Friday, November 16, 2012

In a room, listening to God

Recently I attended a conference regarding online ministry in Dallas, Tx and had a great time learning from and hanging out with people across our country doing things for God that I am only beginning to explore at Bayside Community Church.  And as much as I valued my time there ~ I am completely confident I was there for another reason all together.  On the first night we had the opportunity to worship and hear a message by Todd Phillips, one of the teaching pastors at Lake Pointe church where the conference was held.  And he shared this “some of you thought you were coming to Texas for online ministry, but God brought you here to hear this message tonight” ~ He couldn’t have been more accurate.

For the next 30 minutes I couldn’t write fast enough as God used Todd to speak directly to me ~ about areas of my relationship with Him that I had neglected and areas I needed to emphasize immediately.  I don’t yet know the full impact of what God shared with me through Todd ~ but I have already seen the fruits in my family, in my relationships, and in my quiet time with Him.  So I decided to write some of the points down, if for no other reason but to be obedient to God, since I feel He is prompting me to do so ~ and for the 2 followers who I convinced to subscribe to my periodic ramblings :)

Todd’s primary point was the value and necessity of spending time alone with God ~ something every Christian is sure to know, even more so when you are a pastor.  But the difference in knowledge and application ~ well, we all know a lot of things that we should do, but simply don’t.  For me, spending time with God – intentional time, soul making time, time for God to speak to me and not be interrupted by my need to tell him what to do for me ~ that practice had fallen to the wayside of life.  As I was contemplating this, I felt like God was whispering to me, “What are you modeling?”

As a father, and husband ~ I have no greater responsibility than to shepherd my family well. Beyond providing a secure environment, or physical place to lay our heads ~ my greatest responsibility is the spiritual leader of my household.  I could lead thousands of people to Christ, train future pastors and leaders, and effectively change the spiritual climate of my world ~ and yet it would amount to nothing for me if I arrived in heaven without my family.  As much as I love people, and I do ~ they don’t hold a candle to my wife, and two daughters.  And I realized that I had not been modeling a life that reflected spending quality time, alone time, with God.  And I cried …

But I do that often.  I tell people all the time I am the biggest cry baby on staff at Bayside.  I cried because I had been modeling a life reflecting “works” rather than “relationship”.  I was “doing” all kinds of things for God, but I am not a Human “doing”, and I am a Human “being”.  God was and is calling me simply to “be”.  On top of that, the time I was spending with God ~ wasn’t being seen by my wife, or my kids.  I was doing it late at night, after they had all gone to bed.  In other words, it wasn’t being modeled.  And as I write this even now, God is encouraging me to be more intentional about my quiet time with Him.  I have so much more from that single night ~ in a room listening to God, through the voice of Todd Phillips.   And I’m sure future posts will be birthed, but for today this is my question for you:

What are you modeling?
Is your relationship with God public?  Are you worshiping Him in such a way that others can see you, and emulate you?  Are you being vulnerable with your family? Friends? Co-workers? So much so that they can see not only how much you love God, but also how much God loves you?  It is true that God is “always watching” – but even more importantly for me, so are my kids :)

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