Awesome… or Awful

It’s been a while since I’ve written down some thoughts. In my new ministry position, I’ve been busy, but I’m truly enjoying all that the Lord is doing in my life. I pray you, my friends, are doing well. I’d really love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below and let me know that you’re there.

One thing I’ve been learning over the past two and a half decades is that the Lord can, and even wants to, use weak people for His glory. “The reality and confession of personal spiritual weakness is not a grave danger to your ministry. God has chosen to build His church through the instrumentality of bent and broken tools. It is your delusions of strength that will get you in trouble and cause you to form a ministry that is less than Christ-centered and Gospel-driven” (from the book, Dangerous Calling , by Paul David Tripp – page 87). Knowledge, skill, and experience are vital to the success of ministry, however, it is our character and the condition of our hearts that pleases the Lord and stands the true test of time. When a ‘minister’ begins to see himself/herself as ‘something special’ in and of themselves… there are going to be serious problems. Ministry is a gift. It can only be because of God’s mercy and grace for it to be authentic. It’s the broken and ‘humble’ or ‘contrite’ heart that our God desires to find in us… and this only comes from grasping who we really are… in Him. Often the ones who are super gifted are the ones we admire and look up to, even place in positions of authority. When the reality is, God digs using the weak things of this world to blow away the strong and wise… because then everyone knows it’s a God-thing… not a ‘man’ thing. Don’t believe me? Check out guys like Peter, Moses, and Gideon. The Bible is full of folks that radically advanced God’s Kingdom, that truthfully, much of the Christian-world wouldn’t even begin to consider as capable of leading a Bible-class full of Kindergarteners.

Another thing I’m learning is that I’m way too stinking familiar with God. I absolutely am blown away that, all too often, I can look smack dab into the Glory of God and not be moved! I believe way too many of us Christians… far too many pastors/preachers/ministers… are in danger of being bored with God. We’ve lost our ‘awe’. This is a HUGE temptation for those in full-time ministry: Familiarity: Losing our Awe.

You see, the AWE OF GOD should shape everything we do. If the things of God are not magnetizing us, then something else will. The Word teaches us that where our treasure is… our heart is going to be in that exact same place. I believe what happens is that we can begin to treasure all the wrong stuff. We put ‘work’, ‘ministry’, ‘being cool’, ‘being used by God’, ‘the latest thing in ministry’, even ‘fellowship and community’ before the Lord, Himself. And guess what? It’s nearly impossible in ministry to give away what you, yourself, do not have. So, our sermons come out boring. Our effect on others and the advancing of God’s Kingdom… comes up lame. A lot of sermons are nothing more than theological lectures, with some creative packaging  and a few funny stories thrown in to maintain peoples short attention spans. Maturity isn’t being theologically literate. Theology is supposed to be a means to an end, not the end in itself! So, what’s the end? The end is inspiring the AWE OF GOD! I’ve stated in times past that it is a sin for someone to make the Word of God boring. Let me clarify: The purpose of every sermon should be to inspire the AWE OF GOD in every listener.

Take a second and be honest with yourself: Have you lost your awe? Are you a person with just ‘some’ awe… or are you a person who is ‘full’ of awe? AweSome… or AweFull?

A person who is in ‘awe’ of God understands that it has never been, nor will it ever be, about them. Listen to David’s heart as he sings out what we call Psalm 145, and tell me if he is aweSOME or aweFULL…

I will extol You, my God, O King;
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
I[a] will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And on Your wondrous works.[b]
Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
And I will declare Your greatness.
They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness,
And shall sing of Your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.
The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.

10 All Your works shall praise You, O Lord,
And Your saints shall bless You.
11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom,
And talk of Your power,
12 To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,
And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.[c]

14 The Lord upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season.
16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works.
18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.
20 The Lord preserves all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.
21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,
And all flesh shall bless His holy name
Forever and ever.

May you and I be those that are FULL of the AWE OF GOD, because authentic and true ministry will flow from the heart that is FULL of awe for God. If you are lacking in awe for God, then what are you in awe of? What have you replaced that awe of GOD with?

You are loved. Let me know in the comments below how you are doing.

Michael

Comments

  1. says

    I’ve been getting your podcasts. So great to hear your voice exploding God’s greatness again.
    Love these ‘ponderings’. My spiritual foundation comes from that 12 step program. #MeetingAboveTheBar In that upper room I found a God full of Grace, but only because I was absolutely Broken & thus Willing. If I’d have had any other options to go on living, I’d have taken them. So God took away ALL other options. I was going to get Sober or Die. 2 simple choices. Only in that total complete Brokenness was I willing to admit & accept that, maybe, kind of , there might be, sort of, A power greater than me. That tiny mustard seed of hope has transformed into a totally sold out belief in a Jesus that keeps me Sober everyday. Everyday I ask Jesus to keep me Sober today. EVERYDAY for 5,820 days so far I have asked and he has delivered. That is the bedrock of my belief. No matter what else happens in my life, I know God / Jesus has my back, because I have REAL absolute faith & proof that Jesus keeps me sober each and every day.
    All this to say- Being totally Broken is the best place to find God. The more broken the better. The more desperate I am the better. The more broken I am, the more glory God gets & deserves for saving my sorry butt. That’s the beauty of the Broken. That’s ‘The Beautiful Letdown’. @switchfoot My Awe of God is a lot more AWEsome when I see wrecked lives being restored everyday at the #MeetingAboveTheBar
    God continues to take what my human brain thinks is ‘the worst thing that ever happened to me’ and turns it into the ‘Best thing that ever happened to me.’ So now jail was the best thing that ever happened to me. I firmly & absolutely believe that. I even wrote a thank you letter to the officer who put me there.
    I believe desperation brings the strongest faith. No surprise I was drawn to a church called Desperation. At #TheMeetingAboveTheBar people who have been to the bottom, been desperate, are the best ones help other drunks get sober. And in doing so help us stay sober, and help us remember our desperate need to talk to God everyday.And remind us how Awesome God is.
    God Bless you and your family.
    bkb1

  2. Dennis Piatkowski says

    I still listen here, so you can add one to the census. Thank you for continuing to speak your mind. :^)
    We are doing well, finally finishing a difficult task and the new tasks are going well.
    I would speak more, but privacy on the Internets is scary.

  3. Holly Waugh says

    Missing you PMC, so glad that I can come here and still pick up what you are putting down. Things are settling down here in Florida. I’ll be glad when the heat settles down as well. We are slowly working on getting plugged into our new church down here. It is a scary endeavor, hoping that we’ll be accepted in but wanting to share our love for Jesus with some new folks. Tell the wife and kids that we send our love…and we’ll be sending some more chips before too long 🙂 Love you 5

  4. Mandy Welch says

    Love reading what God has put upon your heart! Thank you for sharing it with us so we can gleam treasure from it as well! I pray I never lose my awe for God, he continues to amaze me everyday! He continues to reveal himself to me and I fall more and more in love with him. You and your family will always hold a very special place in our hearts!

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