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I’m in the middle of writing an article on loneliness as a means to drive us deeper into God’s heart and was just struck by the passage this nugget came from. The context is distress and anguish, feeling the grip of death’s crushing pull. Maybe you can relate. But the author of this psalm lifts his eyes above his circumstances and prays for deliverance. He meditates on the character of God; how He is gracious, righteous, and merciful. He remembers what God has done; how He preserves the simple and rescued him when he was flat on his back, hopeless and alone. Then comes verse seven. Circumstances haven’t changed for the author but, then again, God’s worthiness to be worshipped has never been contingent on ideal circumstances. No matter what our lives might look like right now, no matter how uncomfortable or excruciating our circumstances might be, if we have been redeemed by Jesus, we have every reason to “return to our rest;” for the the Lord INDEED has dealt bountifully with us. And He is worthy of our praise and confidence right here. •••• [Also, 1) this is not a staged photo and 2) you should go read all of Psalm 116 for yourself.]
Happy birthday to the best big sister! 🥳 You are as genuine and intentional as they get; you love deep and feel big, and I’m so thankful for your heart and life. 💜 Additionally, I’d like to know how much you were paid to hug me in this photo.
“Do not despair, dear heart, but come to the Lord with all your jagged wounds, black bruises, and running sores. He alone can heal, and He delights to do it. It is our Lord’s office to bind up the brokenhearted, and He is gloriously at home at it.” -Charles Spurgeon
“Theologians who limit the means of grace to overtly redemptive religious practices miss something about the God who speaks without words in the theater of His creation.” -David Powlison

Follow me as I follow Jesus

Monday Morning Munch No. 73 – The Command to Lead Others

Intimidating.
Exciting.
Overwhelming.
Scary.

These are some words I’ve recently heard describing discipleship.

The bottom line is this: if you are a Christ follower who has been given a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26) and are therefore a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) then you are commanded to lead others and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Timothy 2:2, Titus 2, plus a bunch more).

When you look at yourself and your abilities, knowledge and inadequacies, this can definitely look intimidating, impossible even.

It would be easy to say you weren’t qualified to “disciple” someone else, and shake off the responsibility to someone in the local church who has more knowledge, who has walked with God a little longer or who “loves people better” than you.

The thing is, that’s not the Gospel.

The Gospel says our abilities are completely inadequate. Our goodness is like filthy rags before the holy Lord and can never be enough to merit His favor or salvation but that it was a beautiful, free, unexpected and undeserved gift.

The Gospel says we were once dead in our trespasses and sins and God made us alive by His life-giving power.

The Gospel says all we have to offer God is what He has already given us.

And that’s all He wants. 

He doesn’t want our innovation.
Our cleverness.
Our “impressive” qualities.

He wants our hearts.
Our trust.
Our obedience.

Heart Pricks and Leading Others

What God has been pricking my heart with in the last week or so, is the question of how I’m leading the people in my life.

What does my “leadership” look like? 

We know the story in John 4 of the Samaritan woman at the well who encounters this strange man, Jesus, who told her “all I ever did.” But my heart prick came in verses 28-30 and 39.

“So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to Him. 39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.”

 She led people to Christ and many believed in Him because of her testimony.

Can that be said of me? 

The last couple of heart pricks I’ll leave you with come from the book Doxology and Theology by Matt Boswell and several other worship leaders around the United States.

I cannot recommend this book enough.

It’s specifically targeted to worship leaders and pastors (of which I am neither), but it is beneficial for every member of the local church. Read it. You’ll be convicted, challenged and so very encouraged by the deep gospel-centered truths found within it’s pages.

Quotes from Doxology and Theology

(the following quotes, again, are specifically talking to worship leaders, but I’m applying them to the girls and women I disciple. Apply it to your situation as well and see what God will do.)

Michael Bleeker:

“It’s time for us to feel the weight of our calling and with humility and passion lead those who God puts in front of us each week.

Are you leading from a posture of humility? Are you marked by someone who has been transformed by the gospel? Are you leading from a place of believing in the sufficiency of Scripture? The Word of God is inerrant, infallible, and certain. It is the sole authority on all matters of faith and life and practice.”

Stephen Miller:

So many of us spend our time in the darkness, snacking on prideful thoughts or self-glory, thinking that such things are merely trifles, all the while acquiring such a taste for the counterfeit that we cannot remember the real thing.

For many worship leaders, that means becoming consumed with building a bigger fan-base and better platform. More fans, more friends, more followers, more flattery—the secret thoughts of our hearts fuel our obsession with our own name.

We lead people to ourselves rather than Jesus, and then wonder why power has left the pulpit and why the deep theological treasures of some of the old hymns have degenerated into songs that exalt us above the glory of our Creator.

Worship leaders are always in danger of falling into the pharisaical trap of honoring God with our lips, but keeping our hearts far from Him.

Our mandate is to actually love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength—not to simply make people think we do.”

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