Experiencing the Father's Heart
For those readers who like to know the point right up front like myself, the purpose of this post is to encourage anyone unto Christ by using my life on display for His glory. I want to share a bit of my past year in a broad stroke in hopes of your hope growing stronger in Jesus.
I'm trying to put into words what happened in the past year. In one year, I left the church that I served for 5 years, completed a YWAM Discipleship Training School, and made the move to Georgia after living in Queens, NY for my whole life (32 years woot). I've made justifications to try explain to myself and to others what might be happening.
"I've been done wrong, but now I'm free."
"Oh, I'm just taking time to get closer to God" (not really).
"I'll just get another job and move on. Yea, I got this."
However, all failed to give me any real peace or direction.
You know, I strangely knew what it was about but I still didn't want to submit. I knew it really meant God was calling me to greater things - and more to Himself - and that it would really mean I need to count the cost and follow. I'm talking about really following ... not just feeling good and knowing it all in our head. We're good at that. If we really mean our lofty prayers, if we really mean our closet prayers, if that God would be along with you in your journey and His character will always be good ... would you throw your whole life unto Him?
He was calling me out. I was calling myself out.
I've thought to myself, "9+ years ministry under your belt, a Masters in Divinity, and all the theology in your head...was that the win? Where's the naive, in-love Kevin willing to trust like a child and follow Jesus with untainted passion? You've settled for the comfortable. You've divided your heart, and it's under the banner of the Jesus."
According to Philippians 3, Paul considered 'everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.' I came to that same question of worth. It's really a question of worship. We can't lie to ourselves anymore. I know what my heart worships; what it puts worth into. When I was squeezed by difficult circumstances, my saviors came out. It was my ability in the tension with a loving and trustworthy Father in heaven.
My heart became exposed again in what it truly valued. I needed to be broken to be built up. My foundation was amiss. My pride was being stripped. I'm still learning to apply that everyday. We need to take up our cross and deny ourselves daily, eh? Then we are able to take up what we were meant for: intimacy with God; to love God with all our hearts and others as ourselves.
God is calling every one of us into intimacy with Him above all.
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." - John 17
Wow, that is the prayer for us 2,000-ish years later as we sit in 2017. May it be so!
I want to end with this. I was more jacked up, bitter, out-of-love for God, burnt-out, and given into temptation by the time I ended my 5 years in ministry last October 2016. I felt YWAM was beneath me because of my age and experience, but couldn't lie to myself that I was worn out. Through the encouragement of others, I reluctantly committed to the program although I had so many doubts.
January 2017, I'm now in Kansas City. Week 1's teaching was on the Father heart of God. The instructor was a man by the name of Glen Sheppard (endearingly given the title, Papa G). Papa G carried the Father's heart because he knew and experienced the Father's love for himself (obviously). He talked about the move of God during the Jesus movement on his campus - the Holy Spirit's presence and repentance so thick in that room back in the 70's. They worshipped and shared for hours; many confessing their sins in that room. As Papa G shared these stories, I felt like I was there. I felt that the Holy Spirit who met them at that time was meeting me right there in the present day. I was so stirred and moved, and at the same time so sorrowful at the state of my own heart.
At the end of that session, he wanted to pray for everyone individually. I had so many thoughts running through my mind as each person was called up one by one. I was finally called up and said to him, "I'm broken but not broken." He understood.
There was no shame. There was no condemnation.
There was God's grace manifested through Papa G.
I don't think it was solely that moment that brought clarity and healing, but a gentle guiding for me to realize day by day I am loved by a Father in heaven and I am His son. He does work for the good of those who love Him.
So dear brother and sister, how are you? I think one of the greatest joys I have is seeing people loved on by the Father, and being in fellowship with them. Rebuke those lies and drink deeply of His affection for you!
Thank you guys for reading and I hope you were truly encouraged.
Father, in Jesus' name we silence the lies. Give us the capacity by the Holy Spirit to receive your truth and love. Amen.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." - Romans 8:15