Praying this morning for our new president, Donald Trump, and for the Congress. Pray they work together to make America a better place for all American. United We Stand, Divided We Fall. There is no division by ethnicity on the battlefield. WE ARE AMERICANS! Let’s all stand TOGETHER for our fundamental freedoms and rights: The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Sometimes we must take an inward look to change our outward perspective. The Bible instructs us to examine ourselves through the lens of God’s word and in unity with his Spirit. It’s easy to do what we’ve always done. But doing what we’ve always done can become routine. And, let’s face it, routine is boring.
The Spirit-filled (led) life is far from boring. Look at Jesus. He was driven into the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted of the Devil. That’s not boring. As he walked from town to town, Jesus was interrupted by Pharisees wanting to question him, by the sick desiring healing, by the demon-possessed needing deliverance, and by the hungry needing food, needing more of God. Not boring.
Jesus got his hands and feet dirty. Jesus didn’t insulate himself from the messiness of this world. He didn’t mind dealing with messy people. That’s what his ministry was all about. Our Great Physician said, “It’s the sick who need the doctor.”
If you sense your Christian experience is becoming a little routine, a little mundane, take an inward look and ask God to help you break out of the ordinary and begin to live an extraordinary life for Him.
In Move Toward the Mess, a new book by John Hambrick who serves in leadership at the Buckhead Campus of North Point Community Church, challenges his readers to catch a fresh vision for God. He leads his reader to examine every aspect of their Christianity. He demonstrates the necessity to look closely at how we do church, what motivates us, where we see Jesus working and where we don’t see Jesus working.
Move Toward the Mess, a phrase coined by John Hambrick, opens the curtain that veils our eyes from seeing Jesus moving amidst messy lives. It is our judgmental views and prejudices that block us from becoming tools of grace in God’s hands.
“It took me a long time to realize that grace was more important than my observations about someone else’s life” (John Hambrick, Page 44).
John Hambrick reminds us God so loved the world, he moved toward the mess by sending his son to live among us and die for us. He didn’t draw back in judgement, but moved toward us in grace.
Move Toward the Mess gives us examples of modern-day disciples making a difference for Jesus, by not getting bogged down in routine church-ianity, but by moving in faith. Some minister in Africa; some leave corporate jobs to house the homeless; some start pulling prostitutes off the street. The point is, we shouldn’t be afraid of what God may ask. When we listen to his call, no matter how messy the circumstances, he meets us there. Living a Spirit-led life will never be boring and, through the mess, we find purpose and fulfillment.
“Moving toward the mess is not about leaving your job or staying at your job. It’s about being able to articulate how your life is connected to what God is doing in the world” (John Hambrick, page 166).
Move Toward the Mess is about following Jesus out into the fields of this world and building his kingdom one messy soul at a time.
This book is challenging to the comfortable. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the mess I was in when some gracious soul helped me and pointed me to Jesus. I don’t agree with every word of Move Toward the Mess, but I do agree with the heart of its message which I shared in this review.
This book is a great book for those who are bored with their Christianity and are seeking ways to better impact this world for Jesus.
***I’m pleased to announce that Created to Climb Ministries will be hosting a guest post by John Hambrick. We will also be giving away one free copy of Move Toward the Mess. Be sure and watch for the announcements. ***
“All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him. I will get up now and go about the city, through its streets and squares; I will search for the one my heart loves” SOS 3:1-2 (NIV).
Two and half years ago, I stepped on a plane headed for Fortaleza, Brazil. The inner-city is held hostage by drugs, crime and poverty. The trip reached far outside my comfort zone. But I went with a purpose. That purpose was to make a difference for Jesus.
My heart has been burdened for quite a while with the idea that time is short. Jesus is coming soon and I need to “be about my father’s business.” I shared this burden with a dear friend. She understood and was also burdened to reach out in some practical ways to help others in the name of Jesus. Together, we’ve collected, packed and delivered school supplies for under-privileged children. Over the holidays, her daughter felt this burden and approached her church about helping the homeless. So together we purchased, packed and delivered hot soup, gloves, socks and Bibles for the homeless. Although our efforts would be considered small in light of the great needs around us, I believe Jesus sees our hearts and actions and is pleased with our willingness to follow him.
The Song of Songs is one book of the Bible that has always intrigued me. I’ve read it over and over. It is the ultimate love story. The passages switch between the voice of the bridegroom, the bride and the bridal party (friends). They speak of each other as my beloved and my lover.
Through the often-poetic pros I began to see a picture emerge of Jesus and his church, especially his church today. The Song of Songs reads of a bride awaiting the arrival of her bridegroom, lying on her bed of comforts. He tries the door of her bed chamber only to find it latched. He’s sweaty and out of breath and he calls for her to open the door. The bride says, “I’m cleaned and ready for bed. I’ve washed my feet and hands and anointed my head. Should I rise up and open the door only to get all dirty again?” The bridegroom reaches his hand through the small crack in the door and pulls at the latch. Unable to open it, he calls for his lover.
When the bride sees his hand and hears his cry, she rises and rushes to unlatch the door. As she touches it, she realizes it’s dripping with the myrrh. Did this represent the sweet presence of her lover? Was this an anointing for her to follow him? Could it have represented his impending death? Or, did it represent her death to comforts? I don’t know, but she swings open the door to find her lover has gone.
The bride begins her search. Rushing out into the streets and through squares. “Have you seen my beloved?” “Do you know where he has gone?” Finally, she finds him there.
Some believers today have gotten too comfortable in their Christianity. They are washed and don’t want to get their hands and feet dirty. They are nestled, snug within the four walls of their sanctuary neglecting the cries of the lost in the streets and squares.
If we could visit churches throughout America this morning, I believe we would find a comfortable bride going about her weekly duties, much without her bridegroom.
If we could walk the streets throughout America this morning, I believe we would find a bridegroom pleading with his bride to open the door, to rush out and follow him.
With so much preaching about how God wants to bless us and give us the desires of our hearts. I’m afraid we’ve grown too religiously comfortable and have missed our Jesus in the streets, with his hands and feet in the grime, lifting destitute souls to his side.
That’s his calling for us. That’s his purpose for us. To spread the Good News far and wide. To take up our cross and follow him.
I know I’m not the only one God has disturbed with the undisturbed church. I’m not the only one God is rousing out of her comfort zone. I see a restlessness beginning in the hearts of his people. A restlessness for more of Jesus. A restlessness to follow hard after to him. To search for his presence. To call out, “Have you seen my beloved?” “Do you know where he has gone?”
This morning, a dear friend stepped away from his family and business. He’s headed to the other side of the world. Not for pleasure, but for Jesus. He wants to carry God’s message of love and forgiveness to those less fortunate in hopes of making a difference in God’s kingdom.
I’m thankful for those whose hearts are moved to reach beyond the borders of the United States. I’m thankful for my time in Fortaleza, Brazil. I was deeply affected by that journey. It was eye-opening to see how people live in other countries. We are extremely blessed in this country. So much so I believe we take it for granted.
But we don’t have to fly to another part of the world to find our mission field.
It’s right here.
We find it in our subdivisions, apartment complexes, farming communities.
It’s right here.
We find it on our jobs, in the marketplace, on our Facebook pages.
There are souls that need help. There are souls that need Jesus.
Unlatch the door to your heart. Lay aside your comforts. Rush out into your streets and squares.
Help others to know Jesus is here. Jesus is alive. Jesus saves.
Touch others today with open-hands, ministering to the physical, as well as the spiritual, needs of the homeless, the powerless, the broken.
Jesus called us to love our neighbors. Please don’t sidestep his call like the Pharisees. “Who is our neighbor?” They are our neighbors.
Love (action word) them, In Jesus’ Name.
There’s still time to enter and win a copy of Karen Ehman’s new book, Listen, Love, Repeat, along with the study guide and DVD. Seems there was a technical glitch with my first posts regarding the giveaway so I am extending the entry time to 12/9/2016. The winner will be announced on Saturday, 12/10.
All you have to do to enter is:
How to Enter:
- Subscribe to my blog, Created to Climb, by entering your e-mail address in the Follow My Blog link located in the right column of my blog site; (Don’t worry, if you are already a follower, just make sure you follow the next direction and you’ll have your chance to win).
- Share my blog on your Facebook page by posting: “I just entered to win Karen Ehman’s new book, Listen Love Repeat, at Created to Climb Ministries.
That’s it, YOU’RE ENTERED! The winner will be randomly picked and announced on December 10th.