February 25, 2019

It’s the Monday morning after the Oscars (Academy Awards) and I admit that I did not watch the entire show. I did watch some and as usual I always hate it when the jokes immediately go into the political realm. It just sort of turns me off after that. I also admit that the only movie nominated that I had seen was “Bohemian Rhapsody.” And honestly it was the only one I was even remotely interested in seeing (sign of old age setting in?). As Jim Denison reminds us in his article today, awards are important to the people who win them but for the rest of us we quickly move on to something else. Most of us can’t name last year’s winners much less 5 years ago and the same goes for sporting event winners (Super Bowl, etc.). It should be a reminder for us to invest in eternal, Kingdom work as we live out our lives. Invest in your children and grandchildren. Invest in prayer and missions. Invest in people with your time and energy and money. It is so easy to become focused on things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of life. I’m pretty sure no one in Heaven is talking about the Oscars today. And yet, it is a part of our culture. Let’s not withdraw from our culture but let us be salt and light in our culture today!!

As we continue on in our 90 Days of Prayer, yesterday we looked at part 2 in our series from Mark Batterson’s book called “Whisper.” The second language of love that God uses in our life is the language of desire. I told my wife last night that I wasn’t sure I adequately communicated the message yesterday. Maybe it was because of the congestion I had and like I said, I didn’t even want to hear myself talk so I know it was tough for everyone. I just felt like the concept in and of itself was a little hard. It’s a simple message but somehow complicated because when we hear the word “desire” we immediately go into negative mode because so many desires are sinful. But why would God give us desires if they could only be sinful? It goes back to that church theology from several centuries back that basically said if it brings you pleasure it must be bad. By the way, that’s terrible theology. God invented desire and pleasure for us to enjoy . . . in the proper context.

That proper context is of course where God is our ultimate desire. I want to repeat a few of my favorite quotes here to illustrate this. It starts with this one, “Tell me how much you enjoy God, and I'll tell you how spiritually mature you are.” Our desires have to be disciplined to the point where we love and desire Him more than anything or anyone. Seeking God first is making sure His voice is the loudest voice in your life. Paul said, "I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." (Phil. 3:8) Then and only then will God speak to us in the language of desires. He'll change our desires, intensify our desires, and upload new desires within us. Those desires actually become spiritual compasses by which we navigate the will of God.

I also love the Eric Liddell quote, “And when I run I feel His pleasure.” Pleasure isn't a bad thing. It's a gift from God. When did we start believing that God wants to send us to places we don't want to go to do things we don't want to do? Sure, taking up our cross involves sacrifice. But when we delight ourselves in the Lord, God will give us the desire to do whatever He's called us to do, no matter how difficult it is.

We have to walk to the beat of a different drum: holy desire.

The Bible calls us "a peculiar people." So why are we trying to be normal? If uniqueness is God's gift to us, then our gift back to Him is how we use our individual-ness. And it starts with hearing and heeding the voice of desire. And when God's voice is the loudest voice in our lives, we can dare to be different.

If you’re still confused let’s sit down and have a conversation about desires. In the meantime what are you good at and how is God prompting you through your desires to use that and fulfill your purpose? One example in my life is that Jennifer and I believe God has given us the gift of hospitality. We enjoy having people in our home all the time. One of the ways God has used that is to allow us to be able to have people come and stay with us for long periods of time and we also have an AirBnB in our home. These are opportunities God has used to allow us to have a spiritual impact on dozens of lives. It is a desire and a giftedness put into motion and God has blessed that. What about your life? God has uniquely gifted you AND He has given you unique desires that He wants to use to fulfill His plan for your life and for many others!!

Notification: I also wanted to let you know that recently an opportunity was presented to Jennifer and I to join a group for a Mission Trip to an Orphanage/Children’s Home in Jamaica. The trip is paid for so we immediately said YES! We will be going from March 23-30 and we are excited about seeing what God is doing there. Please be in prayer for us that God will use us as we minister to those children and to the community surrounding them.

Last Word: I need to say a belated Happy Birthday to two people who both had a birthday yesterday. One is my son-in-law, Patrick Short, married to our daughter, Gabrielle and the other is to my soon to be son-in-law, Darrell Travis, who is engaged to our daughter, Olivia! Happy Birthday guys!!

I am ON MISSION Today! Are You?