“I know all the things you do and that you have a reputation for being alive–but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what little remains for even what is left is almost dead. I find your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.” Revelation 3:2-3
I am Sardis.
Throughout my sabbatical I have had the opportunity to go to different churches to check out their family ministries. The Sunday after we returned from Florida, I was debating where to take my family in the Tulsa area. Due to my indecisiveness, at the last minute, I decided we would stay home and have church at home. Sarah mentioned watching Francis Chan, so I youtubed Francis and starting scrolling through the sermons and I came across, “The Biggest Lie”. Unbeknownst to me, the message on this particular Sunday let to the realization that I am Sardis.
I have a reputation for being alive. Ask anyone around and they would mention my passion for Jesus and missions and my family.
I was dead.
Not spiritually dead, but I can definitely put on a show. I can let people see just what’s on the surface and not let anyone closer. With what people see, I can get by. What people can see from a distance is the allusion that I am alive, but if I allowed someone to see my heart, they would have seen that I was struggling.
Ministry can and has done that to me. I tend to do things in my own strength rather than relying on the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.
And this, I believe is what God wanted to conquer in my life. He wanted me to stop long enough to see and hear the empty and shallow heart of mine that I had on cruise control. My comfort in my own doing had led to apathy.
I am so grateful for moments like these. God has to slap me in the face with His Word for me to really understand that I can’t do it on my own. Yes, people can say it to me, but when Jesus confronts me with the pure Word, I can do nothing but look at myself and repent. And He is going to have to continue to do such a thing in my life if I continue to run my life.
God woke me up on September 1. I sat there in front of my wife and kids confessing my sin. I had lived the biggest lie. I could not point the finger at anyone, but myself.
Talk about free-ing!
Since then, much has been about being rather than doing. I thought that on this sabbatical, I would come back with this grand plan and great ideas to move ministry forward, but now realize I would have remained in the chaotic cycle of doing, if I had not allowed Jesus to do some heart surgery.
So, I am having to go back(v.3) to the basics. I am going to hold to it firmly. I am going to hold to the Word of God firmly and not let the busyness of ministry steal God’s word to me on a daily basis. The constant call of help from so many cannot drown out the gentle whisper who desperately wants to just care for me.
Check out the sermon below from Francis…..
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.” Revelation 3:6