God’s Pursuit, My Brokenness

I remember our church plant experience from 2007-2010 very well.  I also remember going to a church planting conference and hearing Matt Chandler speak.  He said something very interesting.  He basically said God was more concerned about what He wanted to do in us than what He wanted to do through us.  He continued by saying that God would use the church plant we were starting to demonstrate this very thing inside our hearts.

I had no idea what he meant at the time, but I certainly do now.

A very wise man that I know once told me that no one walks with God closely that doesn’t walk with a limp.

This is precisely what happens in Genesis 32.  Jacob wants to follow God, but God knows He needs to wrestle with Jacob first so Jacob can experience some brokenness.  After wrestling with God, Jacob was never the same.  His name was changed to Israel, and he walked with a limp.

I wrestled with God during our church plant experience.  We watched the thing start to take off, only to collapse.  As I shared in a recent blog, it was 5 months after this that our son Caleb died.  What a wrestling match I was experiencing during 2009-2010!

I finally figured out what Matt Chandler was trying to say at that conference.  God did a work inside my heart, inside my family’s heart during that time.  I walked away from that time forever changed.  I did not know the arrogance and pride and self-reliance I walked with prior to 2007, but God used that time to humble me and cause me to trust Him more deeply.

Like I said, I am forever changed, but I walk with a limp.  There are still scars I carry from our church plant experience and from losing Caleb.  I can tell you this.  Every time those scars resurface, I am forced and reminded to rely on the Lord.

May we be willing to let God pursue us, even if it means some brokenness along the way!

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Sound the Alarm Again

Tomorrow night I will have the privilege of getting to talk to parents at Grace Prep in Arlington.  We will be addressing issues like self harm and bullying.  I will not specifically be addressing these topics.  I will get the opportunity to share what it means to spiritually invest in our children.  I thought I would use this blog to share the five ways God has led us to spiritually invest in our kids.

In Deuteronomy 6, God tells us we are to love Him with all of us, and He tells us we are to model this for our children.  Writing about the following things is intended to give praise and glory to God, as well as help other families think through Deuteronomy 6 for themselves.  We are not saying all families should do what we are doing.  We are simply telling you how God has led us to model “loving Him” for our children.   Here are the five ways we try to do that in our home, in no particular order.

1. Live a life of obedience (God has called us to be a home that has many children.  One of the reasons for this is because we believe the greatest impact we can make on the kingdom is in our home.  As I shared in a recent blog this is what motivated me to have a vasectomy reversal.  One of the things God used to help in that regard was this you tube video on muslim demographics.  God has also called us to be a home that speaks out against internet pornography.  Both of these things God has called us to can be hard at times and requires sacrifice.  To model Deuteronomy 6 for our children we must obey God no matter the cost.)

2. Live a life of faith (As I mentioned before, God has called us to a ministry of speaking out against internet pornography as I mentor and disciple young men and students.  In this ministry we raise financial support.  Obviously, this requires faith.  Having multiple children and raising money to live on only increases our need for faith.  In addition to this, we believe God has called us to pursue adoption.  So far all doors we have pursued have been closed, but we by faith continue to pursue the adoption process until God tells us to stop.)

3. Model giving financially and give our children the same opportunity (Kelly and I have a set percentage we want to give away every month.  We want to give it to places that help the poor and spread the gospel.  We challenged our kids to do the same.  Currently, they support a compassion child every month, using mostly their own money. They also write to this child on a consistent basis.)

4. Model serving and give our children the same opportunity (We take our kids to Mission Arlington from time to time.  This is great for us and great for them as we serve our city along side a fabulous organization.)

5. One on One time in the Word, Father to Child (At least twice a month I meet with our children individually and go through the Word with them.  They get to pick which book they want to study.  We discuss it, let them ask questions and talk about how it applies to our lives.)

I write this blog and ask you to pray for tomorrow night.  I also write it to challenge you.  We did not always do those five things with our children.  I had a friend who really challenged me to teach the Word of God to my kids so I implemented that in my life.  I had another friend who challenged me on the idea of increasing our faith.  I remember when God’s Word convicted my heart about giving generously to impact His Kingdom.  I think you get the point.  I share these things with you because they were shared with me.

I don’t know how God wants to speak to your heart, but my hope and prayer is that you and I are challenged to love God with all of us and that we would in turn model this for our children!