May 4, 2014

My childhood home was located out in the warm countryside of southern Georgia. Across my dirt road was a cotton-field that stretched nearly as far as the eye could see. Watching the sun lie down to sleep on the other side was one of the most beautiful displays of God’s grandeur that I’ve ever witnessed.

Along our pot-holed driveway were two old, wooden fences that were held up by a few splinters and the grace of God. Occasionally, as I walked with my friend down our little stretch of dust, I would perch atop one of these fences for a bit while we talked about God, guitars, and girls.

It never took me very long before I realized how uncomfortable it was, trying to sit on a fence. Back then I had plenty of butt to cushion whatever seat I chose, but it just wouldn’t do the trick on such a sharp surface.

In those days I was easily the most black-and-white person I knew. Either you were in or you were out, boy or girl, republican or democrat, believer or non-believer, pro-life or pro-choice, pro-God or pro-gay.

For me, there was no in-between, no grey area. You were on this side of the fence, the right side of course, or you were on that side, and were probably going to hell for being so stupid. I couldn’t help I was right, I just was. It wasn’t my fault you chose poorly.

I then moved into a season where I felt like I was incessantly choosing to sit on the fence, grinding my butt bone on it’s thin edge as I saw both good and bad aspects on each side of these arguments, not being able to fully take one side or the other with any honesty.

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As time moved on I continued seeking truth and slowly rowed my way into the reality that, much like that little boy in The Matrix realized, there is no fence.

God separated His chosen people from the rest of the world in the Old Testament, sure, but He then reunited us all with His Son on the cross. It was there in His agony that the veil was torn and we were made one, not only with God, but with one another. Not to mention that even in the midst of that culture, Jonah was still sent into the enemy’s camp to preach salvation.

Though we may be very different and are often unable to fully understand one another, we are all searching for the same thing. And whether we are even serving the same God or not, we are all struggling with our own gods and all the delusions they bring.

As many of you know, I am still quite opinionated. That most likely won’t change anytime soon. What is changing, or rather, what I’m striving to let God change in me, is how I view others that I disagree with. I often find myself gathering the pieces of my fence and making myself a place to sit again, but I now know that God wants unity among His people.

Sure, there are things God forbids and things Jesus and Paul, among others, teach against. I get that. But make no mistake that more than anything else, He wants us to love Him and love them.

We, for the most part, as citizens of this country, are free to make our own choices, good, bad, or ugly. And that means that we are merely a human kaleidoscope (Thanks, dc Talk.) Instead of bucking up against our differences, I want to enjoy the beauty in what my God has created and value the varying perspectives our world provides.

Mark 12:30-31

30 …and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Because of Him,

Brent Hemphill

P.S.

Also, 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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I’m a sinner. If you keep up with my late-as-usual blog posts then you know this about me. If you have the common-sense God gave green apples then you should know this as well.

I don’t like sinning. I mean, depending on what the sin is, it may or may not make me feel better in the moment. But the feeling that follows makes me feel very much like one of the walking dead.

It’s like going three days straight without sleeping. It’s empty; it feels like a vacuum in my heart sucking everything into its nothingness.

But, you know what? “…While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Though I am consistently unfaithful to Him in a variety of ways, and even though that’s not ok, He is stilling moving mountains in my life.

Not only is He changing my heart over time through varying means, He is also providing for me and setting me up for a crazy future!

Right now, I can’t share exactly what I mean by that. Perhaps soon. What I can say is this:

God has surrounded me with people that love me, care deeply about me, and speak wisdom and truth into my life. I’m almost always on the phone with my beloved friends, who are truly family, and who all live in different states. Some of them are my age, some are much older and wiser. But either way we are sharpening one another, as men and women who are pursuing Christ together should.

Besides what God is doing within me, God is using me to change others here in Nashville as well. Be on the lookout for a follow-up post where I’ll share what’s going on with Mission 615 and things surrounding that.

Until then, know this: Whether you feel like you’re doing really well and are doing what God asks, seeking Him regularly, and sharing Him often or you don’t, God is still blindly in love with you and has committed Himself to you. His devotion is everlasting, to use a churchy word.

It truly goes beyond our ability to comprehend. I’m dumbfounded and heart-broken when He reveals to me, again and again, how He’s been with me through all my pain and struggles and is continually making my path clear. He’s in this journey for the long haul, even when I waver.

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Please, seek Him. Strive to hear His voice, feel His love, and understand His word. He will meet you where you are and even though it may not look like what you think it should sometimes, He is so, so faithful.

“O to grace how great a debtor

daily I’m constrained to be!

Let thy goodness, like a fetter,

bind my wandering heart to thee.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,

prone to leave the God I love;

here’s my heart, O take and seal it,

seal it for thy courts above.”

 –

Because of Him,

Brent Hemphill

P.S.

Also, 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

March 7, 2014

Our humanity sucks.  Can we just admit that?  I don’t mean that God’s intention for humanity sucks.  And I don’t mean that He made a mistake or anything.  I just mean there’s battle between what my weak flesh wants and what God wants and they’re constantly pulling me in two different directions.

My flesh wants to be lazy and serve only myself.  I don’t want to be faithful.  I don’t want to put effort into the relationship I have with Him.  I don’t want to worry about the seemingly petty things the Spirit convicts me of.

But my spirit longs so ardently for His love and warmth.  What I truly want, in my heart of hearts, is to be close to Him and rest in His presence.  His tenderness is enough to make me stop caring about anything else in this life.  It sounds stupid if you can’t relate but it honestly feels like He’s all you’ll ever need.

It’s so frustrating to have these two desires vying for my attention.  It’s like watching siblings argue.  It just gets under my skin and eats away at me, nagging and biting.

My addiction to God and my addiction to myself are two magnets being forced together at the same ends.

And in the midst of the war, the battle cries, and the bloody wounds raging on inside of me God seems to stop time, draw my attention in on Him, and speak very softly to my heart saying,

“Be still and know that I am God.”

It’s then that I can collapse in His arms and rest in His everlasting love.  It’s there that my soul finds peace and everything makes sense again.  It’s there that I feel like I can take on the world and my trying circumstances seem so minute and simple.

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I’ve come to realize that God’s faithfulness is truly the only thing that keeps me going.  Without Him, I am utterly miserable, dirty, and lonely, and I think that is one of the most important things that anyone can come to understand.

God is love.  And because He is love, He is peace, He is joy, He is comfort, He is contentment, He is fulfillment.

“…we are weak but He is strong.” And I’m so thankful He is.

Because of Him,

Brent Hemphill

P.S.

Also, 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

It’s humbling when I sit down to write my post for the month and I realize that what God is teaching me isn’t anything new, it’s just an old lesson that hasn’t stuck.  Given that, if this sounds redundant it’s because I’m prideful, lethargic, and have spiritually-selective hearing.

The time that I have with God, those moments that I spend alone with Him, intentionally reading and meditating with Him, are by far the most valuable moments of my entire day, and sometimes my week when I’m being a slacker.

The closeness and warmth He gives when we are together is beyond my creature words and creature concepts.  It’s subtle, it’s beneath my bones, it rages like a fire in my heart, and it brings peace and understanding to my mind.

Who wouldn’t hotly pursue that?

And yet, I can’t seem to make myself consistently spend time alone with Him.  My pride whispers in my ear that I can skip a few days and I’ll be fine.  I mean, He still loves me and all.  My indolence seduces me into perusing emails and blog posts or sleeping late.  My spiritually selective hearing chooses not to heed the cry of His heart for me.

Regardless, when I do miss a few days without being alone with Him, everyone can tell a difference.  I get frustrated quickly, I have an inexplicable urge to be right, even if it costs me relationally, and I have toxic thoughts towards everyone, whether I know them or not.

It’s a lot like growing a garden.  The rewards of tending my heart and letting Him trim, water and shine upon me is fruitful beyond measure.  Neglecting my garden, on the other hand, results in tall weeds and unwelcome guests.

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I love Him.  I haven’t always felt comfortable saying that, and I’m hesitant even now.  But I think I do.  And yet my humanity often takes the day and I give in, far too easily most of the time, to serving myself.

He relinquished His omnipotence, He walked in our flesh-and-bone limitations, and He was tempted in every way just as we are, simply so He could have His beloved back in His arms.

I can’t comprehend that.  My brain doesn’t have a slot to fit that into.

I am His reward.

Essentially, He endured the agonies of Hell for me and I have the cajones to sleep in or mess around until it’s time to leave for work instead of bowing my heart and mind before Him?

Clearly, I’ve not arrived.  You’d think that would treat my lack of humility.

Even still, no matter what may happen, I’m determined to keep my head down and persist on my journey after truth, love, and an ever-increasing desire to know Him.

And yes, sometimes that looks like discipline.  But sometimes it simply looks like walking outside in the crisp, Tennessee air and watching the beautiful, fluffy white snowflakes twirl ‘round and ‘round each other, dancing off of my cheeks and melting in my beard.  It is there that I experience a new revelation of His beauty and imminence that sinks deeper into my soul than anything else.

It’s in that moment that I realize that I cannot live without Him and in all honesty I’m tired of trying to.

Because of Him,

Brent Hemphill

P.S.

As an update on my whereabouts, I am now working with Mission 615 in Nashville, Tennessee.  Mission 615 is a ministry to the inner city and homeless people of Nashville.  I am currently working as an intern for two months where I will then be evaluated.  Given that we agree that I should stay with Mission 615, I will then work as either in-house volunteer staff, or I will fill a full-time paid position if the opportunity arises.  I’m currently looking for work so that I can help pay some bills and save for my student loans that are coming due this summer.  Thank you for the prayers and love!

Also, 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

January 10, 2014

One year down.  To sound very cliché, and perhaps repetitive, it has gone very quickly and yet very slowly.  I can still say with utmost honesty that some of the things I thought would be difficult to sacrifice have been less of a struggle, while other, less likely opponents, have given me a run for my money.

One of these opponents has been, believe it or not, distraction.  This really caught me off guard because a huge part of this whole thing is about ridding myself of distractions.  I feel really dumb, to be honest.

Yet, even still, I have allowed my attention to flounce from place to place, entertaining itself with whatever it finds.

On December 29, 2013 I moved into my room at Mission 615 in Nashville, Tennessee.  When I arrived, my friend and overseer, Cody, told me that the focus this year was going to be getting closer to Jesus.  He went on and on about how we need to strive above all else to know Him more and be intimate with Him.

My first reaction was that pursuing Jesus should be a given.  “Well, duh,” was one of a few attitudes that came to mind.  That is, until the Spirit revealed my heart to me; I had not truly pursued Jesus in some time.

I talked about Him a lot.  I discussed Him with friends, read about Him, prayed, and even found pride in Him, feeling quite pompous at times, as I am accustomed to doing when I am far from Him.  Which, if you think about it, is not only ironic but should have also been an instant red flag.

I’ve come to discover that I seem to find comfort in the study and discussion of theological mumbo-jumbo.  But it’s in the midst of this that I sometimes find myself forgetting to study Him with my heart as well.

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Again, I pray fairly consistently and feel as though I am living my life with Him, for the most part, but I rarely made time for just the two of us to talk, alone, which grows intimacy and love.  Sometimes, admittedly, I refrained from listening too much because I began to not like some of the things He wanted to tell me.

But, if I don’t make time for Him, apart from my day-to-day, minute-to-minute banter with Him, I begin to decay unknowingly.  I feel ok, but I’m not.  Deception is the weapon of the enemy and he has finely crafted his practice.  He had deceived me to think that as long as I was studying Him and discussing Him that I was growing in Him.

Looking at the prime example of intimacy that God has given us, marriage, we can clearly see that this won’t work.  Not only should we know about Him, we must know Him.  We must make time to be with Him.  We must make time to talk about things and whisper sweet nothings to one another.

I know that sounds somewhat contrary to some ideas I’ve expressed in the past but what I’m learning is that I need both.  I can’t survive with only my closet-time nor can I keep living by only praying throughout my day as things come my way.  I need to have private, intimate time with Him and I need to include Him in the rest of my day.

God is turning my heart back to Him and I’m very excited to see what He will teach me.  I feel like a completely different man than I was a year ago when I started and knowing that I have another year to go makes me curious, to say the very least.  Thank you for your patience with me as my humanity is pressed against the grinding wheel of His divinity.

Because of Him,

Brent Hemphill

P.S.

As an update on my whereabouts, I am now working with Mission 615 in Nashville, Tennessee.  Mission 615 is a ministry to the inner city and homeless people of Nashville.  I am currently working as an intern for two months where I will then be evaluated.  Given that we agree that I should stay with Mission 615, I will then work as either in-house volunteer staff, or I will fill a full-time paid position if the opportunity arises.  I’m currently looking for work so that I can help pay some bills and save for my student loans that are coming due this summer.  Thank you for the prayers and love!

Also, 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

December 12, 2013

Throughout the past eleven months that I have been a Nazirite, I have experienced a lot of loneliness.  I have lived by myself, just Gizmo (my cat) and I.  I love my alone time because I am an introvert by nature.  But, I have experienced loneliness in a new way than before because I cannot participate in many social activities.  Many times it is difficult to spend time with friends because we can do almost nothing but talk, though that is a favorite of mine too.

Please know I’m not complaining, this time has been worth it by far.  I only say this because it was my original inspiration to share about community.   My alone time has been beneficial, but it has been difficult as well.

Being alone long-term is heavy.

But feeling alone in the midst of people you love is unbearable.

A few months back I felt like I should talk about the importance of community.  What ever the reason is that I didn’t, I’m glad.  As of this past week, I have a far more thorough understanding of just how utterly essential it is that we love, care, and serve one another than ever before.  Please, let me share some of what I’ve learned.

On December 1, 2013 a very close friend and brother took his own life.  I have no words that would accurately express the entirety of what I feel or think about that.  It has been a very dark time in the lives of my friends and I.

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But, for the sake of understanding, if not but a little, think of someone you know that inspires you and brings you comfort in being who you were created to be.  Someone stable, driven, and loving.  Someone who gives what he has freely because he loves freely.  That’s some of what this person was for myself and many, many others.  Now imagine that person deciding they can’t take it anymore.  Doesn’t make sense, does it?

I think through the list of my circle of friends, those I have influence with, and I don’t see any of them as being in danger of trying to leave this life.  Not one.  But what absolutely terrifies me is that I didn’t see that in my friend either.  If a man such as he can be pushed that far into hopelessness then so can you; so can I.

I won’t try to explain the why’s.  Ultimately, only my friend truly knows.  But I do know that he had a lot of very heavy things on his plate and he didn’t allow anyone in; he didn’t let anything out.  He tried to do everything himself.  He loved his community more than anything, but he had a hard time being loved by us.

Now, I can’t help but feel an irrefutable commission to make my life about love and teaching others what it really means to love and be loved.  I’m not a very good example of that sometimes, but know that that is my mission.  No one should ever have to resort to that kind of escape.

I miss my friend a lot.  I wish he were here for a lot of reasons.  If any of us had known how much he hurt, we would have done something; we would have done anything.  We would have come together in love and helped carry his burdens, whatever that looks like.  Please, don’t allow yourself to withhold love.  But even more importantly, don’t allow yourself to withstand love.  Ask for help.  Ask for love.  We want to serve you and walk through this life with you.  I only beg you so adamantly because I am here in the midst of what happens when you don’t.

God Himself lives in constant community.  When it came to redeeming humanity, He had to ask His son to help Him.  What makes you think you don’t need us?  I know I need you and there’s no shame in that.

John 13:34-35

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another,

even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

By this all men will know that you are My disciples,

if you have love for one another.”

Because of Him,

Brent Hemphill

P.S.

~~Plans have changed at the last minute concerning the ministry I will be working with in Nashville.  I will be working with the same people but in a different capacity.  If you would still like to help support me during this time it would be greatly appreciated.  Every little bit helps.  Please visit http://one-church.ws/online-giving/ and click “Donate.”  From there just type my name, Brent Hemphill, in the purpose line.  This way I am helped by your generosity and you are helped on your taxes!  I will try to give you more information concerning my activities in Nashville in the future when I have the details nailed down a little bit better.  Thank you for your patience!~~

I do apologize for the tardiness of this post.  In case you haven’t pieced it together, I’ve been a bit distracted with the events I mentioned above.  Thanks for understanding!

Also, 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

November 5, 2013

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just to take Him at His Word;

Just to rest upon His promise,

And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”


Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!

How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;

Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!

Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

 –

Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just to trust His cleansing blood;

And in simple faith to plunge me

’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just from sin and self to cease;

Just from Jesus simply taking

Life and rest, and joy and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,

Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;

And I know that Thou art with me,

Wilt be with me to the end.

There have been many, many times throughout the past ten years or so that I have had to lay my life upon the altar and completely let go.  And almost every time I did that, it meant something different.  It meant something new.  What was a sacrifice for me in high school is not necessarily a sacrifice for me today.  The definition of “completely letting go” changes and grows.

As I look towards my next steps in life, I realize that my future is going to take more trust than my past has.  During my freshman year at Emmanuel College God asked me, again, to trust Him with my present and said He would reveal my future when it was time.  What He didn’t mention was that His seemingly small provision during that time of my life was preparing me to trust Him with the larger provision needed for the next part of my life.

Allow me to explain.  I feel like God has shown me that He is going to guide my life one step at a time.  While I was in high school He told me to attend Emmanuel College.  I didn’t know a soul here but I let go and, once again, gave my life to Him and I’m glad I did!  This past Spring He opened up doors for me to serve in Nashville, TN with Next Level Discipleship as a leader beginning in January.  If you want to know more about what that means, just email me and I’ll be happy to tell you about it!  It’s pretty cool!

 NLD at Bob's Grille

See, the thing is, this organization is still in its birthing stages.  January 20th, 2014 will be the beginning of the first full-time semester of NLD.  That means they have limited funding and for now they can’t afford to pay me.  And you know, in all honesty I’m fine with that.  I’m not in this thing for the money.  We’ve had a joke in the School of Christian Ministry here at Emmanuel that says if you want to make any money you should find another major.

Even so, I want to be upset about it.  And I have been a little bit, truth be told.  Not so much upset at my supervisors at NLD as much as I’ve been frustrated with God for sending me somewhere that I couldn’t earn money to pay off my student loans and my bills.

But, God is a good God and whenever I begin to doubt, He comforts.  As of right now I’m raising support so that I can go where God sends and not stress about my financial obligations.  And so far, He has been faithful.  I still need help; I’m not out of the woods yet.  But He has been with me the whole way and has already supplied a portion of my need.

More than anything though, He has rested upon my heart and reminded me that if I give up my life to Him, He will take care of me.  So that’s where I’m at right now.  I’m walking forward into this next step of life that God has placed before me and I trust Him to fill in the gaps.

I never intended to use this blog to ask for support, but nonetheless a need has arisen.  God has led me this far and I don’t intend on giving up anytime soon, as tempting as that has been.  If you would, please pray and ask God if He would have you support me with a one time donation or a recurring monthly donation for the next year.

I know that not all of you are able to leave your homes, careers, families, responsibilities, etc. to serve in the more difficult places.  But you can honor God and honor me by helping those of us who have been blessed with the chance to do things like this.  Thank you for your prayers and love.  Cliché as it may be, I surely would not be here without them.

I am still working on setting up a way to send your donations for me to the Tennessee Valley Conference of the IPHC so that it is tax-deductible.  That should be up within a week or two and I will post very soon with more info on that.  I wanted to go ahead and post this now though as a heads up.  If you don’t want to wait, please email me at watertrotter@hotmail.com or you can send your donations through PayPal.  Either way, I will have more solid information for you soon!  Thank you so much!

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

October 4, 2013

It’s funny, you know, how we think we know what’s going on with God and how we have all the answers.  But then, as if to humble us and remind us of who is God and who is human, He reveals something new about Himself.  And sometimes, He reveals something new about us.  And, because I often think I have Him figured out, this happens to me regularly.

That being said, I’ve been going through a fascinating stage in my vow recently, or rather, in my life.  My dear friend and mentor, Dr. Ellington, describes it as moving from knowing things intellectually to knowing things experientially.  Many concepts, like the marriage imagery that is used throughout the Bible, are becoming so real to me.

A few months ago I was having a discussion with my friend who likes to play the devil’s advocate a lot.  We were discussing the idea of once-saved-always-saved.  He puts it this way:  God is our father and we are His children.  And if we are His children, then for argument’s sake, let’s say we live in His proverbial house.  Now, on our own we don’t know to stay out of the road and remain in the safety of His yard.  So, because He loves His children, He puts up a fence around the yard to keep us close to Him so we won’t wander off to whatever catches our attention and hurt ourselves.  As our Father, my friend believes, God will protect us from our own desire to distance ourselves from Him in pursuit of something shiny.

And honestly, that’s all fine and good if you believe God works that way.  But, do you really think He wants us to stay infants?  I know my parents didn’t want me to stay their baby boy forever.  And aren’t you glad? I mean seriously, I’m much cuter now.  Right?

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(First Grade)

Likewise, God doesn’t want us to stay babies in our faith either.  He wants us to grow in our relationship with Him so He can have candid conversations with us and live amongst us in an open, honest way, just like you would with your spouse.

Now, I am convinced that everything in life, including flowers, the cool breeze, the sun, water, good food, peaceful sleep, and pretty much everything else is a representation of an aspect of God.  I’ve even been captivated by a beautiful woman and God spoke to me reminding me that she was only beautiful because He was beautiful.  She was a reflection of that aspect of Him.

In the same way, our relationships with people are representations of Him.  Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, spouses, best friends, strangers, and so on are all just different ways we are to know God.  Count Von Zinzendorf even referred to the Holy Spirit as a female, mother-type figure because of Her comfort and peace.

So, let’s look again to our marriage imagery.  As you grow in your relationship with God, developing your spiritual and even emotional maturity, you will begin to sense powerful emotions and it feels amazing.  There is nothing quite like experiencing the presence of God in a deep, emotional way. This is a lovely place to be and I urge you not to rush through it.

It helped me to think of it this way: you are in the honeymoon phase, which is enveloped in fantastic emotions, and as any married couple will tell you, if you don’t enjoy your honeymoon then you’re doing it wrong.

But after a while, again, as any married couple will tell you, you realize it’s not all about the emotions.  They are certainly wonderful to experience, but it’s so much deeper than that.  You wake up to the same face day after day and it clicks with you: this is about commitment.  This is about dying to yourself because you love them, even though it’s difficult, and probably more difficult than you bargained for.

One of the most powerful things that God has revealed to me on this vow is that nothing is a formula.  It’s not a set of rules or dos and don’ts.  What we have with God is relational.  It’s a very fluid thing and it’s very imperfect because we are imperfect and God knows that.  That’s what allows us to have a real relationship and not just some holy to-do list.

If we can’t be completely honest with God and even others that are close to us about what we are feeling or thinking, something is missing.  I often get frustrated with God and we talk about it in, what some would consider, a very irreverent way.  I don’t believe that offends God because even if I didn’t say what I was thinking and feeling, it’s not like He doesn’t know.

It’s not about looking good to the Christian community or to the world’s idea of Christianity. It’s not about doing it right or being on your best behavior like always going to church and blessing your food before you eat.  Rather, it’s about being committed, dying to ourselves, and enjoying the soft freedom of honesty and imperfection in relationship with Him.

Yes, He’s the King of Kings and I definitely wasn’t there when He laid the foundations of the earth.  But He does want to talk to you like you’re a real person, not just a robot that’s programmed to spit back the right answers to Him.

The two of you have the rest of your lives together.  Maybe you should talk about it.

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

September 3, 2013

If you’re reading this right now, which you are, then this post most likely applies to you.  This is my way of saying I was wrong and I’m sorry.  I hope you will extend to me the undeserved honor of hearing me out.  Though I am thinking of a few instances in particular, this certainly applies to most anyone reading this, some far more than others, though, to be sure.

Before I started this Nazirite season of my life a friend of mine told me he felt like God was telling him that He was going to use this time to change me into the man He has set me apart to be.  You may not believe in prophecy and I get that, but I do and I trust the man that told me he heard this from God.  What’s more is that such transformation is indeed taking place, slowly and with much difficulty, but surely.

I say that to say this:  Though I still have a very long way to go, I shudder when I look back at the man that I have been in the past.  Again, with many of you I can recall discussions we’ve had, many more than once, where I represented Jesus very poorly.  I became frustrated with you and pointed fingers when I shouldn’t have.  In most cases, when I think back to our arguments, you were right.  There are very few exceptions to this.

In my mind I was helping.  From my perspective, you were misguided and you needed someone to help you see the truth.  The way I saw it, it was the loving thing to do.  Or for some of you, I was just a jerk.  I definitely did that a lot too.  But either way, when I think about how I handled it, I’m truly embarrassed.

My pretentiousness knew no bounds.  I wasn’t very loving at all.  Instead I beat you in the face with my opinion.  In all honesty, I think most of us could sit down over coffee and have those conversations again and we would probably see things quite similarly.  I’m ashamed that I damaged our relationship and I very much regret doing so.

 Image

So, to keep this from dragging on and on, I just want to say that I’m sorry.  By far, I have not arrived.  I still have to fight the temptation to constantly be right, but I definitely don’t want to be that kind of Christian ever again.

Thank you for listening.

If any of you want to talk please email me at watertrotter@hotmail.com.

I’d love to reconnect with you.

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

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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