LenBanks

a continuing story of trust, grace and community

Month: December 2013

Lessons I Learned In 2013

2013 has been a profound year for me. Losing significant weight and discovering the why’s behind it, selling our home and seeing God arrange things powerfully through it, and moving our church into a newly purchased building. These events and more taught me many lessons. I hope I can remember them all to post here.

1. I have much more in me than I give myself credit for.
2. I think too highly of myself.
3. There are far more incredible people giving of themselves far more freely than I ever have realized.
4. My wife is more wonderful and amazing to me than ever.
5. God actually is trustworthy.

That’s the summary list but there is so much more to it. I have been challenged and stretched and so changed this year.

In regards to my weight I keep getting asked what have I been doing. What diet or program? And there just isn’t anything special about it – “move more/eat less” is the basic thing. But the deep work was done in the heart and head. God has shown me areas where I really didn’t let Him heal me of hurts from childhood. Areas where I put my plan in place to cope with the hurt instead of trusting His plan. When I began to peel those layers away is when the weight really began to drop. I still have and always will struggle with weight. I like to snack on high-fat foods and have a metabolism that doesn’t burn it fast. But I am well on my way to keeping it off this time around.

Along the way I dreamed and learned about risk taking and came to realize that I have a lot to offer. I desire to make a difference for the Kingdom and want to see God do huge things. I saw areas in which I sabotaged myself instead of stepping up in confidence using the gifts God has given me. I also believe I have untapped gifts and dreams that I want to see developed.

But those dreams also set the sinful part of me going off to overreaching places thinking more highly of myself than I ought. I continue to realize that it isn’t God who needs me, but me who needs God. His kingdom will go on without me and my efforts. I am humbled by the reality that He desires to use me and that I get to go on this ride with Him, but I need to make sure I keep that in perspective.

God’s GRACE and TRUSTWORTHINESS have been huge themes the past few years. This year mostly trustworthiness as grace was really hit on last year for me. But I have seen the grace of God strongly in people this year. Acts of undeserved kindness shown to me personally and major sacrifices made on behalf of our church in getting into our new building. It has been beautiful to watch. I am so undeserving of people’s service to me, and yet that has been one way in which I saw God’s plans for me being far better than to rely on myself – to control and avoid real trust.

This has been a fun year with my wife. 27 years of marriage to this wonderful woman and I love her more than ever. As I stripped away the layers of brokenness and did the heart work that God intended, there was more room in my heart for her. I gave over to her areas that I had been protecting. To be honest we bicker a bit more, but I think it’s because we care more to be understood and real with each other. Walking through the home sale and my weight loss and the health scare and the church move I have seen at the same time both a strong and fragile woman emerge to really co-direct our steps. Her openess to reframe our lives has been exciting and her belief in me is inspiring. I am sure she believes in me more than I do (which I know frustrates her too). All of this has led to a much deeper love for her.

I meant to say it just as I did. God is actually trustworthy. I know biblically He is. I even know personally He is. But somehow this year He has taken me to greater levels of experience of this. It’s one thing to say He is trustworthy, but to experience is quite another. I have had to really confront my control and hanging on to my “baggage”. I have never doubted His trustworthiness, I just came to realize that I also never gave whole areas over to Him to actually trust Him with. And here I thought I had. A mind-blowing year. This of course has left me wondering what other areas I am still holding on to. But I still have the rest of my life to figure that out and grow in Him.

To 2014!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/oRgSk_-U3Oc]

Following my message this past Sunday our worship team led this great song, God With Us, by All Sons & Daughters.  I hope you will listen to my message, When Worry Meets Jesus and then watch this video (again).  All my audio messages can be found by clicking the “Sermons” tab.

God’s Sense of Humor

This past weekend our lead pastor became ill and for the first time in all the 12 years I have served with him he was too sick to present the message.  So on late Saturday afternoon I get the call.  Of course I am happy to do it and since we script our messages out pretty well, it’s not like I had to start from scratch.  But even still, I had to take some time to immerse myself into the message, rework and personalize it, and prepare myself to share.

So where God’s sense of humor comes in here is that, as many leaders, I am a bit of a control freak.  At least a person of strong opinions and a sense of how things should go.  I just think it’s funny that God had a control freak present the message at the last minute with no time to really control it.  The message topic/title?  When Control Meets Jesus.  🙂

While “control” was the issue being addressed, the answer was found in trusting God.  And since my year has really been about learning a deeper level of trusting Him and just how trustworthy He is, I loved that I was able to really speak to this.  I believe it came out of a deep well as if I had in fact been immersed in the text all week.  I hope you listen to it and are strengthened in your faith and trust.  You can find it, and all my messages, in the sermon section of this blog.

 

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