Sunday, our new pastors, Chad and Lindsay Garrison, were installed officially as our lead pastors. We are grateful that they are here, and we are expecting God to do great things through us as a whole church. It was a lovely little ceremony!
But the part that I enjoyed the most was the message Pastor Chad brought. I liked when he walked us through a story in Genesis of Abraham (Genesis 22:1-14) where he is taking his son with wood on his back up to the mountain and a knife in his hand ready to give over his son of promise. Laced in the message, Pastor Chad told the story of how God lead and guided them here to be with us through confusion, excitement, trust, loss of hope, and surrender.
The point of his message was to share through this experience of Abraham 3 postures that we can take to live an “altar-ed life.” A life that trusts God even when it doesn’t seem to make sense. Those 3 postures are humility, grace, and expectation. He said, “We have to learn to trust the process.”
He said or as I heard it, “If we could be known as a community of people full of humility and grace – just imagine what could happen! Especially since as we look out into the world, humility and grace are in short supply these days.”
God will test our faith. Will we trust Him or do we trust in the things He gives us? If you read the story and I encourage you to do so in the link above – what would have happened if he said no to God. We say no all the time and take matters into our own hands. Where is our faith exactly? Do we know?
Pastor Chad gave us 3 questions to ponder this week:
- What fears, concerns or doubts do you have about “altar-ing” everything you consider of value before God?
- What holds you back from giving God FULL control over everything?
- This week, ask God what you need to give back to Him. In humility, write out what that process will look like for you practically.
When I first read these questions (Pastor Chad sends them on the Thursday before to the team) I felt my eyes begin to well up with tears. I am not a crier but the Lord is doing a work in me about that. (more on that maybe some other time) I’d decided at the leading of Lord to lean into those random tearful moments. What I found was an altar-ing moment. I sensed a prideful stance in my heart that I quickly confessed and asked God to forgive me. As I confessed and prayed more and more tears flowed as I began to express some hidden desires and gratefulness that had not been expressed. I also was reminded of a promise that the Lord had given me 13 years ago and He revealed a place in my heart that had been holding back. I prayed for my family, my new pastors, our church family, and the state of our nation.
When we follow the leading of the Lord, He always leads us to Himself and directly into truth by exposing the lies that we are believing. See, here’s the deal. I am a control freak. So, I consistently have to be on guard to adjust my attitude and my stance. I’ve tried to be aware, as much as possible, of when I simply want my way. Mixed up in that is a little spur in my soul that prods me when I desire to trust God but I am holding myself back from Him. It’s a simple phrase you’ve probably heard: “it is what it is.” Now, to some, you may be thinking, “Sooo, what’s the big deal?” The deal is that I know that as long as I am saying, “it is what it is,” I am not trusting God. I am doubting. It’s a clever little trick of thinking that I give myself to escape. It is “just in case” it doesn’t work out. Basically I am saying, “OK God, I trust you, but if it doesn’t work out the way you say it will work out, that’s OK. I got a back up to lean on so that my heart doesn’t get hurt.” This trick is exactly what Pastor Chad is talking about concerning doubt. Plus this isn’t a new thought for me either. It is an old foe that has been with me for a very long time. It shows up every time a major change comes into my life that I can see is partnering with the promises of God. What’s really annoying is that it is still here after all these years that I’ve been walking with the Lord. Thank God for His grace. He continually shows me its ugly face. You may be thinking, “So, what do you do about it?” I go back to the same strengthening verse. I have stood on for years driving it deeper and deeper into my heart.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.Proverbs 3:5-6
All is grace,