Thursday, November 20, 2003

hey guys,

long time no blog. even after i promised to blog more. *sniff* so sad ... *tear* ... SUCK IT UP!! *sniff*

God's been working at me ... like seriously getting the chisel and just banging away at stuff that's in my heart. I guess it's really been going on all quarter. Much of it culminated at the Interpraise Concert of Prayer, where I had the opportunity to share about the importance of the motives of the heart. It seems like God's been holding me to accountable to that ever since.

Not that this is a bad thing.

Lately, its about my affections. Maybe a week or two ago, I had the opportunity to get a bunch of guitar tabs (hence the fatty update last week) ... one of the songs was Delirious?' "Intimate Stranger." In the chorus, there's a line that goes Jesus you still have my affection. I remember singing it a couple times and really being blessed by those lyrics, well the chorus really. Its really simple, Jesus I love you / Jesus I adore you / Jesus you still have my affection / And my song will be "I love you". But I guess I felt myself asking the question, "Do I really love Him?" and Jesus asking me, "Do you love me?"

It's a strange question ... and my response was kind of like Peter's (John 21:15-25). "Well of course God, I love you. That's why I'm here. I love you, God." And just throughout the week, it seemed like God was sifting my actions, sifting my thoughts, my desires.

If...
I become entangled in any "inordinate affection";
if things or places or people hold me
back from obedience to my Lord,
then I know nothing of Calvary's love.

If...
I hold on to choices of any kind,
just because they are my choice;
if I give any room to my private likes and dislikes,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.
-- Amy Carmichael

And honestly, this is where I found myself. My heart filled with inordinate affection. Towards certain people, in holding and having my own choices, school work, just things that I'm interested. Nothing to heretical or sinful per se, but all these affections were competing with my affections for God. I wasn't exactly giving God much to work with in terms of having him as Lord of my life.

Bleh. Emotionally, I'll be honest here ... I've been a wreck. Up and down and up and down. I'm seriously the most fickle person ever. Spiritually, in some ways its been the same. I'm definitely different than I was at the beginning of the quarter. That's an answer to prayer in itself ... but gosh, it can be so hard some times. I'm sorry I'm being so vague ... I can't quite really remember or comprehend everything that has happened. I just know that I'm in a different place. I've taken the path less traveled, but its the path to glory. I want this to be an honest prayer:
"7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.-- Phillipians 3:7-11

I'm not there yet, I know that ... but I want to be there. I'm willing to go through the fire for it. I want to be radical for Jesus. Even as I type this out, I'm afraid. I'm afraid because once you decide to stand on the truth, God will always, ALWAYS test to see if you truly are standing on it. And I know I need to die to self. I know a lot of the reason why I'm not radical for Jesus is because I'm self-conscious, I'm worried about what other people might think, I'm afraid of messing up, I don't want to fail ... my pride. But I guess able to say with a little more confidence and faith that if being radical for Jesus means being a fool for Christ and being a bit "messy," then that's what I want.

A couple days ago I got an email from a brother back in the Bay Area ... a friend of his had passed away and they had been praying for God to raise her up from the dead. The girl was absolutely sold out for Christ, and they didn't believe it was her time. It appears now at this point, that it wasn't in God's will for her to be raised up ... about 50 people received Christ at her funeral, including her brothers whom she had been praying for. This following vision for her life was found in her room after her passing:

HANH�S VISION:

YOUTH THAT WILL STAND FOR GOD IN WHATEVER CIRCUMSTANCE
YOUTH THAT WILL SEEK GOD THROUGH HIS WORD, THROUGH PRAYER AND THROUGH QUITE TIME
YOUTH THAT WILL BE BOLD AND WILL REACH OUT TO THEIR LOST FRIENDS AND SPREAD THEIR FIRE FOR GOD TO EVERYONE THEY COME IN CONTACT WITH
YOUTH THAT WILL LOVE GOD BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE & STAND UP FOR THEIR BELIEFS IN SITUATIONS OF PERSECUTION

WAYS I CAN HELP TO BRING THE VISION OF THE YOUTH INTO EXISTENCE

1. DRIVE THE YOUTH TO WHEREVER THEY NEED TO GO: CHURCH, SCHOOL, STORE, MALL,
RESTAURANT,
2. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS AND TRUST GET TO KNOW THEM AND THEIR PARENTS BETTER IN ORDER
TO EARN THE RIGHT TO MINISTER THE WORD OF GOD IN THEIR LIFE
3. GET MORE FIRE FROM GOD FOR MYSELF SO THAT MY FIRE WILL SPARK FIRES AND ENABLES ME
TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS IN MY LIFE
4. LIVE BY EXAMPLE
5. SPEND SOME TIME JUST HANGING OUT WITH THE YOUTH
6. NOT ALWAYS BE SERIOUS JUST HAVE FUN

VISION FOR MY LIFE:
1. BE A LIGHT AND AN EXAMPLE TO MY BROTHER, DAD AND FAMILY
2. INVITE ALL THE NEIGHBORS TO A POTLUCK BBQ THIS SUMMER TO INTRODUCE MYSELF AND
BEGIN TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS
3. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS AND EVANGELIZE TO ALL THE NEIGHBORS AND YOUTH IN THE
NEIGHBORHOOD AND INVITE THOSE YOUTH TO YOUTH EVENTS
4. EVANGELIZE AND INVITE MY FRIENDS TO CHURCH AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
5. TRY TO MEET SOMEONE NEW AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE
6. FINISH READING THE ENTIRE BIBLE AND STUDY AND MEDITATE ON IT DAILY
7 HAVE QUITE TIME AND PRAYER WITH GOD DAILY
8. GRADUATE FROM BETHANY
9. GO ON MISSION TRIPS

I WON�T BE DENIED MY RIGHTS TO TESTIFY UNTIL ALL ARE NOTIFIED THAT JESUS CHRIST IS REAL.

When I read it, it totally cut to the core of my heart. Benson, what are you living for? And I really didn't know what to say, I felt so convicted. I went for a run and started praying. As I prayed, I asked God for faith to see his kingdom come, and to be changed so that I could start living the life he's called me to. As I'm in the season of "dying to self," man ... sometimes I wish it'd just be over faster and then I'd be okay. I realized last night listening to a sister share about some her trials ... that I find that I have secret hope that I would never get out of this season, that there just be more death, every day. Less of me and more of Him. That if I were to ever "emerge," it would be like when Jesus went into the wilderness .. guided by the Spirit .. but came out in the power of the spirit. That I would be nothing, and Jesus would be everything. I guess that you would think that the most radical heart change occurs when you receive Christ ... after that its just a gradual process of sanctification. I'm asking for more, I'm asking for a complete personality transformation, complete heart change ... something that can only happen if I encounter the living God.

I want to be ready when there is a call to arms. Revival is coming to this generation. Are you girded with the armor of God, and with your weapons of warfare? Do you have the mind of Christ, a heart after God's, and a spirit that is set apart from this world? There is going to be a spiritual battle coming that is going to be unpredecented in scale, believers will win .. and there will be a great harvest .. but ONLY. ONLY if we become hot. God cannot use a lukewarm church. Brothers and sisters we must shed our apathy, shed our complacency. Its hard to maintain that kind of tenacity 24/7 ... but as iron sharpens iron ... we must not give up meeting up together, encouraging and sharpening each other.

And I'm babblng now. I leave you with lyrics from one of the greatest bands ever.

Here I am in that old place again
Down on my face again
Crying out I want you to hear my plea
Come down and rescue me

How long will it take
How long will I have to wait?

And all I want is all you have
Come to me, rescue me,
Fall on me with your love
And all you want is all I have
Come to me, rescue me,
fall on me with your love

Sanctify I want to be set apart
Right to the very heart
Prophesy to the four winds
And breathe life to this very place

How long will it take?
How long will I have to wait?

And all I want is all you have
Come to me rescue me,
Fall on me with your love
And all you want is all I have
Come to me rescue me,
Fall on me with your love

Lifted up I've climbed with the strength I have
Right to this mountain top
Looking out the cloud's getting bigger now
It's time to get ready now

-- "Sanctify," Delirious?

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