Isaiah 58 – First, A Stirring Within #2

Posted: September 1, 2011 in Isaiah 58

It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passion, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace. Andre Gide

What has been stopping me from absolute lavish abandon to God?

She said, “I need to know. I’m desperate to figure it out.” my words exactly!

So, she asked Pastor Matthew—a man who lives this lavish abandon, “Aren’t you afraid sometimes? You run a facility where you have to raise half-million dollars a month—a MONTH! Do you walk around with the weight of that on you all the time?”

And his answer cracked her heart wide open. “No. When you experience God the way I’ve been experiencing God for 17 years, you stop being afraid. I’ve seen too many miracles.”

Oh. Tears. The woman who doesn’t cry was flooded with a crack in the dam of her soul.

That. Is. It. Pastor Matthew lives my key verse from Isaiah 58:10. He spends himself in behalf of the hungry and oppressed. And honest to goodness I’ve never seen someone so happy, so positive, so on fire for the things of God. Like my verse, his light rises in the darkness. He sees the miracles therefore he dares to be part of them.

she says, “i can’t say the same about myself and I’m challenged by this. I’ve stopped positioning my life for miracles. In an effort to never make God look bad, I’ve sought only that which I can carefully measure and predict and manipulate into being.”

God, help me.

i hear what she is saying. When you experience God the way I’ve been experiencing God for over 30 years, unfortunately not consistently, i have stopped being afraid as well. I’ve seen too many miracles. But seeing the miracles does not do it for me. i have always thought that seeing the miracles was for the unbeliever, and i am not an unbeliever. i love seeing miracles but in this case they don’t cut it for me. For the past five years every month is a miracle and our needed number is much less, but non the less a miracle in my eyes. But not being afraid, while it does bring peace, has not answered the yearning of my heart in the same way it has for Pastor Matthew Barnett and the woman sharing her story.

Why not? Wasn’t that the reason God directed me to the story? Wasn’t He responding to my cry? Perhaps it was a beginning as i did find some direction as i dug deeper into the story of Isaiah 58. As i mentioned i have been part of a prayer center for the past five years. It also includes a campus of 9 churches and around 12 other ministries or community groups. It has a nice sound and could tickle my ears if i let it. Oh it’s a good thing and God is not against it, but it should not be needed with a church on every corner and with 97% of Americans claiming to believe. Understand that the 97% includes all types of religions and for this moment i am okay with that as i am not aware of any religion that excludes prayer. In fact many make it more foundational than i see in Christianity. We are pretty casual about it as we are with most things unless they affect us immediately and drastically.

Onething is what i do, and somehow has slipped out of who i “be.” It was supposed to be about prayer and God calling me to become a man of prayer and yet now i sense that it is anything but. i am not any more a man of prayer than say… two years ago. i am struggling to find my way, but back is not where i want to go. Why would anyone want to go back to Egypt? And i surely do not want to die wandering in the wilderness for my remaining years. Onething does not have 120 outreach programs. Onething does not have 700 rooms for people, not even 700 people to pray in our 5 years combined. Onething is a quiet room which is dedicated to allowing God to bring those that He desires to a place for conversation with Him. No big fan fare, no incredible results by the world’s standard, Onething just “is” and that’s somewhat okay. i admit when i read this story and hear what others are doing i sometimes wish i were a part of something bigger, but then i remember that i have been and i left that for this. This story caused a stirring within and i am going to find out what that stirring is about. So as i tell others that it is not my job to have their answers… it is only my job to stir them up to find their own answers, this woman, and Matthew Barnett have done their job in stirring me up to look for my own answer in Isaiah 58.

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