Amen and glory be.
Allow me to make a confession to the blogosphere that may never be read: there are days I am utterly paralyzed with fear when I face the reality of being a pastor. How can I be “taught” to be an effective, God-loving pastor? What about the people that I might cause to stumble? What do I make of being held to a stricter standard at the judgment because I will be a “teacher?” What about the days when I question what God is doing and why? Do I love God enough? Do I love people enough? These are only a very, very few of the questions that plague my mind throughout the course of the day.
Yes, my friends, I have great fear on some days.
There is no doubt of this, either: I am utterly, totally, completely incapable of doing this task apart from God.
And what sweetness that is.
When I feel the fear creeping upon me again, the weight of the burden crushing down on me, I pray. And I remember.
He will see me through until the end and will not let anyone pluck me from His hand.
Before the foundation of the world he predestined through Jesus that I would be called His son.
He will equip me for every good work.
He has given me justification through his work on the cross.
If I suffer, I am becoming more like Jesus, who Himself was made perfect through suffering.
God will finish the good work that He began in me.
Make no mistake. Apart from Him, this is impossible. But with Him, yes, even this is possible.
So, Satan, when you try to trick me and con me with your cheap tricks and your pitiful excuse for pleasure you call sin, or when you try to remind me of the crippling fear and the fact that this task is impossible, I say this to you:
Go to hell. In the name of Jesus, the perfect author of our faith, who you can’t even begin to compare to in glory and splendor and love and grace and power.
And praise be to God, for the truly wonderful gift of knowing His Son.
These days, life seems surreal.
In a little over a month, I will finally (if nothing drastic changes) be back at Liberty University. I’ve been waiting to get back there ever since I left a year and a half ago. From as young as I can remember, I knew that LU was where I wanted to go to college. I fell in love with the campus when I took my first visit with my dad in October of 2008, and I fell in love with EVERYTHING about it when I finally started taking courses there in August of 2011.
You catch faith there, if that makes sense. You know that at the very least your professors love Christ and want to equip you to make Him known in ANYTHING you do. It’s hard to not believe that God has a great plan to use you for His glory and your good while you’re there. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why I wouldn’t even consider going to another school for pastoral training.
It’s been a long road to get back here, which is part of why I think life has felt so surreal of late. I keep asking myself if this is really happening… did I really do all of the stuff I’ve done in the past year in order to get here? Did all of that really happen? Am I really going back to Liberty in just over a month?
Yes. By the grace of God, I have done what I have done. This isn’t a dream. Soon, I’ll be back in those halls. Soon, I will see my old friends. Soon, I’ll be watching the sun set over the Blue Ridge Mountains in the West.
By the grace of God, this is all just the beginning.
Life feels surreal.
"Lastly, for the young guys who spend most of their time watching television, eating chips, and playing video games - we need you to undergo a cranial-rectal extraction immediately. As you sit around with your buddies trying to battle an enemy, liberate a people, and usher in a kingdom in yet another video game, I need you to know that you are wasting your lives. Those deep desires you have to be part of a tribe on mission to defeat evil and set captives free for the glory of a great king and kingdom are there for the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we need you on the front lines. The faithful grandmas and homeschooling moms are getting tired of holding the line."
- Pastor Mark Driscoll, A Call to Resurgence, p. 148-149
Oh, the dark and vast unknown,
Why has not the light so shone
To make your paths and questions known?
Do mortal men of flesh and bone
Always tread your path alone?
Learned men will talk and sound
As if they truly knew your ground,
But words are cheap within the mound
Of all the vast and wondrous bounds -
They say they seek, but have not found.
They can talk, but I will go -
‘Tis the only way the path is known!
To search through all the highs and lows
And help the people down below
Where darkness and injustice grows.
Give me strength to do a work
In the midst of all the mired mirk.
Give me peace to give the hurt
And drink to satisfy their rabid thirst.
Give me You to give them first!
"What if Walter White told stupid chemistry jokes instead of cooking meth?
O Lord of my fathers,
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -
O Lord of the promises,
God over all of our praises -
The people are shouting
And dancing for joy to be glad!
But I am here weeping
And crying for all that we had.
The House of the Lord,
I ministered there!
My brothers the Levites,
We ministered there!
But that House is gone,
Destroyed by our sin -
Destroyed by our foolish
Spiting of Him.
To see and to know
That House as it was!
The memories I have
Of that House as it was!
But that House is gone -
A foundation is laid
For a House that is new
Where we sing of Your grace.
And still we will weep
And still they will shout -
And Your work will be done
In spite of the sound.
Oh, the name of Jesus!
‘Tis Fount of Life so sweet
To please from mercy seat.
For Thee and joy we count as loss
What once we counted gain,
As this momentary life will pass
To ‘ternal, sweet refrain.
Oh, the name of Jesus!
Thy sovereign will hath saved
These men who were depraved.
Thou bore our sin and shame on cross
Of justice and of wrath,
To pay our debts before our God
And bring us to Your path.
Oh, the name of Jesus!
Thy joy shall never end
In the age when all is mend!
For Thou alone art our Reward!
Our joy and our glory and prize!
Thou satisfy alone, oh Lord,
Our longing and wandering eyes!