This year has been an inspirational roller coaster ride for me: successes and failures, laughter and tears, having and not having, worshipping and wondering why should I bother? According to The Barna Research Group "47% of American adults [said that they] attend church in a given weekend, not including a special event such as a wedding or a funeral." Wow. More than half of us aren't fellowshiping together, we're not inviting others to learn more about Christ, and we're not tapped into the heart of what we were designed to do, worship.
Here are a few reasons:
- There are too many false ministers and pimps in the pulpit, who spend more time preaching to you that their view of God is the only right one. They make you believe that the manifestation of God you witnessed in your personal life never existed.
- There are too many stars in the church, who intimidate other members by making them believe that if they aren't spear heading a ministry or project, then it is no good to the Kingdom. They make you think you're not Christian enough to be there.
- Some people think that God is their personal Genie and that he takes dictation and make your requests happen when you and how you want it. And if He doesn't, then you question His validity. You stop attending church, because you don't understand why God would allow you to lose something of value or hurt.
- Some folks don't know what truly surrendering to God really means.
One of my favorite songs a few years back was Emotional Rollercoaster." I was dealing with a guy, who was putting through all kind of emotions. One day he loved me. One day he loved another. You know what I mean? After leaving that guy I promised myself I would never do that to anyone. But as I look back at my life, I realized I have been doing that to Christ.
I write a book and shop it. If the book doesn't get picked up, I put it down. I put writing down to do something that will give me immediate success: promoting authors, blogging, book reviewing, something that will give me validation and quick tangible results. Now there is nothing wrong with that, if your focus is worship. If your focus is taking any opportunity to share who Christ is, to express what Christ means to you, or to edify someone's soul. The trouble comes when you put down your purpose to chase an earthly goal.
In the passage that belongs to this post Christ meets a successful man, who wants to live as Christ. When Christ tells him to surrender all that he has built, created, thought of himself to follow a new way of living he couldn't. He wouldn't.
This life is tough, y'all. To become successful at anything is a feat. The sacrifices, the years of preparation and practice, and then the tangible fruits of our labor all of that adds up to the real cost of surrendering not just who we are, but what we've become. In this world to become successful without God we know that they are many skeletons kicked in our closets and that we have had to change our mindsets and lose our friends, so many things just to get a little success, just to get a book deal, just to get a paying client. That is alot to ask, especially when we know what life is without the success, an unyielding, fiery and scary roller coaster.
But God is good. He finds a way to remind us, even during the ride. It comes at this point where the rollercoaster stops and hovers above the city. You see everything around. It's beautiful. Your heart is now peaceful and full of appreciation. Or you are preparing for the fall, depending upon your mindset the fall may cause you to lose sight of the beauty you just saw and the worshipping you just practiced. Anticipating the worst that could happen makes or breaks you.
I'm reading Max Lucado's Fearless, and I tell you to see that fall as a child does. They wait. Their eyes are wide. They grab tight to handlebar with joy and laughable fear. Because they know that the fall makes the ride up so much exhilarating. They know that they want fall. More importantly, they know it's a thrill and only lasts for a little while.
As you write and submit(I am working on something myself) remind yourself that in five years when I look back at my situation will I feel proud that embraced the rollercoaster with faith or will this situation negatively affect who I become five years down the road.
Don't let the devil ride this Monday.
So here are four steps to get back on that ride:
- Begin to think in divine terms. How will this challenge in your life look if you were story was retold in the Bible? How do you want your story to end?
- Let go of your passion for this world. Instead insert a passion to bring to this world.
- You cannot fix the thing that separates you from God on your own. There is a reason why you are disconnected from your internal need to worship. You must surrender and allow God to remove those strongholds, even if it's a friend, a mentor, your penchant for sweets, allow God to do His thing.
- Remember (vs 29) Stop looking to be blessed, because you already are. Hasn't God blessed everyone that followed Him?
And as you leave here is a song that sums up this entire post. Donald Lawrence's the Blessings in You.