Reflections of a Broken Man

When Life is in Discord, Praise Ye The LORD by StephenMac
November 1, 2008, 8:27 am
Filed under: Reflections | Tags: , , , ,

**Currently listening to: Never Take Friendship Personal – Anberlin**

OK, time is 10:13pm Friday 31st (delayed upload). I’ve just returned home from one of the worst weeks. Nothing, it seems, has gone right. But no, I think that I can only blame myself. THe reason for this most recent outpouring of despair is that I have just return from youthgroup. This is the ministry that I helped to set up two years ago, and that I have grace to continue to work in it. Yet while God has afforded me this opportunity, in fact it should be recognised as not actually requiring me, but I am able to share in His work only by His grace. So why does it cause me so much pain? Sure I see that my kids (the primary school aged peeps that I get to hang with each week) are growing, and that is really awesome. I can’t believe the way that God is working there. SP0003723LBut the older group whom I’m sometimes involved with, as I was tonight, cause me nothing but trouble. Well, not all of them, a select three.

But not them, me. This morning, we heard God’s word from Colossians 3:5-14. The message: rid yourselves (put to death) sexual misconduct, but also filthy language. And so sure enough, I therefore tonight lose my temper and swear. Bad language is a habit that I haven’t ever been able to kick completely, but never to my youth group kids before. And as I was driving home this evening, I’m wondering what is it that causes me to sin so badly?!? To forget what I had heard mere hours ago, and do the complete opposite?

This evening, I seriously wondered why I am in ministry. I still have no idea what I want to do after college, but nothing has torn me like this. Nothing gives me great joys, but seriously low lows. I don’t think I’m cut out for this. I have no idea how to handle these pressures. And this current context is light compared to what full-time paid ministry will be. If I’m screwing up so badly now, how would I ever be able to handle it in the future?

Life is chaotic at the moment. Exams, ministries, social stresses. One of the youth group kids told to stress less. God bless him for that, because if they can notice it, then it must be pretty bad. I remember that someone told me that if life isn’t difficult, if you aren’t struggling with your Christian walk, then perhaps the Devil is leaving you alone, because you are where he wants you to be. It’s only when you’re on the right path that temptation comes to cause you to stumble. Perhaps there is more wisdom that I previously understood in the Anberlin lyric:

When life is in discord, praise Ye the Lord
Paperthin Hymn


In Contemplation of a Guy From Seattle… by StephenMac
August 30, 2008, 8:39 pm
Filed under: Reflections | Tags: , , , , ,

**currently listening to: Define the Great Line – Underoath**

I am tempted to say that Sydney is in the middle of Driscoll-mania, but I am not too sure markof the fairness of that, especially to him: having heard him speak both at College and BYPJ, he is a remarkably honest, genuine, and humble guy. And while the cynic inside of me may say that 10,000 people only went to see him because of his reputation, what does it matter? God’s word was preached powerfully and faithfully, people were cut to the heart, and the name Jesus is on people’s lips. And that is cause for prayers of thankfulness to our Lord.

In thinking about these two talks, and having read quite a few others thoughts, I am convinced that many people have been challenged by Driscoll’s call to Sydney men to man-up. Now I think that some of this is rhetoric designed to push buttons, to challenge men to step up and to take responsibility as they have been called to. Many guys, especially those of us who are single, have been challenged (read: offended) by the call to find our pants, get married, move out of mum’s basement and start a church plant. And despite many disagreeing with his statement, I think he has made his point – and we, mainly we as Sydney Anglicans, are now thinking about how we deal with this call. Some of us have simply dismissed it as irrelevant – we have MTS, Christians on average get married younger, etc etc. Others agree wholeheartedly, seeing this as the wake-up call we needed. I am still unsure. But as the only 22 y/o at college, I heard his challenge to man-up loud and clear (everytime he used the phrase “average 22 y/o” I’m thinking, oh man, not another thing I have to do…). I think it’s something that I personally can’t dismiss so easily. My question is though, so what do I do?

Being 22, I have the advantage of being a church-planter by 25 after finishing college, but I had never even in my wildest daydreams ever considered it. I had dismissed the idea of being a minister with the thought that I am too young – pastor-ship is an old-man’s calling. I had seen myself as working in the academic world and serving in that area. Yet as I heard Driscoll describe his vision for young contextualised ministry, I couldn’t help but be filled with an air of joy and excitement, of seeing the urgency that should come with the acknowledgement that Jesus Christ is Lord RIGHT NOW! What this means for my plans, no idea, but I’m sure God is challenging me to think outside the square, and remember it’s his plans that have the final say, not mine…

IMG_0454 - Copy Getting back to the topic at hand, BYPJ (which I believe many are currently blogging, that is, until they get back from engage, and then they’ll blog that I presume) didn’t teach me much new… and I struggled with that, wondering how I could then use this talk for something productive. An opportunity came up on Thurs night, when I was able to use the his plastic jesus’ as a way to have a conversation with a friend of mine about who Jesus really is. What was great for her, was that I was able to use the idea of moral jesus or religious jesus or spiritual jesus to show that Jesus is so much more. Yet, I am praying that now that she knows that Jesus = God (head knowledge) that it will translate into Jesus = God (heart knowledge). Praise God for the work that he does so gradually.

Driscoll talked (can’t remember which talk exactly… possibly college talk) about evangelism being a long term thing. And I see that in his own ministry – he will plant the seeds in an event like BYPJ, but God who calls us to get alongside these seedlings, to pray for them, to answer them, to talk and be there for them.

So often, I have longed for a gf… to be able to have a family etc, and Driscoll’s talk really pushed that button. But there was always a song lyric by DBC that I had longed to be able to sing of myself…

**Stephen changes songs to check the lyrics**

How the grace with which she walked into your life
Will stay with you in your steps, and pace with you a while…

**Stephen, having mellowed out, switches permanently to DBC**

I was thinking… these seedlings can become the family that I have longed for. Will not they be the ones who walk into my life by grace? Will not I stay with them in their steps, encouraging them, growing them, and in turn, being encouraged and grown? Yet, there is a difference – Driscoll remarks how lonely it is, and the need for him to have his wife supporting him – is it possible to do a similar job without a wife and consider the pastoral family as an equal substitute? Perhaps… but I think that could be dangerous and risky, even more so than for a married pastor.

No matter what you may think of the phenomenon that has embraced Sydney while Driscoll has been here, I think that the simple fact that he has put Jesus on the lips of people, and filled Christians with some form of evangelistic zeal has been terrific, and hopefully it will be persistent, especially after Driscoll leaves. The real test will be the next few months, and whether the feeling can be maintained through to Connect09…