from discipline to desperation

Yesterday was a good, long day at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. I heard something from the Lord through all of the speakers. Bill Hybels challenged me to be more intentional about decision-making. Gary Haugen inspired me to be brave, and not just safe. Bill George challenged me to be authentic, true to who God has made me to be. Wendy Kopp inspired me by her huge vision and her determination to see it realized. John Burke reminded me that abiding in Jesus is the heart and only hope for living the full life God created and saved us for. And Efrem Smith ignited a flame for being a multi-cultural, multi-racial community, and not separating ourselves and huddling with those who are like us, those who we like.

Probably the line that stood out for me (and the talk that most energized me) was when Gary Haugen described our need for time alone with the Lord (through prayer, Bible-reading), not as disciplines (a checklist of things we ought to do) but as desperations (that which we cannot do without). When we are huddled together in safety, Bible-reading and prayer is a discipline. But when we are in the line of fire, on the front-lines, taking risks, being brave in the Lord, then Bible-reading and prayer is a desperation.

I need to get out there. I need to break out of my comfortable pew (or pulpit). I need to push past my fears and enter into the world around me. I need to stop making excuses. Stop hiding behind my books, stop avoiding conversations with others, stop theorizing and imagining about what I could do… JUST DO IT!

When we step out of the boat, like Peter did, we get to experience the thrill of walking on the water. But we also take the risk of getting smashed by the waves, and sinking. That is when, in desperation, we reach out for Jesus. Those guys who stayed in the boat were “on a journey with Jesus, but were missing the adventure”.

Coming to Ajax is a stepping out of the boat for me. It is the adventure. I am out of my league, I need the Lord’s help, and I am starting to feel the sweat and desperation. But I can also feel myself retreating, hiding in the church office, hesitating to make big decisions, making excuses and imagining the fears. I am staying as close to the boat as I can, so that I can take hold of it if I start to sink.

But this is not what I want to do. I sense Jesus calling me to step away from the boat, and to step closer to Him. To feel the fear and do it anyway! Be bold, be courageous, and go for it!

Can any of you relate to this? Are any of you in the middle of a huge, risky adventure, and feeling the desperation drawing you closer to Jesus? Or are any of you also feeling the pull of safety, security, comfort?

Something Gary said that also stuck with me, something to the effect… “if my following Jesus is not risky or dangerous, I better check to see if its Jesus that I am following!”


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