Is Your Life Stagnant?

June 23, 2011

I love being in the mountains and seeing a brook or stream flowing from the top of the mountain and sitting there reading my Bible or just thinking.  There is a sense of God’s presence there to me as I watch the water flow over the rocks and down the stream.

Normal people, however,  don’t see a pool of stagnant water and feel refreshed.  In fact, I think about the opposite when my nose catches a good whif.  It makes me want to see my lunch again.  The smell is enough to make a weak stomach gag.

Webster defines “stagnant” as “not flowing in a current or stream.”  Stagnant water stinks.   When it stops flowing, the life seems to go out of it.

God hasn’t designed us to be stagnant either.  The Bible says that the lukewarm life makes God gag too. God’s mercies are “new every morning.”  (Lam. 3:19-23)  He isn’t a God that you can be in a close relationship with and feel stagnant.  He is always at work around us.  If we aren’t involved in His work and seeing it on a daily basis, it’s our own fault.  When we seek Him we’ll find Him.  When we’re too busy, we don’t take the time to look.

That’s why we always talk about taking your next step at MJLifeChurch.  We believe that no matter where you are in your walk with Christ, there is always a “Next Step” to take because God is always at work and He is inviting us to be involved with Him.

As amazing as it is to me that God is inviting us to be involved with Him in His work, perhaps even more amazing to me is that we often ignore that invitation because we get ourselves too busy.  If you’re too busy to help your neighbor, take food to a sick person, or invest some time in your church, then you’re too busy.  Even though you always seem to be moving and going, you have become stagnant in your spiritual life. …the only part of your life that really matters because EVERYTHING is tied to the spiritual.

How do you break out of the stagnant life?  Decide to make your spiritual walk the most important part of your life.  Sometimes we have to give up some things that we love for some things that we love even more.  God should have the first spot in your life.  Everything else should fit around your relationship with Him.  (Quiet time with Him, Investing in leading areas at church, helping people, etc.)

The challenge is that most people fill up their lives with work, soccer, hobbies, and everything else that they can fit in it and then try to fill the cracks with God to help them feel better about themselves.  They blow off church if they happen to be too “tired” from all of the other stuff that they have crammed into their lives.

Take an honest look at your life right now.  Are there changes that you need to make for the sake of your relationship with God?  Then do it now!  There’s too much at stake to spend the rest of your life in a stagnant state of living.

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I used to think that church was supposed to be a safe place where I would go on Sundays, learn about God, and then go home and be a good boy.

I’ve walked with God a few years now and my views on church have changed a bit.  I’m not sure that I was out of line with the American view of God, but in view of history and the worldwide church, I’ve still got some things to learn.

Many people are willing to call themselves “Christian” and say that they are willing to do ANYTHING for God.  I’ve found that sometimes we’re willing to do “anything” as long as it doesn’t hurt or cost us a lot.

Let’s not focus on all of the other people in America.  As the great theologian, Michael Jackson said, let’s “start with the man in the mirror.”

Craig Groeschel says in his “Weird” series, normal ways of doing things, seeing life, handling money, and trying to get ahead just aren’t working anymore.   If the normal way of doing things isn’t working, it only makes sense to change something.  After all, if we do the same things again this year that we did last year, we get the same results, right?

My view of church has changed.  I now see the church as a safe place (at least in America) to hear a dangerous message.  Why is it dangerous?  Because if we listen to the message that God has for us in the Bible, it is dangerous to our mediocre, normal life.  The message and life of Jesus Christ, if really followed, would look radically different than what we see exhibited in many churches and by many “believers” in America.

If your family and friends don’t think you’re a bit “weird” or different, the reason is probably because you’re just like everyone else.  If you are overcommitted with work and activities and don’t really have any extra time to help with the mission of your church, that’s normal!  If you find yourself always having something come up that prevents you from helping out in that area that you know that God has put on YOUR heart, that’s ok.  Most people aren’t that involved in serving either. .  Just doing a little ministry will help you feel better until next time.  That’s normal.  If you’re tired of your marriage, don’t worry!  Just throw in the towel and start over with someone else.  At least half of the people do that today.  It’s normal.  Just start over

How about finances?  Normal people would never sell their car or even give it away if they felt like God was telling them to do that.  They would figure it couldn’t be God.  It must be that pizza from last night.  You never should have eaten it that late!  God wouldn’t ask you to do something that crazy…. Or would He?

Man-kneeling-in-prayer

My point is this:  When Jesus called the disciples, they made major changes and adjustments in their lives to follow Him.  When God speaks to a believer in Iran, he risks his life to obey.  Ever notice how a new believer in Christ that is on fire for Him is willing to be called “weird” by his family and old friends?  The old friends don’t get it.  They don’t understand some of their decisions.  It’s not normal.  Jesus isn’t normal either.  Even “experienced Christians” wryly smile and say, “He’ll settle down after he is a Christian for a while.”

Maybe we aren’t supposed to “settle down!”  

Why do we HAVE to loose our passion?  Why do we have to become more “civilized” and “socially normal” in following Jesus?

Look at I Corinthians 2:14:

But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.

 If everyone always understands all that you do and you’re never misunderstood because of your relationship with Jesus, you’re probably “normal.”

If God is not challenging you to make adjustments in your life so that you can follow Him more closely, either you are Jesus (which I know that you’re not) or you aren’t listening.  If we’re never “inconvenienced” and our lives are never interrupted, we may not be following the Master as closely as we think.  Following Jesus isn’t safe.  He was crucified.

What are your thoughts?  Am I out in left field playing basketball?

Normal is out at MJLifeChurch.  We began the series, “Weird,” this past week and we hope that you’ll be going “weird” with us.  What do we mean by “weird?”  Check out this verse:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14

Weird

One thing in particular that Craig Groeschel said in week one of our new series stands out to me.  “If we want what everyone else has, do what everyone else is doing.  If we want what a few have, do what a few are doing.”  It doesn’t take watching CNN for very long to see that what we’re doing isn’t working as a nation or as individuals.  What most everyone is doing financially, relationally, spiritually, and in just about every other area in their lives isn’t working.

If we want life to work, we have to do something different.  We have to stop thinking and acting like “normal” people.  We have to get “weird!”

Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right… Romans 12:2 NIrV

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out… Romans 12:2 MSG

It doesn’t make sense to walk in faith sometimes.  It’s weird to give your tithe, the FIRST 10% of what you the money that make, to God when we’re in a bad economy.  It’s weird to wait until you are married to have sex.  The world says “if you really love someone it’s ok.”  The world says it’s weird to tell people about God.  They think you’re “judgmental” or “narrow minded” when you really just want them to have a relationship with the King of Kings.

The world probably wouldn’t understand why I would quit my job in Tallahassee, came to Nashville without a job, and started a church.  To some, it didn’t make sense why I spent 10 years in youth ministry, hanging out with a bunch of kids.

We’ve got people at MJLifeChurch.tv that are just plain weird!  Some people:

  • Travel around the country playing music, telling people about Jesus.  Isn’t there more money playing in bars?
  • Go to the Nashville Rescue Mission, feeding the homeless.  Can’t those people just get a job?
  • Volunteer their time EVERY Saturday setting up church when they will just have to tear it down on Sunday and do it again next week.
  • Give the FIRST 10% of EVERY dollar they make to God for His use.
  • Turned down a higher paying job because they had a “feeling” that God didn’t want them to take it.
  • Take their vacation day from work just so they can serve another person that needed them that day.  Aren’t vacation days for going to Florida or at least the lake?

We’re not weird for weird’s sake.  We just see that normal isn’t working and that God has a better way.  If that makes us weird, then so be it.  This world isn’t our home.  We forget that sometimes.

Have you ever been considered weird?  What did you do to deserve that title?