Monday, September 25, 2006

Building Bridges

Today, Oswald says..."Our Lord’s teaching can be summed up in this: the relationship that He demands for us is an impossible one unless He has done a super-natural work in us. Jesus Christ demands that His disciple does not allow even the slightest trace of resentment in his heart when faced with tyranny and injustice. No amount of enthusiasm will ever stand up to the strain that Jesus Christ will put upon His servant. Only one thing will bear the strain, and that is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ Himself— a relationship that has been examined, purified, and tested until only one purpose remains and I can truly say, "I am here for God to send me where He will." Everything else may become blurred, but this relationship with Jesus Christ must never be." So true. It cannot happen other than through His supernatural power. Enthusiasm alone won't do it, someone else calling you (besides the divine call of God) won't do it, nothing else will do. I have learned that everything flows from my personal relationship with Him, and the moment I begin to rely on natural means, or begin to feel it depends on people - everything falls apart.

When you have a clear vision from God, and a drive to reach that vision, and a passion for excellence, I have learned it can also be a one way ticket for disappointment if you put all of your eggs into the people basket. But when I put all my eggs into the God-basket and look at the people as the extras that decorate the basket then I'm alright. It all comes down to -- there's nothing like Him. And you'll never get from people, what you get from Him.

The longer I am in ministry the longer I see that people see words as just that - mere words, and not a covenant. Promising something is dependent upon their circumstances, not upon their absolute word. Bad circumstances? Unique situations? Perhaps. Maybe they are in a terrible fix. Somebody completely messed me up this week...they had given me their absolute word on something that quite honestly really costs me (or should I say my ministry area) a whole lot. But now that they are in a fix, they think it means that word is somehow absolved, that it doesn't matter. I think what hurt the most is - they weren't even sorry for it. They just looked at it like breaking their word should be completely understandable under the circumstances. I have to say, because I've never lived that way... I don't understand. I guess we as individuals look at things different based on what our weaknesses are. I have many weaknesses...many. But one of them has never been breaking my word or my commitments. So with those who do, it's quite honestly very puzzling to me. 

When somebody reneges on something I don't understand it because I would go to the wall...move heaven and earth...jump off a cliff if that's what it took to keep my word. Growing up I would have gotten my butt beaten from here to Japan if I would have backed out on a commitment to something. It was just ingrained in me: be faithful. Keep your commitments. Be where you say you'll be. Pay what you say you'll pay. Do what you say you'll do. Be responsible. My responsibilities and commitments are ever before me. I wake up thinking about them and go to sleep thinking about them. So how do some people live so differently without it eating them alive? How do they walk around so casually like it's okay? 
Matthew 24:35 says, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." It is THE ONLY WORD we can be sure of. Oswald is right...the only way one can bear the strain of 99% of what goes on in our Christian life is to have His supernatural power at work within us, and let it go...and be free. I know I can't be resentful over things like this. It's fresh in my mind right now and I'm still dealing with it, but I need to "build a bridge and get over it!" I think pastors basically double as general contractors. We are forever building bridges. And sometimes we get tired. I'm tired but I thank God I have some great general contractors beside me to encourage and help. God is so good.

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