My thoughts and prayers are often wrapped around fellow followers of Jesus that are hurting today. Some are very close to me. Some I know only because they have connected through my books and blogs. This message that arrived in my cyber mailbox is typical of many that I receive.
I really enjoyed your book, When Bad Christians happen to Good People. The problem is that I'm one of those good people. I have been a pastor for over 8 years and I'm done. I've been hurt so many times that I can't care for people anymore because I can't take one more shot of pain when they turn on me. I need to get out of the professional Christian area of life.
That just breaks my heart. It seems to be far too common in the church. And I already know that some of you reading those comments are thinking things like this…
Come on. Suck it up. Get in the Word. Why are you doing this anyway? Didn't Jesus say we would suffer? Buck up! Try harder! Quit whining. Yada-yada-yada.
I have been the person that thought those thoughts. Forgive me. Now I wrap myself in grace and pray for these wounded saints. I know far too many people who are sincere and dedicated followers of Christ who are tired, discouraged and ready to give up. At best they hope to live out the strategy I saw on a t-shirt recently.
- Get out of bed
- Go back to bed
They hope that at the end of that sad cycle there will be eternity with Jesus. During the morning walk I listened to a song by Sugarland that expressed my frustration. The song was written about a unfulfilling job and a bad boss but the chorus nicely fits a unfulfilling life and bad theology.
There's gotta be something more
Gotta be more than this
I need a little less hard time
I need a little more bliss
I'm gonna take my chances
Taking a chance I might
Find what I'm looking for
There's gotta be something more
My heart and spirit tell me there has to be more than this. When I put my full trust in Christ almost four decades ago I did not sign up to be sad, discouraged and tired. In the past three years God has been showing me that it does not have to be that way. There is something more. I have realized a couple of things that cause us to spiritually flat line.
- We don't know, don't remember or don't really trust who God says He is.
- We don't know, don't remember or don't really trust who God says we are.
If we believe that God is loving, powerful and faithful then we can put our full trust in that truth. If we believe we are forgiven completely, given a new identity, made holy in His sight, and called His child then we can believe we are worthy to receive God's love.
But I would submit that most of us fall short on one or both of those items. I have mentioned before that the book TrueFaced and the Grace Romans CD series have literally changed my relationship with Jesus. I talked one of my TV buddies into checking out the Grace Romans CD series. I just got this message last week.
Subject: Mind being blown up...
"OK so today I got to Romans 8:5-11....the 1st one on the Holy Spirit...man it was so powerful...I sat in my chair this morning stunned....it is one of those things...I kinda knew it...but did not really get it..(not that I do now fully)...but oh man...I can't wait till the study stuff gets here so I can dive even deeper...thanks again for the recommendation..."
If any of this resonates with you I would ask, exhort, beg and plead with you to order the TrueFaced book, Romans TrueFaced Grace CD series or both. I get nothing out of this. I just believe it is the most approachable and clearest book on practical theology that I have found. Maybe I will beg you to buy my next book that covers what God has been revealing to me when it is published. But for now I paraphrase the video professor dude.
There is something more. I pray you will find it. Don't give up till you do.