Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturdays with Ashley

I think I'm going to start a weekly post on Saturdays entitled, "Saturdays with Ashley." Each week Ashley, whom I mentioned in a few posts back, is an '08 graduate of the RiverStone Youth Group. She is currently at IHOP-KC in their Forerunner School of Ministry. Each Saturday she sends out an email that continually challenges the mess out of me. I think I am going to start posting these to our blog so that the Lord may use it to challenge you too! Here is the first of many "Saturdays with Ashley."

It's About Relationship

Many pastors and missionaries will leave their calling because they've become burnt out. We hear of our christian friends all the time leaving the faith, because it's just too hard. I see countless people just fall back into the world and forsake the life that they were living for Christ. Why? Why does this happen so often? Are they not trying? The answer...they don't really know why they're living this christian life, they've just always done it and well it seems like the right thing to do. They decide that being a christian is a good thing to do, so they say hey why not go for it! They follow the ten commandments, they live the ideal christian life...then BAM they mess up. They decide that this christianity thing is just too hard and so they go on living a lukewarm christian life.

How are we supposed to prevent this, it happens all the time. The problem is people decide to be christians because it's part of the American culture, EVERYONE is a christian. But what really is the purpose of the christian life? Relationship. It's that simple, we were created for relationship. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were perfectly content with just them, they were filled with love and joy, but then they decided to do something with all of the love that they have. So we were created, every day God would walk with Adam through the garden. All he wanted was to be his friend, he just wanted to spend time with Adam and love him. This is what God wants from us, this is what we were made for...to have a relationship with God.

So many pastors, missionaries, and christians are getting "burnt out" because they are drawing from their own strength. They aren't spending time with God so they become weak and they forget their first love. Many people see success as different things, speaking in front of a large crowd, saving lots of people, singing in front of millions, ect. The true definition of success is to fulfill the first commandment....to love God. You can go and speak in front of millions of people, but when you get off that stage you're still the same person nothing has changed inside of you. We get so stuck on loving others that we forget to first love God. We put the 2nd commandment before the 1st and that's were conflict begins. We try to love others, but as a result we just end up getting irritated and frustrated. When we need to be striving to love God, so that we can see the way that he feels about that person, resulting in us loving them with ease. The second commandment flows out of the first commandment.

God made us and he knows the deep places in our heart, he knows what makes us tick, he knows what touches us. Each one of us have a God shaped hole inside of us. Only God can fill it, He is the only one who can really satisfy us. We run around trying to fill ourselves with all these things of the world and we come up empty and disappointed. Why? Because this world is intended to satisfy the longings of our heart, only God can do that. You can try and get a temporary fulfillment, but only God can truly satisfy us, He is the only one who can touch those deep places in our hearts. Song of Songs 1:4 says that his love is better than wine, not just actual wine, but wine is representing any fulfillment in this world. His love is better than ANYTHING, this is what will sustain you. Knowing His love, accepting His love, living in His love, and loving Him in return with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. It's all about relationship.

God Bless, Ashley

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