Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wanting to Want

Have you ever heard someone say they are praying for "the want to want to _____?" No, that's not a typo. To help clarify, the person praying is essentially saying, "God, I don't want to ____, but I want to want to _______. Please give me the desire to ______." Some examples for filling in the blanks could be "read my Bible," "pray more," "give my time," "be responsible with my money," and the list goes on and on.

Here's what I like about this prayer: it's honest. Too many of us say we want to read our Bibles more, pray more, do more, lose weight, etc. when the truth is we know we should want to do those things, but what we really want to do is watch another episode of our favorite show, buy that cute new outfit or make a batch of cookies so we can eat a bunch of dough in the process (not that I'm speaking personally here or anything). I respect the person who is being honest enough with themselves and with God to know their wants are so out of whack that before God can work with them on changing behavior, they need to start with an attitude adjustment.

Here's what I don't like about this prayer: it's weak and, at times, it's a cop out. We can spend years praying that we wake up one morning with nothing in mind to do but read our Bibles and then never get around to doing it because the magical transformation didn't take place. At some point, we have to acknowledge that our will is weak and our sinful nature consistently keeps us from wanting to do the right thing instead we have to choose to do the right thing. Usually once we begin choosing to do the right thing, we begin to reap the benefits of doing the right thing, we build a healthy habit and one day, without even realizing it we discover that we actually want to do the thing we're doing.

Case in point, exercise. No one goes from a long period with no exercise to a place of "I really want to sweat, get sore and change my eating habits." However, if we can choose to pursue the path toward physical health, eventually it gets easier and even enjoyable as we discover that along w/ exercise comes increased energy, a healthy glow and the ability to wear those cute pants that we thought we would never introduce into our wardrobe again.

And so, stop lying to yourself about what you want to do and start choosing to do the right things that you're convinced a better version of yourself would want to do.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Eight months ago I would have confessed that I am a very selfish person. I spent more time in any given day thinking about my agenda than that of others. Now, not to simply make myself feel better, but I should add that I think that's true of just about everyone. From the time Adam and Eve took the apple and ate it, the selfish nature of humanity took hold and leaves us today standing in the need of God's grace and salvation in Jesus Christ.

However, eight months ago I had a baby and I can now honestly say that the majority of my thoughts in any given day regard his welfare, his needs and his well-being. If I'm hungry and he's hungry, guess who eats first? If I'm hot and he's cold, guess which way the thermostat gets turned? I'm not bragging about this because this realization actually leads me to today's confession...

I spend more time caring for/praying for/thinking about/adoring Jacob than I do Clark, and lately I've been very convicted on this point. Don't misread me - I shouldn't be spending any less time caring for Jacob, simply a lot more time caring for Clark.

The love of a parent for a child is unmatched in this world (and yet it only scratches the surface of God's love for us - another post for another day), yet Scripture teaches us that husbands and wives should love and honor each other as Christ loved the church and gave His life for it. And not only that, we're taught and I think society consistently proves that we are the best parents to our children when we are loving our spouses well and constantly strengthening our marriages. In other words, I am a better mother to Jacob when I am a good wife to Clark. Why? I'm teaching him to consciously put the wants and needs of someone else ahead of my own. I'm demonstrating for him the kind of Godly wife I hope he one day looks for and marries. I'm showing him what it means to serve and be selfless. I'm living out obedience to God's commands.

I have work to do to be the best wife God wants me to be for Clark - the key word being work. But it's work that I want to do for Clark, for me, for Jacob and for the One who is love and has given me love that I might share it with others.

God, please forgive my selfish heart. Give me eyes to see the people you've graciously placed in my life, and please give me a heart to love them as you do.

Husband and Wives - are you praying for your spouse? Are you giving your spouse the best of you or what's left over after you get home from work and put the kids to bed? Wives, are you admiring the man who has captivated your heart or neglecting him and rationalizing your neglect as care for your kids?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Let's Talk About Sex...

See, that got your attention. Ya'll thought I had disappeared from the blogosphere so I thought I needed to come back with a splash.

Actually, I'm not all that comfortable talking about sex. I'm not even all that comfortable talking with people who are comfortable talking about sex, but this is no excuse. It's important. The Bible talks about it - a lot. And it's incredibly relevant to our walk with God. And so, while I continue to muster the courage, I want to point everyone to someone who I believe God has uniquely gifted to speak with utter honesty and forwardness about everything - Perry Noble. I'll warn you that Perry holds nothing back and he can be offensive, but like I said, I think he's sincerely living the call and the role God has given him for the Church today. And let's face it, sometimes the gospel is offensive to those of us living with sin in our lives.

This morning I listened to Perry's sermon "Five Lies of the Devil, Part 5 - It's Just Sex". It's an incredible message and an important message, especially for married and soon-to-be married couples. You can find the message under the Newspring podcast on iTunes or at the Newspring website. I encourage you to listen to this message with your spouse and then take the time to ask each other the questions Perry gives as conversation starters.

Bottom line - marriage is hard. God wants your marriage to be beautiful. It takes work and it takes including God in your marriage. We can't keep avoiding the difficult conversations. Let's talk about it.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Crazy Love

I started reading the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan this week (it's incredible - I'm only one chapter in and I'm going to go ahead and highly recommend it - this is one of those books you do not want to miss).

Anyway, among the many convicting things he wrote in the first chapter, Chan pointed out that we were created for God and not the other way around. It seems obvious. It's something we could all agree to, but it's almost never how we live and how we approach God. Instead, we have this mentality that says God was created to meet our needs, give us life, heal our family members, bless us, listen to us, etc., etc.

Chan reminds us of Psalm 115:3 where it says, "Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him." And then he says, "Yet we keep on questioning Him: 'Why did You make me with this body, instead of that one?' 'Why are so many people dying of starvation?' 'Why are there so many planets with nothing living on them?' 'Why is my family so messed up?' Why don't You make Yourself more obvious to the people who need You?' The answer to each of these questions is simply this: because He's God. He has more of a right to ask us why so many people are starving. As much as we want God to explain himself to us, His creation, we are in no place to demand that He give an account to us."

How true this is? It hit me hard. I spend a lot more time asking God to bend himself to my needs and circumstances than I do inclining myself toward God. I want God to give an account for human suffering instead of doing my part to alleviate it.

God is God. Period. End of story. We belong to God. We live and move and have our being for the glory of God. It's arrogant to think we matter more than God, and yet God goes out of his way to move time and space on our behalf.

I used to think it was strange for God to ask us to worship Him. It seemed arrogant and presumptuous to be the one in charge and then ask everyone else to bow down. But the reverse is actually true. It's arrogant to think we matter more than God, and yet God goes out of His way to move time and space on our behalf.

God is worthy of all the worship we can give. He's worthy of our loyalty, our admiration, our adoration, our thanks, our time, our money, our attention - you name it, God deserves it.

Come join us for worship at Ashley Ridge High School this Sunday at 10am. And, if you can't make it to ARC, worship wherever you happen to be. Nothing else you have going on is more important than worshiping God.