hmmm. wow. i'm nestled nicely in the best western roswell suites ending a day that was so up and down in ways i don't know if i can explain. i'm sitting here, right in the middle of a conference called thirsty that i've experienced as a revolutionary few days. this is the place 2 years ago where i heard the call of God to move into ministry. this is a place where i saw close friends open their mouths wide and drink in God. this place is a big deal to me.
i don't know if i came with any real expectations other than a break from work and time spent with jess. i got both of those things and a whole lot more. i've been blessed to surround this trip with rob bell's book 'velvet elvis.' i thought it would be another book full of things i agree with and a nice way to spend the plane ride here. the book has been more challenging than i expected. i'm not completely on board with everything he says, but there's a lot of truth in the pages i've read so far. and i'm hearing those words bent into different forms all through talks made by speakers here, my prayer life, the Word, and what jess has said to me. i don't think that's bizarre because i expect that here. but what i didn't expect is the message itself. i don't really know exactly what it is because i've been looking for a vision--what i still need is just a Savior who heals all the broken places.
last night francis chan spoke on the book of haggai (i know...totally crazy) about God saying over and over again that He is with us. the end of the talk blew me out of the water--God called zerubbabel His signet ring. that sounds bizarre, but when one considers what a signet ring symbolizes for a king it's a huge deal. haggai 2:23 is the same as when Christ told peter that whatever he loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven and what is bound on earth is bound in heaven. i never reached around that passage like that before. God is saying that we are His hands here--he trusts us and chooses us to carry out His plans. i knew that all before, but it somehow became personal for me then. He calls me to do His will. He has called me to preach to the prodigals. this is for real. this is not an abstract concept. and the coolest deal is He equips me to do it. totally. all that i need. end of story. i never realized how paralyzed by fear i am until that moment. i didn't know that i was hedging my bets in favor of a safer hand. but God isn't calling me to a safe hand, but rather a life of total abandon to His will.
so i cried those big, horrible sobs that only happen when realization is at its fullest. i was feeling more last night than i have since i moved to boston. i wasn't numb anymore. i wasn't rationalizing anymore. i stood up and was prayed over by strangers around me. i heard affirmations that my soul was parched and longing for. and the coolest deal is this was just the first day...
i read some earth-shattering stuff in 'velvet elvis' today and then voiced about 8 pages of it out loud to jess. i started crying in places and i wasn't sure why. i saw me on those pages. i saw people i love who stumbled in ministry there. i saw my need for a Savior. He's not just for asking forgiveness from--He's just as much about restoration and healing. i never thought i needed to be healed. i thought that part was all taken care of, but of course, i was wrong. i am so broken inside and need to be completely reworked by the Father. He needs to overhaul me in ways i never knew until today.
communion happened tonight at the main session. i didn't know if i could even handle that holy moment. i didn't feel deserving almost. but i walked up and ate of the bread and drank from the cup. i barely choked it down. when i got back to my seat i wrote this:
"there's something throat-catching about communion. how do we deserve that love? that sacrifice? how that we swallow that body and blood? the irony is that we can swallow it because of it. it requires us to choke it down sometimes to receive it. i don't know how that fits into my time here. another great wrestling to come out more like the One i wrestled with. burned down. refined. just simply less of me and more of Him. what this speaks about vision, work, church planting--i don't know. but i swallow it all down. washed clean by tears along the way. accepting the sacrifice that provides the way for accepting. resting in the God of Heaven."
i think i can see more of the fitting in now. i'm glad for perspective and how God washes it over me. Lord, bring more. bring the healing. bring the hope. bring only more of You.