Archive for June, 2008
(and Other Issues of Life at IHOP-KC…)
Reflection #1: I’m normally on vacation right now
As June comes to an end and July is around the corner, I find myself sitting on one of the most unusually eventful yet stunningly mundane June 30th’s I can ever remember. For years, this was our family vacation time. Going back eleven years, I made a point to take (when I was a staff pastor) my allotted two weeks with my family around the July 4th holiday, so that I could sneak in a few extra days of rest. When we moved to Kansas City, this time of the year always coincided with the end of the Onething Internship that I directed for a year and a half; my wife took over and led the internship for another four years. Last year was really the first time we found ourselves free to take our family vacation wherever we wanted to on the schedule, and to be honest the freedom led to a poorly planned family vacation last year. I’m not sure what our fate will be this year, the proverbial jury is still out.
Taking over this year as the Executive Director of Awakening Teen Camp meant that this time of year was not an option for our vacation. Which, as an instructor at the Forerunner School of Ministry, means that my options for time away with my family are severely dwindling. Which is, in itself, ironic - because if I were anywhere else in the nation I would want to take my family to the prayer room for our vacation. Now, we’re forced to come up with restful options that begin with fleeing the city. Back to the matter at hand, I am now finding that nine months out of the year are now really “off-limits” for vacation time, including the much coveted month of January in which a surprising number of birds fly south during the relative lull in activity. By “lull”, of course, I mean “lack of new initiatives” not “lack of numerical growth” or “lack of activity”, since, as I’ve noted here before, there really isn’t a “good time to get away” in my world.
Reflection #2: Conferences can be both easy and exhausting at the same time
If you’re wondering why my “reflections on Fascinate 08″ is beginning with an extended homily about good times for a family vacation, you probably haven’t led a national conference before. Of course, the conference itself was a surprising amount of fun for myself and those that helped me make the logistics work, particularly the platform logistics of look, feel, and content. As I’m sure you have guessed, a fairly large amount of work and time goes into making these things go; yet at the same time there is a surprising ease to implementing one of these. There are always things that can be improved and tweaked, but I am a bit in awe about how skilled folks around this place are at putting one of these things on. Again, as you can imagine, the labor of moving and seating and navigating two thousand people between three locations (between main sessions, prayer rooms, and breakout locations) is quite an undertaking. I am in awe of the mechanisms that are in place to pull a conference off here and, in the words of the very skilled Lenny Laguardia, how “turn key” all of those mechanisms are.
Thus I found that the conference was both surprisingly easy and still non-surprisingly exhausting. Having found this out, I now am finding myself spending my first day of the forty-day fast staring out into space, trying to figure out optimum family vacation times. Reflecting slightly randomly (but surprisingly intentionally - this submission is filled with paradoxes) this morning leads me back to the most eventful, mundane, strange June 30th’s I’ve ever had. Again, it’s the first day of our corporate fast. The conference is now behind me. Yet we are about to begin session 2.0 of Awakening Teen Camp - and this time we have 400 teenagers descending upon our little missions base. We had 300 for the first session, which culminated with the conference. For most normal people, that would be a fitting conclusion to a succesful season of youth ministry. For me, that’s the beginning of my non-stop summer that doesn’t really conclude with the Call DC, since I have to turn right around and begin my semester on August 18th (the day after my birthday). In case you weren’t sure, I’m really not complaining - I am reflecting…though at the moment I am sure that you are a bit skeptical about that assertion.
Reflection #3: I need to get better at my job
Many of you who have been following this space for a while, which means you probably could write this next paragraph. If it seems hoplessly redundant in a strangely Sysiphean way, I understand. Sysiphus was, according to Greek mythology, the Corinthian king who was doomed to roll a boulder up a hill (having it promptly roll back down again) for eternity. I don’t feel that way about my current plight. The plight, of course, for those of you who are new to this space and wondering what I am rambling on about, is my constant fight to carve out a true life in God amidst the noise and traffic of life. It seems that I have written here at great length about the difficulty of serving in a prominent way at a national ministry that also happens to embody everything I’ve longed for in terms of sitting before the Lord. The tension of work and prayer and prayer as work is one of the most magnificent dilemmas I could have stumbled into. I have never been so consistently bad at something in my entire life. I’m in year seven and I still can’t quite figure it out.
The tagline of this particular website does not read, “I’m a conference speaker, and it’s the end of the age” after all. No, I’m an intercessory missionary, and I’m not particularly good at my job. That is how I am feeling on the first day of this forty day fast. I don’t feel exhilarated that the ministry I am a part of was helpful this weekend. I feel the same way about being on television this weekend as I did after my first book was published: nothing. Nada. No sense of accomplishment, no sense of arrival, and no sense of satisfaction. Nope, I mostly feel bad at my job. I suppose if my job was to put on conferences, I would feel thrilled right now. Since my job is to pray and fast, I’m not really excited about my performance review.
Now, the conference itself, in my humble opinion, was exactly what I hoped it would be. I don’t know if I would change much, in regards to the main sessions. Beyond the expected hiccups, how can you go wrong with a conference that begins with Corey Russell, hits the first night with Eddie James and Lou Engle, goes the very next morning to Allen Hood? I mean, that to me is a great first three sessions. That evening was Mike, the next morning was Misty - for me, I was seriously enjoying how things were going. The worship sets were fantastic and intense. The teenagers were hungry, receptive, and persistently joyful. Then we culminated with the final session, and what I thought was the best time of worship at the entire conference with Matt Gilman and Cory Asbury. I can’t even really complain with how my preaching time went, other than potentially offending half of the God TV viewership with some of my blunt statements about the pre-trib rapture, money, the condition of the church, revival, and a small handful of other controversial topics. So don’t get me wrong - I am thankful to the Lord and tender about His zeal for teenagers around the nation. In terms of serving my Friend, I enjoyed myself. In terms of being a true friend of God, however, I have a ways to go.
Reflection #4: I cannot be consoled or comforted
Again, this means that, when it comes to my primary job description, I’m not that happy with myself. My job before the Lord carries a secondary assignment related to the next generation. I am well aware of the implications of doing badly at my first job: it means I end up being pretty bad at the assignments and jobs that flow out of my main occupation. It’s the nature of what I have signed up for - I will never imagine that the succesful event or the great testimonies vindicate my prayer life and lead me to a place of true rest. True rest, for me, is knit to what I preached about on Saturday evening: I will rest when the Lord rests. He will rest when He has found a resting place. Therefore, I will be continually restless until He brings heaven to earth. For some, this may seem like a particularly miserable way to live - I have seemingly signed up for a lifelong reality of deep frustration and discontentedness. For me, the alternative (pretending that successful ministry equals a good conference, pretending that things are fine, pretending that there is no shaking and trouble coming, etc.) seems quite miserable. I refuse to imagine that I am successful until I have the confidence of Paul at the end of his life.
I want my last words to be like his - that I fought the good fight.
This is a lifelong fight to truly walk with God as His friend, His bondservant, and, in the occupation He has chosen for me, His priest. I have signed up, willingly and joyfully, to mourn. He promised me that if I would, that I would be comforted. I would much rather go that route than be comforted now only to mourn later. Such is the wisdom of the hour, as bitter as it may be for many to swallow. And so I will lead and build as I have been commissioned to by the Lord in this season. 400 teens are coming. Thus I must partially fast and mourn that I cannot go deeper. I must partially serve and mourn that I cannot be more effective. I must partially pray, study, and write, and mourn that I cannot be given and abandoned in prayer the way that my heart longs for. As I tug on the natural restraints that the Lord has placed on my life to keep me focused and reigned in, I truly am beginning to feel, a little bit, like a bondservant - constrained and restrained from the yearnings of my heart to put my hand on a plow and not look back.
Reflection #5: I press on
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
- Philippians 3:12-14
Such as it is, I “press delete” on the conference, the last session of ATC, I forget all that was of yesterday to press on yet again. Time to joyfully begin a 40 day fast by tenderly receiving 400 hungry teenagers and attempting to charge them to “follow me as I follow Christ,” though I am not particularly pleased with how I am living that charge. I am thankful for the divine irony and tender at His perfect leadership, which means that, on the first day of this 40 day fast, I am joyfully miserable.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
June 30th, 2008
After all these years, I feel as if you are going to be introduced to my first actual “blog post”. What do I mean? Well, this is one of the few things I’ve ever written on this space that has ever felt “bloggy”: a slightly random, stream of consciousness, flowing jumble of thoughts that lack organization while functioning as a glimpse into a slice of someone’s life. Blogs have functioned for many as another form of “reality television” in the manner in which they provide such an intimate glimpse into the life and thoughts of another human being. When I write the things I write they post immediately, first draft, with little to no pre-planning or thought - but they are still devotional articles that flow from my heart versus an autobiographical glimpse into the actualities of my life. Since I’ve already come this far, I’ll plow ahead with this little parenthetical insertion into the typical format of this space. I have no illusions, however, that these paragraphs will be memorable in any way.
It’s quite bizarre to write the words of the title of this little aside as if I’m writing about doing laundry or washing dishes - but quite honestly that’s what it feels like and it’s probably all the same before the Lord in terms of “pulling weeds in the hot sun”. In other words, it’s tiring, helpful, restraining, sweaty, keeps me out of trouble, and forces me to pursue sustaining life in God continually related to serving the youth of our generation. Secondly, I’m not going to act like God is impressed. In other words, whether it’s laundry, dishes, or a national conference, God cares about what my heart looks like in the doing - not the size of what I’m doing. I never want to imagine that God is suddenly impressed with me because I’ve doubled the number of my laundry output or I now am able to wash thousands more dishes than last year. I would be so bold as to say that God delights in me far more when I am serving my family washing dishes when no one is looking than when I’m pulling weeds in front of 2000 teenagers.
Of course, when you’re pulling weeds on God TV, that becomes an oddity in itself. Of course, God still isn’t impressed, even when you’re on the television channel that bears His name. My viewership fluctuates depending on the venue, but I can always count on One terrifying Viewer to the “David Sliker Show”. My life is the ultimate reality show that God is always watching. Ugh. I am so thankful for mercy and kindness. He is outrageously merciful. Can you imagine someone watching every detail of your life while knowing your every thought? The very notion of another human - no matter how close to me - having that kind of continual access into my life, my emotions, and my thoughts to that level of intimacy is quite terrifying to contemplate. Yet God has always enjoyed that level of access into the depths of my being. I’ve come to the place, in the grace of God, where I am horrified, convicted, stirred, and focused on taking every thought captive by the grace of God and exerting all of my might to love Him well. Someday, when we re-watch the story of my life, I want to have an enjoyable ending with as little embarrassment as possible.
I’ve been thinking a little bit about late-night weekend television since the Fascinate conference is on after the Lakeland meetings on Friday and Saturday night. What is interesting to me is that my competition on other parts of the television world include the Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live. I’m preaching on the glory and “the gory” of the Second Coming on Saturday night (Mike Bickle is talking about intimacy with Jesus tonight, and I’m in the studio talking about the conference and our Awakening Teen Camp). Will the drama of the Second Coming be a ratings blockbuster? Probably not this weekend, but I’m guessing Jesus will far surpass their viewership someday - at least according to Revelation 1:7. So I’m willing to bide my time.
Short report on the conference: I want to stay at FSM as long as I possibly can, even though I’ve never seen it this packed with people. So far, no one seems to mind the difficulty, even in the morning and afternoon meetings, with finding seats. All things considered, I cannot communicate how enjoyable it is to run a conference in this building. There are fewer logistics to manage, more room to make life work as normal as possible, and comfy places to tuck away while getting work done. Hence, my ability to fire this out there on a relatively trouble-free afternoon. Secondly, I have to admit I do enjoy watching eighty to ninety percent of a building jumping up and down in unison with an anointed worship song. Outside of that, I’m quite tired.
June 27th, 2008
Yes, it’s another series. No, I haven’t forgotten the other ones. It’s just that I am captivated and tender in heart today as I think about Jesus, the Servant of all. Here are portions of my thoughts on the subject of Jesus the servant, through the lens of His incredible act of humility from John 13:3-9:
3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”
7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
8 Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” (John 13:3-9)
Infinite power is yours, now go scrub some feet
First, I am stunned by the way in which John begins his account of what happened: he states, “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands… rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.” Or, say it this way: Jesus, knowing that…He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.” In other words, Jesus knew two things about Himself in that moment, and knowing those things led to an action that, in our way of thinking, doesn’t quite match the information.
I’ll use this example. You win the lottery. It’s fifty million dollars. What is the first thought that comes to your mind? If you’re like every other human on the planet, you think about what you are going to buy, where you are going to go, or what debt you are going to cancel. It’s how we all are wired to think in our carnality - once we are handed resources (money, power, honor), the first things we are concerned with tend to be 1.) how to make our life better; 2.) how to make our circumstances change; and 3.) how to alleviate stress. I am sure that there are a few other-worldly mystics reading this that commune in the perfection of godly motives, but for the rest of us, it’s simply reflexive.
That’s what fascinates me about Jesus’ reflexive, in the moment response to His knowledge of His status, privilege, security, and power base. It’s quite unlike any man that has ever lived, and there is no chance that you are I in our current condition would have made the same choice if we received the same information. “David Sliker, the Father has just given all things into your hands!” Now, because I’m not entirely carnal and, in this stage of my life, I care about different things than I used to, I am sure that I would try to do something helpful with that new information. I am also sure I would not immediately throw a towel around my waist and decide to become my student’s servant.
Servant means more than “serving”
The problem with hearing a word over and over is that it can become culturalized and overly familiar. I am certain that this has happened in Christian culture with the concept of Jesus the Servant, by which “servant” has been reduced to a cool leadership concept, a valuable lesson, and a missions project in which we raise some money to go build a church together. Our minds simply will not allow us to embrace the concept of Jesus embracing the lowliness and the meekness of becoming a true servant for His friends, lowering Himself in His outrageous humility to a place below His students in that upper room. He did not become a “servant” according to 21st Century church culture, which again is little more than being a little helpful when someone else is in need. He became a “servant” according to 1st century Hebrew culture, in which the hired attendant helped the powerful Lord make the details of his life work.
It’s why Peter was horrified that night.
It’s hard for us to relate to Jesus the Servant. That the Messiah and King of the Earth would serve us as a Friend rather than command us to obey offends our sensibilities. Much of how we are wired and how we think is similar to Peter – when one who has greater authority than we have relates to us we have a tendency to defer, honor, and take the lower place. This is not because we are humble by nature – it is actually because of the exact opposite: it is because we would expect (and sometimes demand) that others would do the same for us when we came into our place of authority. Peter was relating to Jesus in the same manner that he expected others would relate to him when he achieved greatness, thus he had no clue what to do our how to relate to Jesus when his Master and Rabbi girded Himself with a towel and began to wash their dusty feet.
Again, this was the posture of a literal servant in the circles of power and privilege in eastern culture; Jesus was taking on the role of the lowly servant – and also elevating his disciples to the place of the privileged lord or nobleman in the process. This was unheard of in eastern culture for a famous Rabbi or spiritual leader to act in such a manner. The powerful Sanhedrin had disciples with political ambitions who were glad to serve these wealthy, powerful, well-connected influencers in the hopes of being promoted into positions of power and influence themselves. Jesus radically redefines greatness, power, and authority for us all in this one act. He genuinely, and tenderly, expressed a kingdom of heaven value and a kingdom of heaven mindset by relating to His disciples in this manner.
It’s who Jesus is not just what He did (and still does)
We imagine, in that upper room that night, Jesus the Great Teacher teaching His guys one more lesson before retiring to the Garden of Gethsemane. Our minds reel and stagger a bit when it begins to dawn on us that Jesus actually thought that way and that His behavior in that moment is consistent with how He has always viewed Himself, beyond the “lesson” He wanted to transfer. He still thinks this way, as a matter of fact. His servant-hearted posture towards us did not end at the cross. That one act of service is a window into the heart of the ultimate Servant. This point is initially offensive, yet later on exhilarating and awesome to consider. It really does change so many things when we begin to relate, with holy fear, to Jesus the Servant.
I mean, really - can we imagine the President of the United States showing up at our house, throwing a towel around his waist, and washing our car and vacuuming the floor? We would respond a bit like Peter did that night. We don’t know what to do about a God that loves to serve. We have to keep in mind that this mindset is so foreign to us that Jesus said plainly to Peter, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” Those twelve young men, and subsequently, all of us, were not equipped to grasp the implications of what Jesus was doing. Yet, when it dawns on us that this is who Jesus is, it makes our hearts to tender and awestruck at His kindness and love for us.
For Jesus, in taking on the form of a bondservant…
(And, as a parenthetical insertion, here is the definition of “bondservant”:
bond.ser.vant; n. 1. A person obligated to service without wages. 2. A slave or serf. )
…or, to put it another way, , taking on the form of a slave or serf, Jesus did more than clean dirt off of dusty feet and teach a bunch of simple guys a cool lesson on humility. He actually dignified and elevated them with unspeakable honor, assigning value and worth to their lives that defies description. He was demonstrating who He is, expressing His character and nature - and, in turn, demonstrating for us that our Father in heaven thinks and acts this way towards us as well. He did something else that night, something so incredible I can hardly grasp it: by demonstrating who He is towards us, He also demonstrated who we are to Him. He bestowed a value upon us that is incomprehensible. When the President of the United States takes us under his wing to train us, that’s pretty cool. When the President comes alongside of us and calls us a friend and a comrade, that feels pretty good. Now when he comes underneath us in status and rank, committing to become our slave, our serf, or our bondservant…
“…but you will know after this.”
And so they did, as He hung from that tree.
June 18th, 2008
I’m listening this morning to Mike’s sermon on spiritual identity and standing victorious as one loved by God. I am loving it; it is refueling the declaration of my heart to stand before Jesus with a heart great in love rather than a life great in accomplishment. The things that John the Apostle cared about versus that which I tend to care about form an instructive and provocative challenge and invitation to aggressively declare again my intention to pursue my exceedingly great reward in God. I want my standard of greatness to be found in the greatness of being loved by God. I want to be fascinated by the beauty of His heart towards me - completely captivated by the movements of His heart towards me.
As such, my prayer is to pursue the primary blessing of the emotions of God touching my heart and not get sidetracked or derailed by the secondary blessings of God that come with favor on my life. I want my heart and my life to be oriented rightly with a value system that exalts Jesus and His love for me as the highest achievement of my life and the reality that sets my course and my emotions. What do I delight in? The answer to that question is the key to my longevity as one who is pursuing a burning heart for God over many decades.
June 15th, 2008
My wife totally busted me a week ago.
She looked me square in the eye and said, “You told me that I could tell how your prayer room time is going by the volume of things you write on your website.” I gave her a sheepish smile and sighed. She was, of course, absolutely right. I’ve been backsliding and spending my internal “oil” of devotion to Jesus rather foolishly.
Losing My First Love
The past two months has been a whirlwind of preparation for Awakening Teen Camp (and hundreds of teenagers invading IHOP-KC for five weeks), traveling on weekends for ministry and teaching, building and establishing a city-wide High School Prayer Initiative, and the final press for the upcoming High School Conference: Fascinate 08, to be followed by next year by “He Is Mine 09″ and “In the Lions Den 2010″, culminating with “Headin’ For Heaven 2011″. Not really. We’re actually calling next year’s conference “Fascinate 09″, but that is besides the point here, isn’t it? Well, the diversion of the past few sentences is actually a great metaphor for the entirety of my point. It is astonishing how often really minor things become major diversions.
I want to be clear and precise: while I am thankful for the impact that our conferences have and the fruit they produce, and I am serious about seeing fiery, passionate, revival prayer meetings on High School campuses, I did not sign up for this life to run a conference ministry or be a conference speaker. While seeing prayer return to schools (and, hopefully, in a far more dynamic iteration) is a critical cause in this time and the Lord is opening up many doors, this can never be my primary pursuit. It’s an assignment. I take assignments from the Lord seriously. I will encounter the pleasure and grace of the Lord in significant ways related to the assignments He gives me, and I will find significant rewards related to faithfulness in the little in the age to come.
I can never lose sight of the fact, however, that these are “little things” that the Lord is inviting me into to give me a context for faithfulness. What often happens is that I (and all of humanity) lose perspective along the way. The “little assignments” from the Lord take on an importance that is far more connected to my ego than it is a divine assignment. That’s why I so rarely talk about what I am “doing” for the Lord on this space - these articles form the journal of my heart and a picture of my pursuit. I should probably be a bit more informative at times related to what I am doing and what is happening (and I try to be), if not for my own memory and record later on - but often it’s hard to write about those things. I try to write about the things of the scripture or of the Spirit of God that are moving my heart. That is why I made that observation to my wife (who then later made the observation back to me) - when my heart is connected, thoughts and ideas that interest me about God, life, the world we live in, the scriptures, and well, all manner of surprising things emerge from my mind and heart when I’m in the place of consistent prayer for long hours.
Remembering the First Things
Thus, this is my confession. I’ve been in the prayer room sporadically but intentionally not writing much over the past month or so attempting to regain a flowing, tender heart alive with ideas and zeal for the beauty of God. My heart has been alive to a measure with ideas and plans related to my assignments and ministry, which is fine. It just happens to be far short of the vision that I have established for my life and the pursuit of God that I have declared to be the primary focus of my heart. I do not want to see Jesus face to face and offer Him a vibrant ministry or a completed assignment. I want to see Jesus face to face and give Him a heart established in meekness and obedience fueled by extravagant devotion and affection. I love Jesus. As such, I am happy to serve Him - but at times the details of my service have become the main focus of my time and energy.
That’s why I am excited about an upcoming 40-day fast that Lou Engle has invited many to participate in. For me, it’s a gift from the Lord. In the current season that I am in, there is no good time to go on an extended fast. I had been trying to figure out my schedule and lay out the most “convenient” time to give myself to a long fast. Of course, when that is the mission statement, no such time will ever be found. I was growing discouraged, and I could feel the gnawing and growing desperation in my heart for a time to immerse myself in the scriptures with prayer and fasting. So when Lou proposed to a small group of us the series of fasts that he desired to call folks to, my heart lept. I can’t say I’ve been this enthusiastic about a long fast before.
I’m ready for my heart to be re-oriented again. I can already feel it happening as I say “yes” to God again related to a fresh pursuit of beauty and fascination. The little fasts I do weekly seem to have way more punch then they have over the past year. I have that feeling, emotionally, like I’m going to be seeing a close friend soon that I haven’t seen in a while. If Jesus were strolling down the rocky path on His way to see me, I think I would just start running out to see Him in my great impatience. This has been the consuming desire of my life: I want to see, know, and encounter Jesus. The frantic pace at which I run can often distract me from that end, but I am ready to set myself with particular zeal over forty days to re-establish my heart into it’s forgotten ache. I miss my Friend.
There are so many ways that I relate to Jesus in prayer, study, and proclamation. Jesus the King, Jesus the Judge, Jesus the Shepherd and Jesus the Leader are some of the most familiar ways, because of my end-times studies. I need some time to reconnect with Jesus the Bridegroom - I know that. Yet, the stirring of my heart is to go back to the first things of my walk with Jesus, the first way I learned to relate with Him. I want to find my Friend again, the One who has humbly served and loved me tenderly in my weakness and my lack. What a Friend I’ve had in Jesus! The One who helped a 12-year old new believer overcome major issues of fear and oppression. The One who patently met me in tears, songs, and sermons, at the altar at summer camp and in the trees of my back yard, walking and talking with Him alone.
Regaining the First Things
I want to take 40 days and rest in Him again. So often long fasts that I have done have been related to my calling, my destiny, or my desire to be obedient and faithfully fervent. This one has a different feel for me, one very similar to the second long fast I went on as a believer: the “Fifty Days of Extravagant Devotion” fast of October, 2002, that culminated with the twelve-night prophetic history. I was fairly new at IHOP-KC and the old trailer. I was in heaven. I had prayed (without knowing the IHOP-KC or the Mike Bickle existed) Psalm 27:4 hundreds of times as a young man. I wanted to dwell in the house of the Lord, but I didn’t know how to “dwell” in a church. Suddenly, I had no position, responsibilities, obligations, and lots and lots of time. I grabbed a dank, smelly pillow and curled up daily somewhere near Dana Candler on the far left wall by the drum room. Those were some of the greatest days of my life, and constituted the Lord’s divine “setting” of my heart and life into a 24/7 prayer reality.
I feel the same invitation tugging at my heart again. The “tagline” for this upcoming fast is a pursuit of the glory of the Lord, but I don’t have a typical Charismatic perspective regarding what that means. For me, the glory of the Lord is a personal, intimate thing. There is significant glory, power, and grace found in the place of intimate friendship with Jesus. I long to reach that place in the never-ending pursuit of my life to be consumed by Him. I long to know the beauty of His name. I long to see the beauty of His face. I crave understanding, revelation, and deeper insight into His nature and character. I want to be a true friend.
So it is that I find myself back in the same place that I started from in 2002 in the prayer room. I have much more history, understanding, experience, and, unfortunately, responsibility. I have a dull heart and a deep longing. I am much more alive yet much more aware of my poverty of spirit than I was six years ago. I am much more devoted and much less devoted. I am aware of the dangers of the illusion of fervency and the reputation of zeal. I am deeply dissatisfied and tenderly thankful. It is an interesting and unusual place to be. Most of all, however, I simply miss my Friend. I want to find Him again, and “reset” my heart and my life according to the first things that sparked my pursuit of God as a young boy and my life of prayer as a young man. I want to get “re-oriented” and established in a place of safety and purity of desire and pursuit. I want my ambitions checked, my ego subdued, and my passions focused.
I want God, and God alone.
June 11, 2008
June 11th, 2008