Category Archives: God Thoughts

The Man of Sorrows

A beautiful text about Jesus. Written 600 years before his birth by the prophet Isaiah.

1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4 Surely he took up our pain
   and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
   and made intercession for the transgressors.

The Will to Walk

As we emphasize different things in leadership, business or ministry I’ve realized that there is always a downside to the emphasized good thing.

I see this in churches that emphasize intimacy with God and churches that emphasize the sovereignty of God. You get two extreme sides of two real truths about who God is but in the emphasis there can often be an interesting reaction. God is so big in his nature and character that when we communicate specific truths (good truths!) sometimes it’s interesting to watch how those are taken and lived out, especially by young people.

What I hear most at The Mvmnt from our students seeking counsel is not Christian guilt like it was in my youth group, it’s not extreme sin struggles, feeling unworthy of his love, nor is it lack of faith in God’s existence.  The biggest struggle we hear from our students is their feeling that God isn’t present in their life like they would like him to be. They want him to take away their wrong desires and he doesn’t, they want him to make them feel goosebumps or emotional during worship and he doesn’t, they want to hear him speak audibly or they want to see a vision and when he doesn’t they feel upset or cheated. I hear at least a few times a week “I’m doing everything I can but it just doesn’t feel like God is there”. They don’t doubt God is real; instead, they get frustrated because they know he’s real and they can’t figure out why they aren’t feeling more of him. I love this.

I love this because it points to what we emphasize and I believe in what we emphasize. We preach, teach, worship, counsel and sometimes even scream the reality that God wants to be involved in their life. Anyone who has been to The Mvmnt will hear over and over again from the platform, at the alter, in the salvation room, during prayer, or in times of counsel “God sees you and God wants you”.

Simply put we emphasize a relationship with God. And because we communicate so strongly Gods desire for their heart and life in turn they treat their relationship with God accordingly. And if we all remember back to high school relationships they can be quite volatile. I used to worry for them and petition God to do what they want him to do so they don’t lose heart. We would communicate over and over again about the danger of depending on feelings in our walk with God and yet it was still just a real struggle among our kids.

I don’t get upset anymore and I no longer feel the need to beg God to do something big and emo for them. Instead, I’m pleased that they have a sometimes volatile relationship with God because that’s what a REAL relationship is for them. They love, they hate, they experience, they forget, they ignore and then they obsess. Although it points to immaturity in their walk what I love is that it’s real. They are just walking through life with a God that doesn’t always make sense and they are learning to trust that. And although He might not be doing things that they want him to they keep coming back because he’s doing exactly what he should be doing. Drawing them steadfastly (not emotionally) and teaching them along the way. It’s truly beautiful to watch.

 He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs—to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best.  He cannot “tempt” to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

– An excerpt from CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters: Letters from a senior demon to a junior “tempter”.

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