Thursday, January 13, 2011

heart abandoned.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you have just heard a sermon that you feel was written specifically for you and at the end of it, the worship leader comes out and plays just the right song to close out the message? I have. I did last night, in the comfort of my own room.

I'm in the process of reading David Platt's book Radical - one I would recommend to anyone! And as I was reading, I came across a section that sang to my heart. Here's an excerpt:

"God delights in using ordinary Christians who come to the end of themselves and choose to trust in His extraordinary provision. He stands ready to allocate His power to all who are radically dependent on Him and radically devoted to making much of Him."

It's safe to say this rang in loud & clear! I read these two sentences over and over again, dissecting each part.

*God delights--this brings Him joy!
*In using ordinary Christians--that's me.
*Who come to the end of themselves--where am I? (Insert Philippians 1:21)
*And choose to trust--it is OUR choice.
*In His extraordinary provision--He is Jehovah Jireh (my Provider)!
*He stands ready--with all He is and does, He is ready and waiting on little me to call on Him!
*To allocate His power--the Holy Spirit is the power of Christ in me.
*To all who are radically dependent--to all, not just some, all who are radically relying on God to supply them with ALL that they need.
*And radically devoted--definition of devoted: dedicated exclusively to a purpose or use; am I exclusively dedicated to Christ?
*To making much of Him--we were created to make famous the name of Jesus and to live a life worthy of the gospel! (Philippians 1:27-28)

When I finished the chapter, I could hear in my head myself, along with 22,000+ other college students at Passion 2011 Atlanta, singing,

"I'll stand, arms high and heart abandoned, in AWE of the ONE who gave it all! I'll stand, my soul, Lord, to you surrendered. ALL I am is Yours."

I hope that, in some way, God uses this to touch your life in the way it has mine and that you will CHOOSE a life RADICALLY DEVOTED to the One who gave it all!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fresh Start.

Passion 2011--I'm not really even sure where to start with this...or what to say. There's so many things running through my mind and some still processing. In the past 4 days, my mind has been blown, my world has been rocked, and my life has been altered forever. And, it's not because I was at Passion 2011. It's because Christ was.

I went into this conference with the desire to start my year off by immersing myself in the presence of God with 22,00+ other believers. The first night, in our community groups we were asked the question, "What are your expectations for these next few days?" My answer was simple. I had none. I did not want to put any limits or expectations on what God was capable of doing in my life during this conference. I wanted Him to take the reigns and say, "Here I am, follow me." I did have a prayer, though. My prayer for this time, and still, was that God would break my heart for the things that break His. And that is exactly what happened.

I have more desire now to serve Christ and to live for His glory than ever before. My heart is burdened for the souls of the lost. And at the same time, my joy is made complete in Him. Our first night there, Louie Giglio spoke on making sure our lives count for what matters most. At one point in his message, he said something that has stuck with me. He said, "God is no respector of age. You can change the world right NOW." He went on to talk about Time Magazine's Person of the Year, Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook), and how, at age 26, he has changed the world. He is only 4 years older than me. Imagine if I lived my life, if we lived our lives, in such a way that, by age 26, we had forever changed the world for the Kingdom. After spending some time thinking about that, I only had one question. What's stopping us? We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

"Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." --1 Timothy 4:12-16

After the second night, I added another part on to my prayer for this conference. Francis Chan spoke on living a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ. He asked us two questions. 1. Can people see that I believe in hell? 2. Can they see that I'm saved from it? I evaluated my life, my actions, and my speech and came to the conclusion that I had some serious stepping-my-game-up to do. I asked myself when the last time I shared the Gospel was, and my answer was WAY TOO LONG AGO. So here's the second part of my prayer: God, make me dangerous in the eyes of the enemy for the cause of Christ.

"But if I say, 'I will not mention him or speak anymore in his name,' his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot." --Jeremiah 20:9

The next morning Andy Stanley said something at the beginning of his message (which I will delve into in a later post) that really clicked with what I had been praying. He said, "You have NO idea what God may use you to do in the world." Which led me to ponder, is my heart in a place to accept whatever it is that God will have me to do?

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." --1 Corinthians 9:24-27

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." --Philippians 2:12-14

Another thing I learned (from Beth Moore's message) was that for every plan God has for my life, Satan has a plot to destroy it. So, I'm working on constantly renewing my mind and keeping Christ's glory the motive of every action. I'm still processing everything that I've learned in these past few days, but I just wanted to share a bit of it. I serve a Master who demands radical sacrifice and a Maker who gives radical rewards. (David Platt)

"I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." --2 Samuel 24:24

"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." --Matthew 6:20-21

"Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead..." Our God is the I Am. Not the I Was. Not the I Will Be. He is the I AM. I am done dwelling on the things of the past and worrying about the future. My focus is now on the present and making famous the great I Am.

Now is the time for change. Now is the time for sacrifice. Now is the time to bring fame to the name of the Lord. Now is the time to glorify our Creator. Now.

I will be posting more on everything God had for me to learn during this conference, but I wanted to give you just a portion of it now! We serve an amazing God.

Let our shout, be His anthem.
All glory to the Father.