The last few days I’ve been sharing a series of reflections on my weekend around Peter Xu, Chinese underground pastor who has been persecuted like no one I’ve ever met. I’ll conclude with a personal reflection…well more of a confession: The ridiculous arrogance, that exists in me.
A person’s pride will humble him, but a humble spirit will gain honor. (Proverbs 29:23 HCSB)
Human pride will be humbled, and the loftiness of men will be brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted on that day. (Isaiah 2:11 HCSB)
The Lord used Peter Xu to remind me of my past folly. Let me briefly bare a portion of my soul that I’m not proud of.
6 months ago I made the hardest decision of my life. Never have I wrestled more with God and wept like I did in December of 2011. I sensed a clear call from the Lord to lead Discovery Church to merge with NorthStar and leave the role of lead pastor to become a member of the NorthStar team. I’ve written and spoken on this in great detail here. I felt God was moving in me for reasons He knew and I didn’t. This was a huge test of faith for me. I was leaving what I had dreamed of for years – I believed with all of my heart for the kingdom of God.
However, looking back now, I see another purpose: Particular Grace and Mercy towards me. Grace and Mercy I was undeserving of, but am now eternally grateful for. I believe God stepped in and stopped me from building my own little kingdom. He stopped me from building something out of human hands. I believe without His intervention I may have spent years arrogantly thinking it was my calling to build my church with what I think is probably the modern day church planting equation: 30% charisma, 65% strategy, 5% Holy Spirit. It brings me shame to confess this, but that is where I was. It wasn’t intentional, but you can get caught up doing God’s will for God, but then a drift occurs. Like David, you stay home when Kings were suppose to go to war, and drift into a place you don’t want to be. Sure we prayed, but Most of the time I prayed that God would bless my plans and strategy. But I rarely spent time praying asking Him what the plans and strategy should be to start with.
It is ridiculous and arrogant for me to ask God to assist me in my ministry. As if it was mine to start with – ridiculous. As if it was God who is to serve me – arrogant. I should have been thanking God for allowing me to be a part of His mission in the world. Note: Not to help God in his mission, but be a part of it. God does not need me, or you to accomplish His purposes.
God used our little church despite its leader – a testament of who God is. I’m so grateful I don’t have to grieve long for this. As John Piper has said, “The almost incredible hope of confessing and renouncing sin is that the Lord does not then rub it in our face but cancels it.”