Yesterday my friend and mentor Craig Mayes was back in town from New York City and he preached at our church. It was the perfect way to close this chapter of our church’s story as we transition from meeting at Heritage Church on Sunday nights to Shelby Jr. High on Sunday mornings (starting next Sunday!). It was one of those sermons where God spoke through Craig directly to me. I played it back this morning and transcribed (and paraphrased) some of what he said. May you be as challenged as much as I was by what Craig said:
“What if you were an author writing a story and you created a character. But the character kept doing things other than what you wrote. You’re writing how you want him to go do this and go do that and all of a sudden you see him doing something else.
Do you understand how bizarre that would be! You’re writing a story but the character you created won’t let you write the story you want to write. Because your character has free will and he keeps making his own decisions and writing his own story.
That’s what I think we do.
We say, “Jesus I love you. I believe in you. I put my faith in you. I trust you. I’m going to follow you…EXCEPT I’m going to go over ‘here’ and do ‘this.’” And Jesus says, “But I’m going over ‘there’ and I’ll be doing ‘that.’” So we reply, “Ok, well, I’ll catch up with You later.”
Now we don’t actually do it that blatantly . . . but don’t we do that daily?
Jesus wants to write an amazing story with our lives, and it only requires us to do one thing…and it’s the hardest thing in the world…and that is to surrender. Because if we surrender, our life will be a story written by God that is way better than The Lord of the Rings.
God wants to write a story that will impact eternity with each of our lives. But to do that, it comes down to this, to what Jesus said in John 12: “Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am.” (John 12:26).
Building our relationship with God on the belief that He is always with us (Matthew 28:20) makes it easy for life to be about us and our agenda, which we think that Jesus gladly joins. But building our relationship with God on the idea that we will be where Jesus is (because we are following Him) means that we have to set aside our agenda — we have to “hate” our life — and follow His agenda. And that leads to the full life He promised to His followers (see John 10:10).
With every decision that I make throughout the day, am I saying MY will be done or THY will be done? Is my life about inviting Jesus to join my story, or is it about Jesus inviting me to join His?
***New Time. New Location. This Sunday begins a new chapter in The Eastside Vineyard’s story. It is our first-ever service at Shelby Jr. High at 10:30am. We will be continuing our verse-by-verse look at the gospel of Matthew as I preach out of Matthew 7. Plus, Brett McQueen will be back once again leading worship. Plus, there will be communion and an opportunity to receive 1-on-1 prayer. Sunday. October 9th. 10:30am (!) More info at tevchurch.org***