musings on worship and christian living


I want to be like: (a)mike (b)crowder (c)rob bell (d)…
May 29, 2008, 2:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Preface… this is long. Hope it’s not boring.

I started writing this blog a while back and never finished it. It’s not an unusual practice for me to begin a thought and lose momentum as my mind begins to rabbit trail. My computer is actually riddled with half written songs, blogs and even a few chapters of a book, all saved in random places and lacking any discernible organization. Inevitably I will be confused by the title of one of my saved documents and I’ll venture inside.

Such was the case with this particular blog. I actually started a different one this afternoon that I was very excited about and was looking for it when I see the title, “I was mulling over Romans 12 this morning.” I had no idea what it was, but one thing I knew is with a title such as that it wasn’t finished because I work very hard a creating my catchy titles. Another indicator was that I apparently was studying in the morning, which is odd because I rather prefer my sleep than getting up to think.

So I started reading and I was inspired anew. There are elements of the original manuscript I typed, and all new elements combined in here in a thought evidently long in the making, and long in the reading.

_________________

I was mulling over Romans 12 this morning… (That wasn’t a very exciting sentence but I thought I’d at least leave it in there.)

Romans 12:1-7. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

Wow… every time I read this I’m overwhelmed by the plethora of amazingness (I know it’s not a word… yet) in this passage of scripture. My mind is bursting at the seams with rabbit trails just screaming to be followed, but I must hold course to my first thought. It’s actually one that has nipped at my heels for so long I wonder if there was time I wasn’t pestered by its presence.

That thought is Michael Jordan. Well… not really. But he embodies it. Oh how I wanted to be that guy! (actually, that’s false. I was a Portland Trail Blazers fan and we hide Clyde “The Glyde” Drexler. YES! He was better the Michael in my book.) But Michael was the man! Women wanted to be with him and men wanted to be him. “Be Like Mike” baby!)

Now I beginning to remember why I abandoned this blog. It’s taking too long to say what I’m thinking in a creative way. lol.

So it’s the Mike concept that just kills me! Why was the add campaign so successful? Because people are generally unhappy with whom they are. Somewhere along the way we learned that how we were made wasn’t good enough and so we covet the gifts of others. We dream of having a wish that would transform our boring lives, as if we could acquire what someone else has everything in life would magically be covered in gold and happiness would ooze out of every surface in our hilltop mansion.

Now for most of the world I can understand it. Most people live without hope of something greater, and a life without hope is no life at all. The part that confuses me the most is why it is so ubiquitous in the church. (Laura McGreevey commented on some of my words, so I had to throw one in. My first word was prevalent but this was a great place for something ridiculous. Seriously, like anyone ever says “ubiquitous”.) Why are we in the church so ready to leave behind what we have been given to cling to the blessings of another?

This is by no means an issue brought on by someone in particular. The reality is I’m as guilty as the next person! I find myself doing this all the time with music. I look at David Crowder, Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall… pretty much any one of the hundreds I have on my iTunes and think, “I wish I could create music like that”. But the reality is that my music comes out different, and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, God intentionally made me how I am. So why do I so readily abandon the blessings I’ve been given and yearn for the gifts of another?

Honestly speaking, I think this is at the root of one, if not the biggest problem in the church. Somewhere along the way (I’ve said that opening twice in this blog… I’m losing a step) we’ve singled out a few positions, pastor, preacher, singer, and raised them on a pedestal saying “these callings are what make you a legitimate gifted Christian.” So everyone dreams of being on the worship team or wants to lead something and most often they aren’t equipped to do so.

The result is anything but good. On one side an inordinate amount of pressure is placed on those in leadership to handle emotionally fragile people whose self worth is somehow caught up in “being like mike”. On the other side we have people expending all their energy and hope trying to become something they aren’t supposed to be.

When you do the math it all adds up to a body where nothing is in the right place. The hand is trying to be the head, the shoulder trying to be knee, the foot trying to be the mouth. We then sit back and wonder why our congregations in America are shrinking, and why most church growth comes from church hoppers.

Romans 12 points us to a different route. It says that we are specifically gifted on purpose so that we may function as the body of Christ. And God, knowing our presupposition to covet the character and gifts of another gave us the ultimate example. Ephesians 5 says,

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

I can’t begin to put into words how much I ache for the church to be healthy. To be a place where all gifts are celebrated and where people are consumed with being like Christ, not like Mike. That is where we find the freedom to chase who we we’re made to be and never covet the gifts of another because our goal in Christ is far greater. That’s freedom this world could buy into. Where you are not just ok, but that we recognize you were specifically designed and gifted and the people around you celebrate it.

And how fitting that as I finish this thought Bethany Dillon comes through my computer speakers singing “Beautiful”. I know the blog is long, but I’m putting in the lyrics anyway. If you haven’t heard it, go get it. (the acoustic version is best)

“I was so unique
Now I feel skin deep
I count on the make-up to cover it all
Crying myself to sleep cause I cannot keep their attention
I thought I could be strong
But it’s killing me

Does someone hear my cry?
I’m dying for new life

[Chorus]

I want to be beautiful
Make you stand in awe
Look inside my heart,
and be amazed
I want to hear you say
Who I am is quite enough
Just want to be worthy of love
And beautiful

Sometimes I wish I was someone other than me
Fighting to make the mirror happy
Trying to find whatever is missing
Won’t you help me back to glory

[Chorus]

You make me beautiful
You make me stand in awe
You step inside my heart, and I am amazed
I love to hear You say
Who I am is quite enough
You make me worthy of love and beautiful”

I don’t know if I tracked straight through on this one, because my head is everywhere. But as I’m typing one thing is for sure, I’m praying that whatever God has gifted you with is seen as amazing and that you covet nothing but developing those gifts and knowing Christ deeper.

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