I had a bit of an overwhelming experience last week, when a pastor friend wrote some very kind words about something I gave to their church several years ago and my recent blog around Memorial Day. He expressed what I did in the following:
"The author articulated so well everything I have ever held dear in my heart...I had to reread it several times and with each reading blessings just flowed over me. This lady that wrote that beautiful piece...for the sake of the kingdom."
I will be honest...I had to pause and think about the whole idea of my actions and my words impacting God's kingdom. When I think of myself, this isn't the picture of what I see. I don't see someone impacting God's kingdom. And many days I don't see how, or even why, God would ever choose to use me for anything the least bit productive. I might look all put together on the outside (I might not too!) but I see brokenness. I see barriers. I see missed opportunities and mistakes. I don't see someone worthy of being used to glorify God or do anything for the sake of His Kingdom. I just see me.
"The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had had no special training. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus."
When I look at myself...I see ordinary (and some days I see less than ordinary). I don't see boldness...but God does. Sometimes I wish I could see through His eyes (and then I quickly rescind that wish because there is no way I would want to see through His eyes. Oh the responsibility...no thanks!)
Anyway, this past weekend I went to one of my favorite churches in Coral Springs, Fl (.http://cbglades.com). The church's motto is "No Perfect People Allowed". I often forget that I don't really need to live up to any standard for God to love me and more importantly use me. Our world likes to separate out God from everything else. We put God in a corner until Sunday (and some take Him out on Saturday) and maybe the occasional holiday. And we keep God there until we need him. But we are missing something really important when we put God and faith in a compartment....we miss out on the fact that He is actually immersed in every single element of the day, week, month, year. And He isn't boring and dull. In fact, He is anything but boring and dull. And if you are dragging yourself to church each week because it is Sunday or you gave up on church a long time ago because it was boring, or you weren't quite perfect or you feel God gave up on you...then I challenge you to find a church that has a motto like "no perfect people allowed." Sometimes when I go to church, I feel like I am at a rock concert. And I absolutely LOVE it. And truthfully, when you go to this church in Coral Gables, you kinda are at a rock concert. Actually...last week they played a bit of the song "Turn Down For What"...to prove a point. The point being...that nothing is off limits for God to use. Nothing. This church does BIG, wild, crazy things.
And they do all of this through plain ordinary people. Because God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things for His kingdom. And he doesn't just use ordinary people, he actually uses some pretty bad people too. Think of Paul in the Bible. For those not familiar with Paul....he hated Christians. He threw them in jail and attended their killings. He was out to destroy the church (Acts 8-9). But then something changed and Paul turned to God (actually several things changed, including his name--he went from Saul to Paul but that really isn't all that important!) . He became a powerful speaker in Christ's name. The transformation is interesting because Paul was so evil that people didn't believe him at first. People were actually afraid of him...that's how bad he was!!! But over time, God used him over and over again. And in the end, Paul ended up writing a good majority of the New Testament in the Bible. And He influenced many, many people. You know, just your typical Christian-killer, evil person...leading others to Christ. No perfect people allowed.
So don't allow the world to force God in a corner because He isn't exciting or you aren't 'good enough' for Him to use. Because God is dying to use you and excite you and express His love to you. And He sees you as so much more than you see yourself. And absolutely don't give up on church...because there is a great church just waiting for you to walk into it for a jam session. Or hymn...whatever floats your boat.
Rock concerts, ordinary people, and a Christian-killer,
Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.