Beginning July 31, 2013 — Work in Progress.
And it begins. It hit me this morning that the only way to get this done was to start. Then I had a clever bit of insight which I repeated in my head several times to make certain that I wouldn’t forget it before getting to a computer to write it down. I’ve forgotten what it was. Utterly.
And yes, something that will only fill half a page will be something that requires me to write out random thoughts as I have them and slowly grow the product. This is not prose… it is random rambling, outpouring of heart that hopefully may be refined later into something of significance… because that’s my story… a process of refining to become something that may be of some significance…while slowly realizing that I have always been significant… to God.
One thing I do remember was that the urge to write it out came to me while listening to a Living Waters podcast “Welcome to the Most Annoying Hour on Radio”. They were discussing some British pastors who were big in the Emergent Church movement and breaking down those pastor’s responses to interview questions about what makes for a good sermon and such. The one thing that was thematic throughout was that the EC pastors were all about ‘me’. They were the sort to like the quote, “Preach the gospel always, if necessary, use words.” [From memory, I’ll get it proper later when I have more time]. Todd “Freakishly Tall” Freil really turned the light of clear thinking on this phrase and identify it as “Me” based… He was clear that it should be words, the gospel first, and then our lives to support our words.
So… that made me wonder… A personal testimony. Is that not a “Me” spreading of the gospel? I don’t know. I’m not going to ponder it right now… I’m going to write out my testimony, and if at some point I firm up one way or the other, I’ll either share or not share my testimony, or share my testimony only after I’ve shared the gospel… or something…
I think my thought that I cannot remember was something to the effect of opening with a question such as, “Does this personal testimony ‑have- to be some engaging tale of a life of unrepentant sin and pain and then a come to Jesus moment (complete with date, time, location and what one was wearing at the time), and then a tale of a life changed, or would someone find it just as honest and engaging to hear a story of a person who was blessed to be born into the faith… a person who epitomizes Romans 3:23… a person who, is a sinner and has had the truth all along but has always warred between his sin-nature and the sanctification of being in faithful relationship with God? Is that not more truly a tale that everyone can relate to… even those who don’t know God and will have, or do and have had a Come-to-Jesus experience? Do not those experiences fall entirely within this venn diagram? I think I want my testimony to focus on a life being refined… of growth and backsliding, of sin and repentance of a God who keeps taking me back and a life that I believe is growing in the right direction… I am a stubborn arrogant intractable guy who trusts in himself and takes FOREVER to be shown something and repeated beatings about the head and neck to get my attention and maybe whap a few new bits of truth in… and those bits often have to be whapped in several times before they get absorbed within. If Philippians 1:6 is my most personally significant verse, then wouldn’t that be the story of the truth of that verse? God’s story of love and patience and redemption and grace was spread out over 66 books and generations of Jews… my life is simply a condensed version of the same story… falling away, coming back on my knees, being taken in, growing a bit, growing complacent, getting distracted, falling away or getting my thinking out of whack, coming back, repenting, being taken in, being broken, being grown, falling away.… I’m finally to the point where I think I may be ‑glad- that I don’t have a “Dreadfully-dying, Application/acceptance of wonder-drug, healing and health” story. I struggled with not having one and wondering, “How can someone who was blessed to be fed truth with his bottle possibly have a story that someone who has never been fed that truth is able to relate to and feel impacted?” I think I’ve just realized… what about all those people who are lost who aren’t going to have the Come-to-Jesus/Road to Damascus/Moment of Clarity… It seems there are more of them than the other… what if my story is one that a ragamuffin who realizes his brokenness and emptiness and that he’s incapable of finding the right way on his own, hears the story/offer, ponders, and then, in a quiet moment… not even sure exactly when, comes to Christ on his knees, broken and contrite and begs forgiveness and sincerely repents… so aware of his depravity that he almost can’t accept the gift that’s offered because he knows that justice is for him to die and to him the moment is not about receiving salvation, but finally comeing to the end of himself, dropping the self-lies and the excuses, and humbling himself before God… he would take the death if only he could know that, just before punishment was meted out, that he had found forgiveness and approval from his heavenly father… he would die to have it… quietly… While Angels REJOICE in all the heavens that yet another pilgrim has come to the foot of the cross and laid down his burden… and for that, he is picked up off his face and embraced and brought into God’s family, into fellowship, made clean, sanctified, endowed with the promise of everlasting life with his heavenly father and the sanctifying seal of and indwelling by the Holy Spirit… all to continue the journey onward from the cross… a journey that may only slowly begin to look different as refining begins.
For the first time I feel, “I can do this.” “I have something worthwhile to offer.” I always have, but I had to realize it. I’m stoked… but I’m also at the point of weeping after gushing out the previous into words. I need to get back to work… but I want to come back to this. Want to refine, define. But I also really want to read A Pilgrim’s Progress and let Bunyan again show me how incredible my story is… the story of every Christian who ever was. Show me and once again put it on my heart not to take it for granted, not to think that I’ve arrived, to trust God and not myself, to press onwards.[End 20130731a]