Adrenaline...Red Bull...and How Did I Get Here?


"...that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior..." I Tim 2:2

A few weeks ago, the Lord and I were having some intense discussions concerning a few decisions I was about to make. I really wanted to make sure I got it right, and had set aside extra time in prayer to make sure I was hearing Him clearly. Some amazing lessons did come out of that prayer time…a few of which I am going to share with you today in this article.

I’ll be honest. The above passage of Scripture has been haunting me…I mean really haunting me. Not in a spooky kind of way…but in recognition that I truly had not understood the gravity of that verse. And I am understanding how costly my ignorance has been.

So, I’m figuring that if I needed some adjustments in these things…I’m probably not the only one. This reminds me of some principles I felt were very important to instill into my children as they were growing up. One of them was concerning “regrets”. Understand that you’re certainly gonna have them…but in the decisions you will make in life...consider carefully how to keep them to a minimum! I have discovered in that above verse a major key to limiting the amount of “regrets” I have at the end of my days. I’ll bet you’ll say the same thing when we are done.

ZOOM

The world we live in is full of high speed information. For instance, the internet has opened the world’s thoughts and activities to anyone wanting to take a peek…anywhere and at any time…in a simple Google search. Wanna know what the bookstore in Beijing has to offer…or what the Prime Minister of New Zealand is doing next week? Just tap a few buttons and voila!

As a result, the pressures of performance in quick time have never been so felt. We are driven by ourselves…our bosses…our families…the soccer schedule…we are an obsessed generation with no time to look back for fear we will get run over. Or that is certainly the impression many of us are living under.

These things to various degrees have infiltrated our Church culture as well. Preachers are great at revving us up and getting us to burn on all cylinders for God…admonishing us concerning how “on fire” we need to be…how the time is short…that if you’re not at church five times a week you’re backsliding…and c’mon, no time for playing around guys, our generation is going to hell! The list goes on.

And all of these are certainly valid aspects and responsibilities as participants in the Kingdom of God. We all need to be reminded and encouraged and even "straightened out" once in a while on the priorities of our Christian service to God and mankind. A genuine, godly ministry will certainly pay adequate attention to these convictions.

Yet these things are not the sum of the gospel message nor the expected behavior for every Christian…24/7…for an entire lifetime!

Guilt…fear…and yes, legitimate hunger for the things of God…can cloud us to realizing that the Christian life isn't always about living on adrenaline and Red Bull...preaching "hellfire and brimstone"...working in 20 ministries and feeling guilty you aren’t doing more. From the standpoint of many, how “spiritual” does it sound to be thinking “calm down and enjoy the ride” while people are going to hell…the children’s ministry isn’t big enough…the tithes and offerings were low...and the big conference is next week that’ll have the secret to growing a big church?

HACKUNA MATATA

Did any of you see the Disney movie “The Lion King”?

There was a song in that movie that I used to sing regularly. I actually used it many times as an illustration in my sermons (I'm thinking now that I shoulda listened to myself more). It was called “Hackuna Matata". The chorus translates the phrase “It means no worries…for the rest of your days”!

It’s not taking me long to see more today than ever…”Hackuna Matata” is Scriptural!

So, let’s consider a few things. Of course, I would advise us not to confuse “having no worries” as the same as “having no responsibilities”.

Being at peace is not the same as being asleep!

“Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:13-14

Of the many names He could have identified Himself by while giving the world potentially the biggest introduction of Himself it has had since maybe the flood…God chose this particular one. He called Himself “I AM”

I AM. To be over simplistic, that means He is "Yesterday"…He is "Tomorrow"…He is "Good and Merciful"…He is "Love"…He is “the Way, the Truth and the Life”…He is…well…

He just...“Is.”

There is no doubt we should be desiring God's best for ourselves...our churches...our nations. Revival and a mighty outpouring of God are things we should greatly hunger for to the rescue of the souls of men. I am regularly pouring my heart out before God that He mightily demonstrate His goodness in new and marvelous ways.

And yes, He is certainly the God of the future and even communicates in those terms. Jesus Himself was “…the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8. God is a big thinker…the ultimate visionary from which the prophecies of His sons and daughters speak concerning what will be. The "future" has always been a great blessing and tool to give strength and faith and vision to His people. Knowing our days ahead before they happen is extremely cool and a wonderful benefit of serving the Living God.

Yet in the midst of our hunger and crying out to God…our scheming to take over and destroy that next big stronghold…our declaring boldly His prophetic words over us…it can be easy to miss the gravity of the above verse that started this whole discussion. I’ll remind you again of what it says:

"...lead a quiet and peaceable life..."

Quiet. Peaceable.

Knowing He is the God of “right now in this very moment” …or…I AM…will be a great asset in enabling you to do this. So to continue our thoughts on the implications of that Wonderful Name, I’ll take this a bit further.

UNION

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Philippians 4:11

"...that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior..." I Tim 2:2

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. ” John 15:4-5

I have had some people through the years compare my flying career to the Christian ministry God has called me to. There are times that people referred to pastoring as my “first calling”. No doubt, the calling of God to be His spokesperson is huge and certainly worthy of respect. And yes…the privilege of being used by Him to be a “steward of the mysteries of God” is a tremendous honor.

I used to think in terms of "more or less" as well until I discovered a very important principle which Jesus referred to at length from various aspects and perspectives in the Gospel of John. Jesus called it “…abiding in Christ.” which someone may do as they "...eat His flesh and drink His blood." "So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." John 6:53

OK. You're gonna want to pay attention to this next point.

To my most wonderful amazement and gratitude, I genuinely have come to understand the reality that my “first calling” is not pastoring…it’s not flying…it’s not being a good husband or father…it’s being “in Him” while I "feed" off of His life wherever and whenever I find myself.

It’s not a matter of what’s right for the church…or what’s right for the family…the issue is simply WHAT’S RIGHT…Period!

I talk about this principle regularly in my preaching and my writings simply because it is the first and primary foundation of what Christ came to make available to us. Not a blind service to Him as clueless slaves…but to be in experiential UNION with Him. God Himself becomes the fruit He produces in the life of the believer! I am no less a "branch" extending from the "Vine" playing with my grandchildren than when I am on a 40 day fast seeking out and discovering the great mysteries of God.

There is literally a drawing off Him as the sum source of creation in the same way light and heat are exuded from the sun. We are “of God” as light is “of” the sun. And as there is no difference between light at four in the morning as in three in the afternoon. Remember that the darkness we experience at night results from the turning of the earth, not the changing character of "light". “In Him” is simply “in Him”. The One Whom the Word is clear: “…there is no darkness and with Whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

The more I have understood this, the more I understand it’s not “one fourth Jesus” is in me when I fly jets but “three fourths of Jesus is in me” when I preach. I don’t experience 20 percent Jesus while exercising but 80 percent Jesus when praying. It doesn’t work that way. I’m in Him and literally within the life He authors as I exist in the same condition as Paul: “…it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in Me…” Galatians 2:20

As these principles have fused more deeply within me through the years, I have been impressed to consider how important it is to live contently in conjunction with vision and purpose and pressing into the best that God has. To be “in the moment” while knowing there is more in God to be experienced and to actively believe for it. What I am talking about can be compared to one coin with two sides. I can be restful in my current situation while I…as Paul declared, “… press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

I have been learning how to enjoy His favor and felt presence more and more in the quiet of my studies...flying an airplane at 40 thousand feet...resting while creating and playing music...riding the lawnmower with my grandson...His presence is no less in these things or any less powerful than preaching in front of thousands or pouring my heart out at the altar for hours at a time.

Abraham is a great example of what I am referring to. God told Abraham: “After these things, the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Genesis 15:1

The trap in believing we have more favor with God while we are “doing something” is that our acceptance and even the self-satisfaction of the activity replace the knowledge that it is the Person of God Himself that is our reward and favor.

Favor isn't just an attribute or grace, it's a Person!

For me, it's getting more incredible the more I think of it. God was not giving “things” to Abraham…or us for that matter…as the ultimate gift. GOD HIMSELF is His gift to us! He has nothing better to give than His own self…and it is this very thing His hands are continually holding out to us to receive and enjoy freely.

I am thinking of how many times through the years I have wanted that new car…worried about that new job...needed that new home…wanted the kids out of diapers...wanted them out of grade school...wishing sports were over...then anticipating when the kids were out of the house.

But you know what? I'm tempted right now to get really bummed out from considering the opportunities for joy I have missed during those times because I was so looking forward to the next “time” or season! My eyes were so far forward concerning what was next on the agenda I was missing the blessings of the particular season I was in...simply because I wouldn't slow down to look.

How easy it was to see the inconvenience of those times and not the wonderful moments that are found in them!

Every season of life has inconveniences...no less in the next one than now. So why decide to focus on todays troubles and not the wonderful attributes of God ready to be investigated and enjoyed at the very moment we find ourselves in! "Well it we be better when I get through this." In context with what I am referring...NO IT WON'T! So how about calming down and enjoying God now.

And the irony of all this?

“Today’s life is yesterday’s dream”. Having these attitudes had caused me to arrive at yesterday’s goals and not even really enjoy them because I was already figuring what else it was time to move on to. I can’t imagine how many lessons I missed in life because my attention was so far forward I couldn’t hear His voice teaching me at the time. To me, God was continually "out there" instead of "right here".

It can be so easy to keep achieving your dreams and spending no time there to enjoy the reward! UUGGHHH!!!

I’m fifty-three years of age as of this article. And I am very determined to move slower and more deliberately than ever. Not because I don’t have tremendous vision and hope for the future and can run at 100 miles per hour if needed; but because I understand more fully that I don’t have to get to my future to be with my God and feel His pleasure. He is not out in front of me waiting for my arrival or to have more pleasure in me than He does right now. And I don’t want to miss a single lesson that is found here at this time in this season. Whether I am sitting in Palm Beach or shooting an ILS approach to minimums or preaching to my congregation or writing this article…I am choosing...another word is "determined"... now to enjoy the Lord’s presence “in the moment”.

Tomorrow is coming…revival is coming...Jesus is coming...and all so quickly.

Since these things are inevitable and I am not going to stranglehold time from stopping anyway…I am going to enjoy the clarity of life while moving slowly enough to enjoy the view…instead of the seemingless blur of screaming along at 200 miles per hour until life has emptied me of my last breath.

Time for another chamomile tea. Hackuna Matata.

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