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August 8, 2013

Amos 5:21-24 NASB

“I hate, I reject your festivals,

Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies.

“Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings,


I will not accept them;


And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings.

“Take away from Me the noise of your songs;

I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.

“But let justice roll down like waters


And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

Hands outstretched, I look around the room and see tens of thousands of other young adults pouring their hearts out.  The massive space is dark with stage lighting swiveling across the ceiling and down the walls, the subwoofers pounding through my ribs.  My mouth forms words like, “Finally, I surrender,” and “My heart is yours.”  My heart wrenches in my chest.  Inside I’m so sick, wallowing in sin when their backs are turned.  I just want Him to fix me, change me, heal me, save me.  I can’t rescue myself and I hate the man I’ve become.

You may think I’m describing one specific event.  I’m not.  This is how I lived my teenage years.  There are moments, even now, that I find myself there in that room, mouthing words I don’t mean.  Well, I mean them.  No, sometimes I mean them, sometimes I want to mean them, and still sometimes I only want to want to mean them.  I can tell the difference because when I truly mean them, when I am truly at the end of my rope with myself, He wraps my heart in His love and makes me whole again.

This summer has been crazy in a lot of ways.  I can’t even describe the things that God has been doing in me.  He’s so subtle, so gentle, and so loving.  Though this may be short, I truly believe that for now, this truly sums up my philosophy of ministry: stop trying.  For about twenty years I have tried to love God.  I’ve tried to be a good person.  I’ve tried to be cool.  I’ve tried to have an emotional experience with God.  I have tried to be who I thought Jesus wanted me to be.  I’ve witnessed countless ministries trying to be like who they thought Jesus was.  I’ve seen them try to be welcoming, try to be open, and God forbid, try to be cool.  And what I’ve seen is when you try to be anything… it’s fake.  Instead of trying, I just want to be.  God has shown me that by trying to be Christian, you’re putting up a front.  By trying to be a cool church, you’re pretty lame.  By trying to be buddies with non-believers and dropping in Jesus here and there while trying to not be tainted, you’re just pushing them farther away and making yourself look like an idiot.

I know very well that this is probably going to sound nothing like what I really mean to say.  I’m not sure how to say it where it doesn’t sound bad, because it’s not.  I just mean I’m tired of the façade.  I’m tired of lying to the public because I’m not as “churchy” as they think I should be.  I get angry.  I cuss.  I like beer and I like cigars.  I like most people while others annoy me to no end.  I like heavy metal and folk and everything in between and I have almost nothing about God nailed down.

But I’m me.

I deeply love the Lord, at least as well as I know how.  I strive for intimacy with Him.  I talk to Him all day, everyday about what’s going on. He’s with me, like a buddy.  He knows my thoughts, my desires, my ambitions and opinions.  He knows when I’m pissed off at irrational authority.  He knows what burns in my heart and what I enjoy more than anything.

I want to represent Him well.  But, I’m not Him.  He’s Him and I’m me.  Donald Miller once wrote that we can’t be Jesus; we can only point others to Him.  I like that.  It’s truly a weight off of me.  I can only be me, love Him, and love His people.

I’m dirty.  I’m broken.  I worry.  I want.  But, I’m me.  Just me.  Brent Hemphill.

And that’s perfectly, imperfectly, alright.

Because of Him,

Brent Hemphill

P.S.

If you’re just now joining my journey then please know that I will not be on Facebook during my time of consecration so any messages or requests you may have sent will not be responded to for quite some time.  It’s not personal, it’s Jesus.

You can purchase Nazirite DNA here: https://store.ihopkc.org/nazirite-dna-book/dp/2188.

You can also get the free audiobook here: http://www.thecall.com/Groups/1000080325/TheCall/Free/Free.aspx

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