Breaking Through Your Spiritual Desert
Have you ever found yourself in a spiritual desert? What did it look like? What did it feel like? What was the end result of that spiritual journey?
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I have to admit that my spiritual journey through the desert was unpleasant and even at times devastating in my life. But I know for each of us these times net different results and I am sure we deal with them differently.
Sometimes they can last for days while others could last for years. We see these wandering manifests themselves throughout scripture. And we know that these moments in our faith can be brought on by our own actions and sometimes by the actions of others.
But no matter how we enter the desert I am confident that God has something to show us even when we don't know or understand what the results are going to be.
This is what happened in my own wandering moment.
I was a pastor for several years before I had my own crisis of faith. I allowed myself to get to a place where I was leaving my first love and doing minister under my own power instead of the power of the Holy Spirit.
I went from a place of totally relying on God to manufacturing and directing my own life. We we're no longer producing anything larger than what man could produce.
I don't mean to be cynical and I don't blame the church at all for what I am about to saybecause we are accountable for own our faith and walk with the Lordbut I did hear about a Korean pastor who visited the USA religion forces of the day and he summarized his visit by saying. Its amazing what you people can do without the Holy Spirit.
A.W. Tozer said that if the Holy Spirit was removed from the church on Saturdaymost would go on the next day like nothing ever happened.
That was the life I was living. And it was that feeling that led me into my own desert wilderness. I finally came to the place in my life where I knew this was not what Christ had died on a cross for. And since I could not see any other way to live my life in ministryI slowly found myself pulling further and further away from God.
It eventual led me to a place of desperation and total abandonment of the faith and calling that God had placed on my life. I was ready to quit and just fade off into the sunset.
Up until about a month ago I was living in that spiritual desert. Even after serving in a church and having some great ministriesI found myself really questioning a lot of things. I found myself living in the world of Eli the priest. I was doing what I know I was supposed to be doing but there was nothing coming from God. No dreams, visions, or real direction on what I was suppose to be doing.
1 Samuel 3
1 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there we're not many visions.
When you live in the days of Eli you continue going through the motions of your faith but you really don't hear from God or get any real since of direction or understanding. You go to church, pray, read your bible, and do the things you should dobut for some reason you don't find your life making an impact. In some extreme cases you find yourself living in this spiritual wilderness or desert.
It is not a pleasant place to be!
What I failed to realize at the time was that this was exactly where I had to be in order to move onto the next phase of my faith and ministry. While I was running as far and hard as I could away from GodGod was setting the stage for me to hear the greatest message I have ever heard. He was placing me in a situation where I could once again here his voice and understand His calling in my life.
I will close this first writing by sharing with you a real life transformation taking placethese are the writings and journal I was keeping as I came out of this spiritual journey that lasted for close to 2 years.
Let me set up the story
Don Waybright at Sugar Creek invited me to come with him and 32 others to a week long training session. It is called the Keystone Project. It is taught by Richard Green. I will tell you nowyou don't him or his ministry. It is an invite only kind of deal.
However, what was about to happen next is only from Godand could have happened only when God was ready to reveal his plan to me.
But before I tell you what happened and what the end result waslet me share with you how broken and unsure of myself I truly was this is what I wrote in my notes before the training started.
Before starting Keystone projectI have no job other than commission with Home Depot. I have been a pastor for eleven years. I have no direction and very little faith in God any longerMy wife needs me back as the man of God
I have no idea what will come from this week but I pray it changes me for everwe will see what happens
Those are the exact words I wrote down before the training began
Day Two of the training I wrote these words
I am feeling much betterhad a word from the Lordbut I am praying to confirm that it was from himbut it is in the order of making disciples
Met with a man that is a missionary to Africa and thinking through how to build disciples in America that build disciples throughout the nations.
Those we're the exact words I wrote on day two
Then day three
My Life has changedI feel as though I was saved againI hope I never forget that as I am receiving a calling from the Lord that a man told me that I should be spending the year at Astroworldwhat a contrast to what is going on in my spirit
However in my mind I am thinking of spreading the Glory of God among the nations
Those we're the words I wrote on Day three
And then day four cameand this is what I wrote
I have spent two mornings praying to God for clarity of what it is that I am too do. It is becoming clearer in my mind and I know that I am called to fulfill the great commissionand I am to do that through making disciples
What I don't know yet is how to do that. I will use the Key Stone project but have a desire to do even morebut I am wondering if anything above making disciples is more than what I am called.
For instance I have a burden for planting churchesbut I do not fit within the current model of the churchI never haveI can see how we can plant missional communities around the citybut I am hesitant to call them churchesIs it wrong to call them churcha minor problembut something I am struggling with because it moves beyond just making disciplesI am so legalistic at timesBut I find comfort in knowing that God will show me what I am too do
I think I need a better understanding of what a church is outside of my trappings and understandings of the only system I ever knew?
What is encouraging is that I am no where near the place that I was on Mondaytwisting in the wind with no direction or even desireit is amazing what can happen when someone strong enough can snap you out of a desert.
I quit journaling after thatand began creating againsomething I had not done in almost 2 years. I was unaware of how empty my cup was in ministry and how far I had fallen since the first days of my salvation. I was surprised at how prideful I was.
But what I am thankful for is the renewed since of calling and understanding of who I am in Christ and what I am called to do. I can not tell you how joyful I am to be in ministry again doing exactly what God has called me to doand to have a since of what the church is and how to minister within that context. For the first time since giving my life to God I feel as though I fit and can minister to the people God brings to us
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Posted in Churches/Faith/Religion Post Date 11/24/2016