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QTMs for 1/20/15: ODD MAN IN

Posted by on January 20, 2015

“YOU’RE ALL I WANT–  YOU’RE ALL I’VE EVER NEEDED–  YOU’RE ALL I WANT–  HELP ME KNOW YOU ARE NEAR.”

That didn’t come off American Idol, although it is a love song.

In any environment and relating to any subject, determine where everybody else is going then step aside and get out of their way.  The crowd is almost always wrong.

Coffee - Coffee & Prayer2

Popular movements are such because we like ‘popular’.  Humans are like that.  It’s fun to be part of ‘The Group’, as in, “we are this or that or t’other thing”.  There’s comfort and relative anonymity in ‘we’s.’

‘WE’ is almost always synthetically brave.

‘I’ is almost always authentically courageous.

Witness the oozing, putrifying pus of mob mentality surrounding either laws or their application as regards recent events in our own country.

  • Who in their right mind helps destroy their own neighborhood, schools, and local businesses run by people they know and who likely have given them all jobs?

‘WE’ do.  “They can’t catch or arrest US ALL.”

‘I’ stands alone outside with a baseball bat or a shotgun, guarding someone else’s property and business.

There’s a big difference between the way WE and I thinks

WE says, “Man, WE supported you losers for nothing!”

‘I’ says, ” ‘S on me.  I should’ve had that onside kick.”

Chase.  Cue the music.

It’s easy to get caught up in the emotional jolt and swell of what we call worship.  “WE are really worshiping, aren’t we?”  That remains to be seen.  I believe though we draw strength and energy from each other, I’m not worshiping until I’ve plugged my USB cord directly into the energy outflow of God, through His Holy Spirit.  That’s United in Spirit and Body.

Until I personally have done that, I could be standing smack in the middle of row 5 of Hillsong during a rousing, hand-clappin’, shoulder-shakin’, foot-shufflin’ anthem of praise and be still mulling over why that safety never played the receiver closer . . .  Rats – I don’t think I took the garbage outside . . .  ink refills . . .  Wonder if he knows how goofy he looks in that old Nehru jacket . . .  Hey, Ace–friends don’t let friends clap on 1 and 3!  C’maaaaan . . .

Yet later if you asked me if WE have worshiped?  “YOU BETCHA!  Was God WITH us t’day or WHAT?  Ah MEEEN!” (That’s a nod to my Southern brothers and sisters.  They taught me how to emphasize by saying, “I mean!”  It jes’ don’t sayownd thetaway.  Goan back up ‘eren read what ah said agin.)

Now, get me in a quiet moment and ask me, “Did YOU worship today?  Was YOUR heart connected to that of God?  Could YOU feel the storm-surge of the Holy Spirit’s personal presence in and through YOU?”

Different answer.  Drop head, hands in pockets, scuff toe in carpet.

“Nah.  Not really.  I packed in so much emotional and professional baggage from the week that there wasn’t much room for God or, well, anyone else for that matter.”

   “Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ.  Do that and you’ll kill two birds with one stone:  pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you . . . .   Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others.  You’re fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent.  But if you’re not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe–some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them–then you know that you’re out of line.  If the way you live isn’t con-sistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong. [Romans 14:18-23]

There isn’t a group rate for Heaven.  It’s super to experience corporate worship with fellow believers:  there’s nothing like it.  And that experience draws its energy, its zap and snap and sizzle from every individual there bringing HIS story, HER journey and adding them to those already present.

Know why God answered that Acts 2 prayer meeting the way He did?  Those folks did something the old-timers called ‘praying through’.  They stayed put and just kept praying through

  • personal underbrush, distractions that kept them from clearly focusing on God
  • confusion and fear and turmoil because of nonChristian intimidation
  • obstacles to full, intentional forever surrender to Christ’s Lordship

They may have started out praying ‘together’.  Then, as the hours wore on, they began dropping out, burying their faces and baring their hearts, minds and spirits – individually – moving from ‘WE’ to ‘I’.  Those Christians understood:  for ‘WE’ to pack a real punch in our world, there had better first be a laser-focused ‘I’ directed straight at God — wanting what He wants, when He wants it.

Takes time.  Doesn’t happen between commercials or in the time it takes to refresh Facebook.

I don’t mind being part of a crowd that’s going the right direction.  In fact, it’s the only way I’ll intentionally join with any group.

I personally and individually want to be living as Romans 14 directs.  Drawing others in the right direction through a caring, winsome example works so much better than trying to herd or drive them where they may have no interest nor see any reason in going.


 

Where growing your faith muscles are concerned, ‘WE’ doesn’t cut it.  You don’t build spiritual muscle on someone else’s workout.


 

Caught yourself lately letting your quiet time slide while holding onto way too much of life’s baggage?  It messes with your worship, doesn’t it?  I’ve done it, too.  At least all the plastic Walmart bags I stuffed it in sort of matched.  Well, except for where I’d patched them with duct tape . . .

Where growing your faith muscles are concerned, ‘WE’ doesn’t cut it.  You don’t build spiritual muscle on someone else’s workout.

Suggestion?  There’s a spot ri-i-ight over there where you can deposit your armload of torn and patched-up Walmart bags full of whatever you thought was important enough to cart around with you.  Leave ’em there.  God already knows what’s in them, anyway.  And you know:  most of the time I found that what I had mine crammed with was stuff over which I had zero control.

Then come on over here.  Let me pour you a 2nd cup and I’ll quietly leave you and God alone.  Start your ‘I’ time with Him by telling him this, out loud:

Draw me close to You . . . No-no, it’s okay.  He’s listening.

Draw me close to You, never let me go

I lay it all down again, to  hear You say that I’m Your friend

You are my desire – and no one else will do

‘Cause nothing else can take Your place, to feel the warmth of Your embrace.  Help me find a way:  Bring me back to You

YOU’RE ALL I WANT; YOU’RE ALL I’VE EVER NEEDED

YOU’RE ALL I WANT; HELP ME KNOW YOU ARE NEAR

If you know the song, it’s fantastic to sing it to God.  Once you’re done, then go ahead and take some time to step away from the ‘WE’ mentality that’s so often shallow and emotion-deep.  Get closer to the One who knows you best and loves you most.

You’ll find He’s not there to ridicule, criticize or berate.  God’s always there to strengthen and give help and clarity.  Yet He’s infinitely patient, and will wait a lifetime if that’s what it takes for you to step away from ‘WE’think to the freeing, empowering individualized personal relationship with Him that always-always-always signals your growing has begun again.

The good news?  That can happen whenever you are ready!

© D. Dean Boone, January 2015

 

 

 

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