17 June 2006

Late Thursday night the clerk of the Elders at 2nd Street Community Church in Newberg, Oregon called to tell me know that the flock had unanimously approved the two recommendations passed onto them by their Pastoral Search Committee and Elders that I be called to be their lead pastor-teacher. I will begin Sunday the 16th of July.

Thanks for your prayers, support, and encouragement during the past fourteen months. My last Sunday at Ogden Church is the 2nd of July. Please keep this precious flock in your prayers as they continue the search for their new lead pastor-teacher. We are all in God's hands. I thought I knew this fourteen months ago. But my family and I seriously know it now. And man, this is so good to know.

And so now seems to be a good time to post my final journaled thoughts and words on HABAKKUK 2:1-4


1 What's God going to say to my questions? I'm braced for the worst. I'll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon. I'll wait to see what God says, how he'll answer my complaint. Full of Self, but Soul-Empty.
2 And then God answered: "Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run.
3 This vision-message is a witness pointing to what's coming. It aches for the coming - it can hardly wait! And it doesn't lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It's on its way. It will come right on time.
4 "Look at that man, bloated by self-importance - full of himself but soul-empty. But the person in right standing before God through loyal and steady believing is fully alive, really alive".


In v. 1 I hear God saying that He isn't afraid of my questions, but that in fact, He loves being in conversation with me. God wants to be my rock, my tower, my strong defense. But for this relationship to happen and grow, I have to move past "self" to the place where I recognize, admit and shout out to the highest heavens that "I am nothing without Him!"

In v. 2 I hear God saying several things:
  • In a monologue there's just one person talking, and in a dialogue there are two people talking.
  • God wants to be in a back-and-forth dialogue with me.
  • God doesn't mind me crying out to Him. But after the "crying out," I need to take a "time out" … sitting and waiting, with both patience and expectancy.
  • There are specific words and insights God wants to speak to me and into me in order to bring me to change, growth, and maturity – while at the same time knocking me off my ego pedestal and loving me into wholeness.
In v. 3 I hear God reminding me that He has a vision for my life, but that if I don't cultivate a life of intentional, consistent intimacy with Him, it won't be long before I'm out of step with Him – making assumptions about what His vision is and isn't.

God has no incentive to play games with us about His will. Discovering God's vision for my life isn't like being blindfolded and spun-around-dizzy, wildly swinging at the "God's Will PiƱata," hoping-against-hope that at least one blow hits the mother load and busts it open. If that's who God is and how He operates, then take me off the guest list.

Instead, receiving God's vision for my life is about God and I talking, God and I partnering, God and I trusting each another more and more, God and I walking together with great hope that when the time is right not only will the vision be unfolded, but that it will become the very thing I've been dreaming of and desiring.

In v. 4 I'm learning that I want to be God-loyal, not self-important. I want to be fully-alive, not soul-empty. God, teach me to be this kind of man, raised up and matured by Your WORD, not bloated by the sins of my flesh, the lies of my ego, or the illusions of "success" as defined by the world.

God, thank You for the new ways You've been teaching me through Your WORD. Habakkuk's name means "embrace" and I've really felt "embraced" by Your words in these four verses. In a lot of ways Habakkuk's words remind me of what Paul said in PHILIPPIANS 3:12

I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Living life with a commitment to become loyal and steady … those are two adjectives I want to describe my life, my faith, and my decisions. Embrace me God. I long for Your embrace. Godspeed.



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