Wednesday, January 22, 2020

One thing I wish I knew when I started preaching the gospel

One Thing:

One thing I wish I knew when I started preaching the gospel…


… that my deepest pains and struggles would become my most powerful testimonies.

I remember when I first invited Jesus into my life, and started to walk by faith - that all the books I was reading and all the stories that people told me were so incredible; they gave me so much encouragement and amazement before God’s power.

However, with time, all of that excitement gave way to a deep sense that I was both inadequate and a fraud. I felt that although I was preaching and pursuing a deeper relationship with Jesus, that because my struggles and pains were still there, I was surely an impostor and a failure of a Christian.

The lowest point for me happened when I was involved in a bus accident whilst I was on my way to register myself to study for a Degree in Theology. 
The bus driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a truck that had stopped on the side of the road. As a result, almost 40 people lost their lives, including my best friend.

After that accident, I didn’t have any answers for why things had happened in the way that they had, and this led to me battling for many years with depression and panic attacks. I was having the necessary treatment but things were not improving and God’s call and ministry to my life became more and more distant; I was feeling more and more that I was an imposter and a shallow Christian.

Things started to change, not when I became wholly healed or free, but when I went to preach at a conference and I was honest about my failures and struggles. Although people there were sharing amazing stories and testimonies,  I got up to speak and shared that it was hard even to be there, but that I had faith that God was with me and would help me to get through it.

I remember the reaction on people’s faces when all the excitement and motivation of the conference gave way to the reality that the preacher was in crisis. I thought that this would be the end of any invitations to share and preach at other conferences.  
However, something happened in that place, and I felt cracks begin to appear in the masks that people were wearing. There was a change in the leaders’ attitudes and I saw real people who were struggling to cope with the difficulties in their lives. That day an avalanche of leaders came to the prayer space - not to hear about the latest technique for growth, but to receive healing and help from God.

Throughout the years, I’ve lost count of how many people I have seen God help and heal. People suffering from depression, panic attacks and suicidal thoughts come to me almost every week, not because I am the best scholar on the subject, but because I have suffered those things and because I am still dealing with them, so they know they can be honest with me.

Remember that God will use you, and although you are not defined by the struggles and pains that you face, He will use them to reach out to other people with the message that He is good and present in the middle of their pain and their struggle. 

Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12.9: ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Commitment

We are on the beginning of the year, and it is time to start to break some "New year resolutions", or at least that is exactly what will happen to the vast majority of people.

However, we decide to start the year, we should not forget that it is also time to check how our spiritual lives are.

We can start to live a life of friendship with Jesus as He is really real.

There are two prayers that always impact me when I think about making a commitment to the Lord. The first prayer is from A.W. Tozer and the second from John Wesley:

AW Tozer Prayer of Commitment
I come to you today, O Lord, To give up my rights,
To lay down my life,
To offer my future,

To give my devotion, my skills, my energies.
I shall not waste time
Deploring my weaknesses
Nor my unfittedness for the work.
I acknowledge your choice with my life To make Christ attractive and intelligible To those around me.

I come to you for spiritual preparation. Put your hand upon me,
Anoint me with the oil of the One With Good News.

Save me from compromise,
Heal my soul from small ambitions,
Deliver me from the itch to always be right, Save me from wasting time.

I accept hard work, I ask for no easy place,
Help me not to judge others who walk a smoother path. Show me those things that diminish spiritual power in a soul.

I now consecrate my days to you,
Make your will more precious than anybody or anything. Fill me with your power
And when at the end of life’s journeyI see you face to face
May I hear those undeserving words:
“Well done my good and faithful servant”
I ask this not for myself
But for the glory of the name of your Son. Amen!


The covenant Prayer - John WesleyI am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.

Connect Group – 14- Who does Jesus say He is? Part 3

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