I've traveled to Russia fourteen times and will add a fifteenth in October. It's been a privilege to teach, train and inspire pastors and other leaders there over the years. They've also taught me much and my last trip almost a year ago was no exception.
After the worship conference we helped lead finished, I and some of my team went out to a town called Istra where I've known the people and staff in a church there for over fifteen years. We helped them finance a building and have been able to share ministry ideas every time we're together.
However, this Sunday morning I got to hear one of their leaders preach in the pastor's absence and he said a line I've never forgotten. "Too many Christians are more in love with the kingdom than the King!" Wow. That phrase hit me big time both as I thought about its implications for me and then as I considered other humbling comparisons.
I realized that yes I'm often more drawn in by my work, the logistics of ministry and even the habits of spiritual growth than the One who I serve and am supposed to love. So that day I began to think of other tensions that have challenged me to look differently at my life and what I sometimes erroneously call spirituality and commitment. Maybe they will stir something in you as well and cause you to think of other tensions that will resonate with you.
I know that I also pray differently these days as I more often think in fresh ways about the greatness of our God and Savior who meets with me each time. I ponder the presence of the One who is described in small but significant way below. Maybe your prayers will change, too.
Am I more in love with . . .
Being saved or the Savior? I Timothy 4:10
Creation or the Creator? Colossians 16
Prayer or the presence of the Father? Jude 24
Worship or the One who deserves our praise? Matthew 2:2
Serving or the Suffering Servant? Philippians 2:7
My rules or the Ruler of all? I Timothy 6:15
My Bible study or the Word who was with God and was God? John 1:1
My way or The Way? John 14:6
Holiness or the Holy One? I John 2:20
Life or He who gives us life? John 15:21
My image or the image of the invisible God? Colossians 1:15
My stardom or the Bright and Morning Star? Revelation 22:16
My strength or the Rock of our Salvation? I Corinthians 10:4
What I've built or the Chief Cornerstone? I Peter 2:6
My insights or the Only Wise God? Romans 16:27
My leadership or the Captain of our Salvation? Hebrews 2:10
My children or the Son of God? I John 5:11