: Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen. The first chapter talked about capturing a greater vision, and by doing so, how it can allow God to do so much more through us! He was pretty much saying that if you allow yourself to live a life that says, thats good for that person but I will never do that or have that, then you are putting up a wall between you and God, only allowing Him to do what you think He can do through you and that is it. This chapter opened up so much for me, because I have been anxious about what is to come after my trip to India, and what God will do in my life, but I have not had a big vision. Everything I have been passionate about doing, I have put up the wall that it will never happen, therefore, belittling my God who is the ultimate Creator! God wants me to have a Big vision though, He is a BIG Daddy who can do great things if we just will be open to let Him. Thanks for sharing, I appreciate your honesty and integrity.

--mel