Sunday, April 04, 2004

Why Did You Make Me Like This?

I have been thinking a lot about, “God, why did you make me like this?” I have wanted to be like so many other people for so long. I am not sure why or from where this has come. Wounded ness? Pride? The world, flesh or devil? I don’t really know. I sensed the Lord say to me the other day, “John, you are growing in self awareness”. As my soul has been healing and restoring, I have not looked out so much to others. I am seeing more clearly how and why God made me. There are so many levels to a human being. It is so true that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
1. I was thought of and designed before the foundation of the world.
Jeremiah 1:4-5
The word of the Lord came to me, saying, [5] "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
2. I was formed in my mother’s womb
Psalm 139:13-16
For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother's womb.
[14] I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
[15] My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, [16] your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
3. My parents
You assigned me to my Mom and Dad and you assigned them to me. Everyone has to process their relationship with their parents good and bad.
4. My gender
Genesis 1:27
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
5. My race and nationality
God made me a white male born in America

Acts 17:26
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

6. My time and place in history

Acts 13:36
"For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed.

7. My number of days and time of death

Psalm 139:16
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

8. My brothers and sisters

Some have very serious brother or sister wounds. These have to be addressed

9. My birth order

I believe being a first, second or third born makes a difference in life and how we respond to people and situations

10. My temperament

a. DISC – Debbie and I first took this in 1985. From this profile we learned:
1. John was I/D – Extroverted, people and influential
2. Debbie was D/I – Extroverted, Task and driven

b. MBTI – The next profile we did was in 2000. We learned that she is an ESTP and I am a ESTJ. The main learning was how she is spontaneous and wants all options opened and I am very structured and want options closed. We discovered that we are both extroverts and process out loud. This is when we learned to move from irritation to celebration of our differences.

c. Rightpath – We took this profile in 2004. She came out as a Director and I came out as a Networker.

Each profile has been an understanding tool. It is another window into the way God made us.

11. My Natural Gifts:

It is God who gives us various talents and abilities whether they be artistic, athletic, academic or the ability to make money. These all have purpose and are for His glory.

Proverbs 22:2
Rich and poor have this in common:
The Lord is the Maker of them all.

12. My Spiritual Gifts:

When I was saved in 1968 God gave me the gift of exhortation. He wants me to use it to build up the body of Christ

Romans 12:6-8
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. [7] If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; [8] 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.

13. My education

Our education has so much purpose and influence in how our lives will unfold.
a. 1954-1965 – Miami, FL
b. 1965-1972 – American School in London
c. 1972-1976 - Florida Bible College

14. My “calling” or gifting as a Pastor

I believe that God called me as a pastor in 1973. I think this calling goes back to Bible College when I had the desire to give my life to the Word of God and people. As I look back on 30+ years of my life and path, this has been confirmed.

Ephes. 4:11-13
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, [12] to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up [13] until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

15. My experiences

All our experiences good, bad and ugly have been directed or allowed by God for a number of reasons. We must process them. We must see God’s hand and presence in all of them. We must assume responsibility for those we have offended and forgive those who have offended us.

Deut. 8:2-3
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. [3] He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Eccles. 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time…

Isaiah 61:3
…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

16. My spiritual pathway

There are many different ways to draw near to God. Some are intellectual, relational, worship, nature, serving, and activist. Mine is contemplative. I love spending quiet time alone, in solitude reading God’s word, meditating, thinking, praying and writing

17. My style of leadership

There are many different styles of leadership: Visionary, entrepreneurial, strategic and managerial. I feel my greatest style is role model which says, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” I also relate to shepherding which leans into rich community.

18. My style of ministry

Someone has suggested that there are different styles of ministry based on the offices of Christ.
a. Prophetic disruptions
b. Kingly leadership
c. Priestly connection
As I consider these three I relate most to priestly connection.

19. My passion for ministry

When I attended L.E.A.D. in 11/2001, the counselor there noted that I tell my story through men that have impacted my life beginning with my Dad. These have created the passion and drive I have in ministry in several areas:
a. Exhorting men to live on purpose in balance
b. Encouraging couples toward intimacy
c. Equipping leaders
1. Small Group Leaders
2. Ministry Leaders

20. My attitude in ministry

Take the low place
Wait to be invited
Influence vs. position
The ministry of availability
Be very patient and let the vision unfold and come to you

Luke 14:7-11
When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: [8] "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. [9] If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. [10] But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. [11] For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Proverbs 25:6-7
Do not exalt yourself in the king's presence, and do not claim a place among great men; [7] it is better for him to say to you, "Come up here," than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman.

21. My highest and best use or my core competencies

Shepherd, Exhorter, Teacher
1 on 1
Small groups

22. My weaknesses

Too much administration
Managing – Hiring or firing
Strategic thinking
Projects or events
Creating relevant environments

I believe that when we take the time to see how fearfully and wonderfully we are made, we come alive. We experience a peace and joy that is so fulfilling. Our hearts are at rest and we fulfill the purposes of God for our lives in our generation.

Today I Am 50-04.04.04

Today I’m 50. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and work up to this mile marker in my life. I am such a blessed man.
I was raised in an incredible family with great opportunities to live in Miami and London. I had a great childhood and adolescence. Very privileged to travel the world. Raised by a very loving mother and a very strong father.
I was saved at 14 in 1968 through a very powerful and godly man named Bud Hinkson. He shaped my life forever.
I sought to walk with the Lord in high school and have basically followed Him all of my life.
At 50 I look back and see the faithfulness of my God in my life.
He gave me Debbie in 1975 and we have enjoyed 29 years of a great marriage and relationship.
He has blessed me with 4 great kids and now a new daughter in law.
He has led me all the way with good work to do.
1976 - He led me to Reston, VA
1979 - To Portland to seminary
1980-1985 Working in business…
1985-1992 Pastor of Circle Community Church…
1992-2001 In the wilderness and brokenness…
2001 - Into convergence at NPCC. Thank you for being with me all the way.
I find my soul at peace and rest like it never has been before. I have worked hard to seek the Lord to have my heart healed and restored. I have grown in self awareness and come to see my passions of:
• Exhorting men to live life on purpose with balance
• Encouraging couples in intimacy in marriage
• Equipping small group leaders and others
• Extending grace and help to the less fortunate
I want to bear much fruit in loving other people. I have spent too many years of my life being against people and I want to be for them. Thanks for all you have done in my life, Lord. I look forward to EVERY DAY that you have for my life. I will trust you to direct my paths.