Karla and I had Christmas with my family in Arlington this year. Last year we did Christmas at hers, so we swapped this time. We had a delightful time hanging out with my family. It even snowed on Christmas Day! We had such a rushed December that Christmas seemed to be a little distant, but it almost seemed like we were fasting because the time spent with my family seemed to be different this year. When you fast, the time spent with The Lord is more impactful than it would normally be, not because you earned, but because you purposely place yourself in a humble and weak position to hear from The Lord. It felt a bit like this during Christmas. We were weak and humbled by all of the tasks required to move our stuff to Kansas City, so the time with family was more impactful.
OneThing & Hong Kong
The conference itself I’m sure had a great impact on some people, but I just had a hard time connecting with The Lord. I was expecting huge revelation, but instead I was met with a very dry and disconnected time. This went on for days even after we left the country to travel to Hong Kong. The purpose of the trip was undetermined, but as The Lord normally does, he told us once we got there. We were supposed to go to Shenzhen to meet with my friends across the border. We were pretty nonplussed with the first week in Hong Kong, but the second week in Shenzhen was much more life giving. We were able to spend time with believers and even meet some that had heard of IHOP. It was a huge sigh of relief that the time spent was not in vane.
We’re Here! Now what?
So, now our time in Kansas City officially begins. We arrived from Hong Kong on January 17th. We’ve been here almost two weeks and the time has already been very saturated with the presence of God. We’re extremely excited to have a few weeks to just sit and rest. Personally, I can feel the itch to produce something. It just doesn’t seem right to be able to sit before The Lord, inquire in his temple, and do nothing. From God’s perspective, I’m doing the only thing in the world that really matters: worshiping him. However, the world has brainwashed me. I see my life as valuable and important by what I can produce. I do; therefore, I am. When I’m challenged to not do, it feels weird. Vacation? That’s for the birds. I don’t get it. I really don’t know how to rest and just turn my brain off and let God do the thinking for me. God’s economy is much different, though. It’s not a quid pro quo economy. You don’t do to get in. It’s a one way street. He provides because he’s a provider. He loves because he’s a lover. He doesn’t ask us to earn it. In fact, he’s angry when we do. It mocks his Son. He used to, though. That was Plan A, to show us how much better Plan B really is. Plan A was the Old Testament Law. Plan A was to earn righteousness. Plan B was to receive it from Someone Else. Plan B is to believe and receive Jesus. It’s to receive the production—the good works—and righteousness of Another. The whole game changed when Christ came. I don’t produce so that God will love me. Now, I produce because I am loved. So often, though, I’m caught up in Plan A. It’s so difficult as a man wired by God for cultivation, to rest and receive his provision of works for me. I keep wanting to earn it. I feel like a chunk of our time here will be unravelling that lie that has been woven so deeply into my mind. Christ died so that I don’t have to find my identity in what I produce. If it was really left up to me to earn righteousness, I don’t think I’d do a very good job anyway. I have an amazingly patient wife who can attest to this, and a good heavenly Father that made a way that covers my failures.