Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Making room in my heart

A famous innkeeper had to decide if he had room for Joseph and Mary. He didn't know he also had to decide if he had room for Jesus or not.

Pastors have the same decision to make. Not just in making room for Jesus in thier hearts and minds, but in so doing, making room for all those people and things that Jesus is concerned about.

That sounds simple. But it isn't. It means that thoughts about myself, the distractions of media culture, an a countless number of other things must be forceably removed to make room for the new things. And that my friends, is real work and warfare. Even tonight I found myself blogging some facts, because I didn't want initially to make room for real intimacy with God; self reflection; and companionship with you. So I had to take some time to clear out the mess of bills, boxes, e-mails, and other things to get really alligned correctly inside.

It's like this for everyone who follows Jesus. Turning off the TV to read the Bible; turning down dinner with a friend to have dinner with an unbeliever; Praying for others instead of just for ourselves; studying what needs to be known instead of being entertained by what we desire.

So this starts with some real action steps. These are some of mine:

  1. Spend 2 hours with 5 stones fully focused on my heart and mind every night through prayer and blogging. I've already started this.
  2. Tomorow the TV fast begins for the whole family. We will fast from the media in order to feast on the presence of God.
  3. I just got a list of people at 5 stones. Next week I will need to start carving out a timeslot to pray for them every day.

This is a start. But when I get there will i really have room for everyone? To answer this let me tell you a true story from today.

My daughter madison had a loose tooth and she asked me to pull it. Usually I would do this but I decided to do something a little different. My son chip and her had been at each other all afternoon. So I told her to have him pull it. She refused and I didn't push it. Later on that evening she was so desperate that she finally let him do it. In so doing they restored trust and love in thier relationship and bonded deeper through a shared experience. This is exactly how I want my family to function. With chip being the 1st disciple and teaching and taking care of madison who does the same to mikey [who still terrorizes the cats, but we hope she will grow out of that] My point in all this is really simple. There will always be room for you in my Inn, but I will be adding on ASAP so that there are enough rooms for everyone. Which means every leader in the church needs to be prepared to be discipled as a pastor. Pastoring is the primal means of leadership in a church.

Pastors need to:

  • Be able to be led and pastored by God
  • Lead and pastor themselves
  • Lead and pastor thier families
  • Pastor the lost

Our house is lovingly called "the commune" by our friends. It has been an Inn to: Suicidal teenagers; drug addicts; homeless couples and a ton of other fun things. Hospitality is not the same as fellowship. Fellowship is aimed at fellow believers. Hospitality is aimed at strangers and usually the unchurched.

Fellowship and Hospitality are crucial components of growing deep in God. But they always start with accepting the hospitality of Christ who as a stranger you invite into your heart. And then hospitality where your fellowship with Jesus becomes a rich committment of love and turns into fellowship.

And all of this to say: You need Jesus way more than you need me. All I will do, at best, is point to him. And in turn he will let you rest safetly in the Inn of his love. And then he will send you out to strangers and teach you how to give away that love which you have recieved and to make room for them in your heart and in turn teach them to make room for others. This is the great revolution of love. This is what turns the world upside down. This is what I sense we need to unleash on Ashland.

I John explains this better than I. [look it up, I won't let you be lazy by posting it here]

Prayer: "God let us rest in you tonight as Mary and Joseph did in that Inn all those years ago. We are frantic about many things, but only one thing is needed. To curl up by the fireplace of your love and grace. To drink the warm hot chocolate of the word of God. And to feel the warmth of your nearness as we worship, like the glow and heat that comes from the fire and light of the Spirit. Help us all tonight to really enjoy this special privilidge as your children. And having rested well tonight, and played with you in our dreams, awaken us with a kiss in the morning and lead us into an adventure with you in the morning."

Sweet dreams my brothers and sisters.

Amen [I agree]



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