Quite awhile ago, I went to Grand Canyon University (GCU) and was in their ministry program. One of the text books for my class was the book “The Purpose Driven Church” by Rick Warren (yes, the same guy who wrote “The Purpose Driven Life”). I was perusing my book collection looking for my next read and saw that book. I haven’t opened it since college and as I feel called to start working to build InkleDeux, it seemed appropriate.
I have no experience with Rick Warren outside of this book. I have not listened to a single sermon, nor read anything else from him. He is not a celebrity to me. Therefore, I can only take this book for what is. In general, it is an approach to forming a church congregation. It is pretty standard stuff: having a vision and mission, having core values, etc, etc. What makes this book a little different is how God is the center of everything. Warren seems particularly concerned with people who may want to have the results that he got without dedication to Christ. It is very possible for someone to read this book, remove Christ from all of it, and still gather a large congregation devoid of the Spirit. He doesn’t want that and frames everything accordingly.
Reading how Christ was at the center of everything, I became painfully aware how I continually ask God to bless what I am doing. I have a call to serve and so I will think of something I want to do (usually around what is interesting to me at that time), ask God to bless it, then go give it a try. There have not been a lot of success stories if I’m being transparent. I believed I was the most important aspect in the equation, so I asked God to help me do what I wanted to do. Warren challenges that in this book.
The statement that broker my brain open to these realizations was: stop asking God to bless what you are doing, and see what He is doing and go help that (summary, not an exact quote). This hit me hard, made me reflect, and made the soil of my heart ready for the Bible verse I would read that night.
You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops…”Haggai 1: 9-10
I saw in that simple phrase that I had become disordered. My focus had shifted from God to myself. I was seeking something with desperation but it was for myself. Every time, God “blew it away.” I will be honest here, I have gotten extremely frustrated with God for this. I have been so mad for being so willing to serve, but nothing ever worked. Turns out, I have not been fully ready to serve God. I wanted to serve myself, my ego. If God had granted my prayer, I’m fairly certain it would have had negative consequences.
To be properly ordered as a Christian, we need to ask ourselves these two questions constantly: 1) Where is God moving? and 2) How can I help it?
These two questions will keep us properly ordered towards God. In our last podcast, we talked about how the correct desire to provide for my family can be perverted by moving my self-worth away from my Creator and into my production. I am no longer a child of God, but a man who makes a paycheck. God’s name is Jehova-Jireh and he provides. Therefore, I need to remain ordered towards God and trust in his provision. I cannot serve God for what I will get out of this deal. If I seek heaven instead of Christ, I will have missed the mark and the fall will be devastating. If I look for where God is moving and seek to help that with my gifts, God will provide what is needed to continue His movement. He will feed the momentum of his Spirit. The gifts and luxuries of this life are a byproduct. I have made them the main focus too many times. I don’t want to keep seeking the empty luxuries. I want to ask myself where God is moving and how I can help.
Working for my life’s vision of writing stories in a beverage shop that I own.
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