The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. -Isaiah 61:1-2
When I was 15, I got saved.
In prayer before my baptism I asked the Lord for a few things: one was to be baptized in a river on a sunny day. Another was for it to be at a place where I could get away afterwards and be alone and that the Lord would speak to me in His word about what He wanted to do with my life. All those prayers came true and after my river baptism, this is the scripture the Lord spoke to my heart through on that day. I knew from that moment in that park, what I was called to do with my life.
It's been a long journey since that sunny afternoon and I sure had no idea where that time of prayer would lead me in the years ahead! But I thank God that He saved this punk and filled me with his Spirit and called me to preach His word. I am forever grateful to know what I am here for.
I remember a dark moment in a suburban bathroom in middle-class America when I was around 14. I had come off a night of acid tripping and I was deeply depressed and empty. My life felt like it was going nowhere and darkness was so present that I simply just didn't want to live anymore. Life seemed so bleak and meaningless. I remember taking a razor in the shower and looking at my wrists.
I stood there on the edge of life and death looking at my life and seeing no purpose for living. I thank God that I ended up not having enough nerve to slit those young veins open. I thank God that God's purposes were at work in that small apartment shower. That God's love was protecting me from myself before I even knew His love. It wasn't long after that until I met the One who saved me and realized that He had been my savior many times before I even Knew He was there.
Drugs, suicide, emptiness, anger, failure, divorce, screwed up sex life, absolute pointless existence all in middle-class suburbia.
I realized this morning as I have been going over and over in my mind about where to do church in this city that it isn't really about place. It's not about on this mountain or that mountain as Jesus said to the woman at the well....it's about people and people are lost without Jesus, no matter where they live.
The Lord summed it up to me in this phrase:
I SENT YOU TO...YOU.
I thank God that the Lord found me in my middle class hell and rescued me from my complete and utter spiritual poverty and captivity and brought me into His freedom of grace and love...no matter where I lived.
Open my eyes Lord, I need to see me again in the streets I dwell. Help me to find the one who is, who I was, in these mundane and deceptively nice suburban homes. Let me hear the sighs of purposelessness that are rising from aching hearts in these cheap apartment complexes and perfectly manicured lawns. Help me to stop always looking over THERE to help someone, while I step over someone who is right in front of me. Deliver me from the mirage of ministry that is always out there somewhere instead of in the immediate surroundings where you have called me to live out life.
Help me to find the shadows in my day to day life and bring the light of LIFE into those places whereever they are.