Month: March 2012

The Offensive Strategy of Surrender

It is true that having a good, strong defense comes by having a strong offense. For a follower and diciple of Christ the strongest offense you could have is one of surrender. Its one of the many paradoxes that we walk in as Christians. We are strong only as we realize our weakness and surrender to God. I want to share a personal experience I had last week, with “surrender.”

Last week was challenging because there was so much going on. It was spring break and my kids were home, also my wife is a teacher so she was ready for some quality time and relaxation. I still had to prepare for worship that week. I was having some trouble concentrating with all that was happening.  So I prayed and meditated at the beginning of the week and simply asked God how He wanted to be worshiped.  In those quiet moments He kept speaking to me, the word “surrender.” It was hard to do especially when that same week my old house decided to cause additional problems for me. My thoughts were also occupied with tasks leading up to our public church launch on Easter.  The passive nature of just surrendering just didnt seem to be the answer I was looking for.

That Wednesday night, God did confirm that in the midst of all that was going on, I was to be in a place of surrender. We were invited to a local church that evening so that our home fellowship could receive prayer and be commissioned to plant a church in the surrounding community. During the service we were given a unique opportunity to bring our burdens to the cross of Christ and once again take up His yoke. The rest of the week, God continued to bring me confirmation through songs for our worship service that would ring out the theme of surrender. On Saturday, our church worship team was invited to lead worship at another local church. During practice leading up to the service, God gave me another beautiful picture of surrender as He showed me a vision of a pair of hands, full and weighed down carrying the burdens of this life. Then I saw those hands and arms being emptyied of those cares and worries, giving them over to the cross of Christ. At that point those hands were light and free, ready to reach towards heaven to offer up worship to our Heavenly Father!

Surrender is something that is easier said than done. The world we live in is full of band-aid solutions and quick easy temporary fixes.  Those kinds of choices deceive us into thinking we have real control over life. When those temporary solutions no longer hold and things begin to spin out of control, we don’t turn to surrender by the offensive definition but rather we just give up. We wave the white flag and throw in the towel. That is not the kind of surrender Christ is calling us to. Sunday evening at our home church fellowship, the prayer time was amazing and God once again confirmed what He had been speaking to me all week. In our time of prayer, silently to myself I asked God, “Ok, I surrender but now what? What am I supposed to do in that surrender?” At that very moment a prophetic word from the Lord was spoken directly to me from someone in our church family. The message was to “stand!- and raise up your shield!” Not fully knowing how to raise my metaphorical shield, I was still encouraged and overwhelmed by what was said.  As I raised my emptied, surrender hands in praise to a holy and patient all knowing God, He spoke to my heart and said, “you have just raised your shield.” Suddenly all that He was trying to teach me that week about surrender made sense and it all came full circle. Not knowing how to surrender I went to God- not knowing that in itself was surrender and my concern for all that needed to be cared for was being held in the hand of God when I emptied my hands to worship Him.

Don’t be busy trying to build up a defense to protect your perceived control over your problems. Give in to the Lords love for you today and know that He can better care for your hearts burdens if you place it in His hands. Let the God of Heaven be the guardian of your heart today!


The Patient Worshiper

I have never been very good at waiting. I have this horrible tick, when I get anxious I tap my leg up and down uncontrollably. Its a total give away that I am bothered by something or nervous. In conflict and in unsettling times it is even more difficult to be patient. My tendency is to try and fix something if its broken. If I cant fix it then I am a mess just thinking about it. In spite of all that, some how the grace of God reaches out to me and says, “peace- be still”. Patience is a learned art refined in fires and trials of this life. The place we go to learn from the master of “patiently waiting” is in the presence of God. If you are a Christian desiring to example and follow the life of Christ then you become a student of patient living under professor Jesus.

We all have loved ones we want to see come to the saving knowledge and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That comes through patient prayer for those individuals. To accept the outcome of an illness either through healing or endured suffering can only be reached by patiently waiting on the Holy Spirit. You find rest when you wait for God to reveal His will in that situation whether you endure suffering a bit longer or you receive complete healing. In those painful moments of waiting, whatever the result, God’s grace will overcome and He will show Himself to be all you need [2 Cor 12:9]. There are situations at our jobs that need to be trusted to the Lord. Maybe you are still waiting on a promotion or possibly having to endure a difficult boss [Rom 13:4]. There is practiced patience in waiting for relief in a financial crisis.  Blessings come when you continue to be a faithful steward over your finances and possessions. In our marriages we can not expect the beautiful harmony of perfect communication and unmerited love to happen overnight. Both spouses hearts are changed and strengthened over time, through the refining fires of patience. In the mysterious union of becoming one, we patiently must give our spouse over to the Lord. There we will find closure, healing for past hurts and a bond that can never be broken by this world. Trust begins to form through patient endurance in difficult relationships. Only through patient prayer and waiting on the Holy Spirit will you receive guidance, revelation and endurance  to overcome obstacles and finish the race [Phil 2:16].

Patience is a difficult topic because it means setting aside our desired outcome for the moment and relinquishing our perceived control. Patience is something that we all need in every facet of life;  job, home, kids, church, relationship and even corporate worship. Worship in the setting of the gathered body of believers is a great place to begin that study of patience. I love strumming out just a couple of chords on my acoustic, waiting on God and the Holy Spirit to move. Maybe He will give someone a word of truth that will free them from bondage and set them on a path of everlasting life.  Maybe waiting just one more minute in that quite, meditative place, God will answer someones prayer through spoken prophetic word. We could be witnesses to someones healing in that moment of perfect rest. Better yet, we could all be struck by the manifestation of Gods presence among us and be laid face-down in reverent awe! If and when those things happen it would be because we paused and set ourselves in a posture of expectant (non-anxious) calm waiting. Learning to be that kind of “patient worshiper” will eventually translate into to our everyday lives!

“For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:30 /NLT