Archive for November, 2010

18
Nov
10

the not so comfortable gospel

I like air conditioning and heat. I like big screen TV’s and steak dinners. I like laying on the couch for an afternoon and watching football. I like a big warm bed and I like being able to get my email or update my Twitter on my smartphone. I like being able to go home from my job everyday to my safe home. I like all these things and more, and recently that’s what has begun to bother me. Am I getting too comfortable? While I completely understand that I am still a man made of flesh and my default is “me, mine, and what’s best for myself” I am being stirred and reminded that I have never been called to be comfortable.

I read in Matthew 16:24-26 where Jesus, the Savior of the World says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

I have scanned this passage over and over looking for something in it that felt comfortable or soothing to my selfish desires, and I am coming up completely empty every time. I mean maybe it is just that there wasn’t the technology and comforts in the time Jesus walked the earth as there are today, so Jesus wasn’t necessarily directing this at those of us who would live in a day where we could pause and rewind live high definition TV….or was He talking about us too? It seems that if I want to receive the salvation that came from Jesus dying on the cross then I would also have to follow the uncomfortable commands to daily take up my cross and give up my life. This is where the battle with my flesh begins…”but I enjoy this” and “I have plenty of money to get that” or “this makes me comfortable.” However, I am reminded in this passage in Matthew 16 that Jesus’ idea of investing isn’t what this world would normally call successful. Jesus says, “whoever loses his life for Me will find it.” What? Are you serious? When does losing something ever cause you to find or gain anything? But isn’t that what Jesus did when He left the comforts of Heaven to come to the earth to give up His life for fallen man so that they might gain eternity through salvation? Jesus gave up so that the Father might gain glory. I’m pretty sure there was nothing comfortable about the persecution, beating, abuse, and crucifixion that Jesus endured, but He demonstrated the greatest form of obedience ever known by laying aside His comforts. Hello? Does that mean anything to me? Does that even cause me to flinch or is this just another nice thought that I read or hear in the comforts of what I believe I deserve?

Jesus has not once called us to comfort but He has called us to radical obedience. Does God provide us the opportunity to experience comforts on this earth? Yes, but the moment that I become so locked into my comforts that obedience to God becomes an option rather than the unquestionable standard I have got some serious self-checkin to do. I am learning that I have a long long way to go in order to be in-line with the obedience that I believe God is calling me to, but if I believe God is who He says He is and the path He is calling me to walk is the only true way for my life, then I will be willing to neglect what I call comforts and respond with obedience to the not so comfortable gospel.

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15
Nov
10

in the unpredictable

I recently heard a statement that said, “If you can fully explain what’s going on in your church, God’s probably not in it.” Being an over-the-top detail and planner guy myself, I had to step back and chew on this statement.  Not being planned? Are you serious? Is there anything wise about that? The more I thought about this statement and processed it by thinking back through my few short years of church ministry and my two decades of being a Christ-follower the more I agree with it professionally and personally. I have often thought how one of the incredible things about God is that we will never totally figure Him out, thus we are left to continually seek after Him. So much about God is unpredictable, but I believe that’s just the way He designed it.

For me personally this truth has become incredibly even more true recently. God is leading and directing the path of my life through the unpredictable, and it has left me in a place of seeking His face like never before in my life. There is a direction that He seems to be leading me that was never on my life map. It wasn’t a part of the big picture that I had planned and laid out for myself, my marriage, or my future family. It’s not something that I ever saw myself doing. It was never something I would have signed up for. It is completely unpredictable…yet it is so right and so true. God is making me so aware of my dependency on Him. My first gut reaction is to respond by saying, “But I’m not wise enough, old enough, experienced enough, or anything enough!” God promptly responded to this statement, “You’re right, but I’m enough.” He has put in front of me the true reminder that if I wait to act in obedience until I get wise enough, old enough, experienced enough, or whatever enough there is a good chance I will no longer need Him because I will feel competent enough on my own…which I am completely not.

I am reminded of David’s journey in 1 Samuel 16 and 17. David is nothing but a boy in the field tending to sheep when he gets called in to stand before Samuel and is anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit. Then before David knows it he is called in again to King Saul to become one of his armor-bearers. Next in chapter 17 he is sent on a meager mission to deliver food to his brothers who are at war, however, he does more than deliver food. David by the end of the chapter has slain a 9 foot giant with a slingshot and a stone that the rest of the Israelite army was afraid to fight. I’m not the brightest guy but I am sure that David didn’t have this whole plain scripted out while he was sitting in the field chillin’ with the sheep. God was working a plan in the unpredictable for His glory, and David simply responded with obedience. It didn’t make sense to David’s father, his brothers, Goliath, King Saul, the Israelite army, and especially not to David, but it was just the way the Father drew it up.

Please hear me say that I fully believe that God has given us wisdom and logical minds to make mature and smart decisions. While I know God longs for us to take wise steps in a cruel and dangerous world, I am more convinced at this point in my life than ever before that if I really believe God is who He says He is, and if I really believe that I will stand one day before the King of the Kings to be judged for my obedience to His call on my life, I cannot face the unpredictable with fear and caution but with a reckless abandon because I follow and serve the Savior of the World.




About me…

My name is Bryant May. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to the most beautiful and God-fearing woman I know, director of production at Pinelake Church in Brandon, MS, an Alabama football fanatic, and an OCD organization/clean freak.

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