post

Houses In The Sand

Therefore, everyone who hears these words
of mine and does them will be like a
wise man who built his house on the rock.

houses in the sand

The story goes that Jesus was traveling with the disciples from Judea to Galilee, a trip of about 70  miles, or around three days of walking. Tired and thirsty, they stopped for a bit by Jacob’s well. Jesus sent the disciples into the nearby town to get some food, while he stayed at the well.

A woman came to draw some water, and Jesus asked her to draw some water for him. Stunned by the fact that he would even acknowledge her existence, she said, “huh? What? Who, me?” (This is, as far as I can tell, a direct translation from the best Greek manuscripts.)

Jesus said, “If you knew who I was, you’d ask me for living water.”

Jesus is making this same statement to me right now. This was what he said to people over and over again in a variety of ways – I am the bread of life, I am the light of the world, I am the good shepherd, I am the door, I am the true vine. He’s been saying this to me for years. 35 years actually. And I did not have ears to hear.

Another one that I have consistently missed is this – seek first His Kingdom. I have sought so many things, but missed the Kingdom, missed the joy, missed the rest, missed the contentment – I have missed the relationship altogether.

I know so much! You’d be surprised. I underplay it, but I’m pretty smart. I can do so much! When I open my mouth, my knowledge just naturally pours out, and I know a lot about a lot of things – history, science, theology, biblical languages, philosophy. Seriously. Name something. I  can talk about it all day. I’m not bragging. Too much. God has made me this way – my mind is a sponge that soaks up information and has the ability to distill it down into a form that others can understand. I’ve built my life on these gifts.

I’ve built my life on these gifts and it has resulted in nothing but heartache, hurt, shame, guilt, fear and a loneliness that is beyond description. I have spent my life surrounding myself with people – I am at home in a crowd and have little difficulty becoming the center of attention. I crave it, I demand it. I am the life of the party. I seek to become the most important, the center of everyone’s universe. If you know me well you know all of this to be true.

When I left my last church about 10 years ago now, my world came to an end. I no longer had a crowd to give myself to. I no longer had the attention. I no longer had the platform, all eyes on me, every ear attuned, dying to hear what I had to say.

So what does a guy like me in a situation like that do? Whine, complain, cry, gripe, become cynical and bitter, and start a blog. You are my platform now. Nothing has changed.

This has been my link to the world. My source of output. My attempt to be important, to be somebody. Because without an audience, I am nobody.

These attempts of mine have been likened to (by a very wise man who truly get it) a person trying to power their computer by plugging a data cable into a wall outlet. All you get by doing this is burned.

My source, for so long, has been me, and what I know and what I can do. But I have come to the end of me. I can’t do any more.

This last week – just days ago – I entertained a variety of notions. Suicide was among them. It was not a strong contender, but it was on the table. I was going to withdraw from church, I was going to sell all my books (!), I was going to move away – leave everything behind – and just start over somewhere where nobody knew me and I could be whoever I wanted to be. Running away seemed like the only viable option, but I couldn’t do that either – I have an awesome family, I have a great job! Why can’t I just be happy?

Why? Because for my whole life, I have been trying to lift my own self up out of a pit using nothing but my own belt loops. And when I failed, when I couldn’t, I slipped even further away. Deeper and deeper. And the guy who holds the shovel is me!

It’s time to hand the shovel off to someone who stands above it all, who can start putting the dirt back into the hole, who has the power to lift me out of it once and for all. My house is built on the sand. I need bedrock – I need a firm foundation. I am so thirsty! I just need a cool drink of water, and I need it to not ever stop. There’s only one source for that kind of water.

In the last few days, Jesus has told me all about who I am as far as I’m concerned, and who I can become if I’ll just take a sip. I am (according to no one but myself) an awesome teacher of the Word, a deep thinker, a seeker of knowledge, smart – darn near brilliant. And when I engage in these activities, I feel even more empty. I can’t fill my water bucket myself with anything that will plug this gaping hole inside me. What God wants is for me to seek him – to be his child and nothing else – to let him tell me who I am – to sacrifice my calling and giftedness to him – to let him heal that part of me that seeks acceptance anywhere else but in his presence – to become truly free.

So – I am going to seek him now. I’ve been seeking for so long, and finding the wrong things. Now is the time to find out what God has to say about me, now is the time for me to listen to and for his voice. Now that I have nothing left to lose. It’s all gone, everything has been reduced to rubble in my insides and I need God to build what he wants on the foundation he provides.

I will be gone for a while. Until I get this straight. If you want to check in with me, my facebook account will still be active but I am logging out of all social media. I’m deleting all the apps from my phone. Leave me a note for when I come back or text me – my contact  info is on the “about” page on facebook. And above all – please pray for me and my family! I’m not done, I’m not giving up – I’m giving in, finally, and tuning in to what God has for me – and I’m more excited about this than anything!

“Now many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of what the woman said when she testified, “He told me everything I ever did.” Therefore, when the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him to stay with them, and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of what He said. And they told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world!
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