Sometimes the Lord leads me to pray some very strange prayers. I don’t fully understand the “why” behind it, but without a doubt, it’s there and I feel the need to comply. So when studying for a sermon on John 1, I felt the Lord impressing on me to pray that the church body would feel empty.
I get the privilege of meeting so many people. It’s become such a treasure to me to connect with people and learn some of their story and how the Lord is revealing himself to them. I’ve learned that when someone comes up to me in public and introduces themselves to just roll with it. I may not have met them yet, but they have met me through Grand Point. Every time it takes place I immediately go the same place you would–Stretch out my hand and say, my name is Kevin. Who are you?
You wouldn’t think that a question of just three words would produce such a difficult issue, but there it is. As it stands staring you in the face, you have to immediately come to a place where you can effectively articulate the depth of just who you are.
Typically, the answer that comes back is something predictable- I’m Kevin and I the Pastor at Grand Point Ship.
Do you see what I did?
And do you make the same fatal flaw?
You see, I’ve just tied who I am to what I do?
Why do we do that?
I wonder if it’s because we are still yet unsure of exactly who we are.
Think of it, of the last time you answered that question. The answer to who you are becomes your name and, without even having to be asked, we can launch into hours of what we do.
But what happens when what you do can no longer be done?
It rarely happens by your choice but nonetheless.
A simple accident, and the very trajectory of your life has changed because what you do can no longer be done and has become what you did.
You begin to find yourself living in the past and everything seems to be falling apart in your world because all you can think about is who you were.
In John 1, John captures the story and events around John the Baptist. He’s not rushed onto the scene, but has been working his angle for probably years up to this point. He’s gained a large following and because the climate, the culture is charged with the thought and anticipation of the pending Messiah’s arrival.
Here’s what the Author John captures about those moments:
“Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord,” ’John 1:19-23 NKJV
When it comes to the discovery of who you are, it’s really important, also, to know exactly who are you are not.
In response to their questions JTB first mentions, “I am not the Messiah.”
Can I just relieve you today from the areas where you feel you need to be the Savior!?
You don’t need to be the Savior. He’s One of a Kind and irreplaceable.
He doesn’t need your help at His saving and in fact, is there a chance that you’re just making the Saving more complicated?
When it comes to your marriage that in trouble- Let Him be the Messiah.
About that really troubled relationship you are in panic about- Let Him do the saving.
After preaching through this concept, a man came up to me and let me know that he heard the message and connected it to his troubled marriage. He left with a sense of victory now realizing that he didn’t have to be the Savior of his marriage- it was the Lord’s job to do the saving.
Who are you?
Are you mom?
Are you dad?
Are you son?
Well, what you’re not is Messiah.
You’re more than employed. You’re worth so much more than just a job you do, a role you fill and a position you occupy.
Somebody testify to this truth!
It was going to be a brief week. Being that school was going to start soon, I had some plans I wanted to do with the kids, namely get the boat back on the water, just me and them. We also had Austin’s orientation that was at a very strange time, Thursday morning for 2 hours. Because he’s making the entrance into middle school, we wanted to really take some time with him and make this transition thinking it was going to be rough/tough for him.
I was surprised when my boss texted me early on Monday saying that he needed to meet with me about something that day. Those kinds of texts always send my mind reeling with possible content.
Am I in trouble?
My wife arranges all my clothes for me as I am completely crippled when it comes to anything fashionable. You know you have a loving spouse when they do things like that.
Let me really wow you though. Not only does she arrange my clothes for me, but she also pics out sample designs put them into a picture collage and print them out for me to reference so I can feel like I do it myself.
What a wife!
So as part of this style, she started making me sport wristbands, calling them accessories. I didn’t know I needed accessories, but here we are…
Someone gave me the most amazing wristband recently. It’s literally the coolest thing ever. It has coordinates on it. They gave them to me and Crystal together and when we input the coordinates, you’ll never believe what they point to….
Around the end of the year, I always get a bit nostalgic and begin looking back over years gone by at all the Lord has led and accomplished in and around me.
I’ve pulled out several years of journals and started really looking through the mindsets I had as different years began and I’ve come across a place the Lord directed me personally that was into NOTHING.
Can I go to the bathroom?
Can I have a piece of candy?
Can we read a book?
I wondered if I could say something but I didn’t know.
Have you ever stopped and took stock with how many times we ask permission on any given day?
I love to help people.
It hasn’t always been that way. I used to be very self absorbed. Very focused on me and what I can get and how I can get ahead in this cut throat world.
I’m reading a great book right now, Spirit Rising by Jim Cymbala. He’s the Pastor of the renown, Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn, New York. His powerhouse church centers around their Tuesday evening prayer meeting that has taken place for decades and draws thousands every week as people come to seek the Lord.
How is it possible that we are already a year into this amazing story?!
I had no idea how emotional we all would get over this amazing weekend looking back over the hundreds of stories we have received since that first weekend. It’s been an amazing journey of life change in so many people’s lives and it’s all just begun.
The stories I didn’t expect to see change were much closer than I could ever have imagined! Four of our five children have all made professions of faith and have accepted Christ. Three of them have done that in the last 12 months as a result of what they are seeing and experiencing in Kids Point as well as our own parenting at home.
The closest change would be in me. I thought I had a good handle on who I was and my own relationship with Christ and then this year He put us through another crisis of faith that has again redefined our trust in this amazing God.
The wonderful thing about that is I am beginning to hear threads of those same stories resounded in so many different people.
On July 28th, which would have been one year to the day of our when Grand Point Ship had its first service, 13 people made a public step of faith and declared their relationship with Jesus through baptism. That was the most thrilling thing I’ve yet to see and be a part of with this little church that’s now becoming a toddler.
What and where the Lord will work next is astounding to me. I simply cannot wait to see and be a part of the What If goals and dreams this church thinks about for it’s future.
Vacation week and we are loving it. It has been so wonderful to just be with the family for consecutive days without interruption, no distractions or phone calls, no counseling evenings or late meetings. This is the stuff of lifelong memories.
Our kids will forever remember their first fish and jumping into the lake with uncle Kyle, cooking over the fire and so many other things.
But, at this critical time frame, work must still go on. In ministry, the work never ceases, and it’s in times like these that I am most grateful for the people the Lord is calling to help carry the load of ministry along with me. People who are deciding to bear the weight of life change because the Lord is asking them to do so. It’s in that way that ministry can continue to happen regardless of one persons presence or absence.
Over the past years, I’ve spent the majority of my focus not on preaching messages, but on identifying people to develop and in the years that I’ve been here, I’ve come up with a group of about 20 people who are committed, heart and soul. They are the go anywhere, do anything type of people who don’t know when to quit and exhibit extreme ownership on so many levels.
This week our church continues because they are committed and are owners.
Ecclesiastes 9:11, The race is not always to the swift…, our goal here with this church is not to make the most attractive church. That would be fairly easy but in the long run, totally exhausting because it would then all land on the shoulders of either 1 or 2 of those to whom the church could pay. Our goal is to make disciples who are owners and committed propagators of the gospel message. At this point, I’m not sure they all see themselves in that way, but they’re getting there and that’s what I’m praying them to.
I’ll take an extreme amount of pride in the fact that in my absence, the work moves on. I’ve taught them over the years that it’s everyone’s responsibility to build the team and essentially the church. Every one of us must take on the mentality that it’s “my” church. It’s not “his” church. It’s not “your” church, no, it’s “my” church. Because when it’s my church than it’s my responsibility. I’ve seen them do this and become owners and when they’re owners, they make the world move.