Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Why in the world?

Realizing that God allows us to go through difficult experiences as character development is not always an easy pill to swallow. I mean, why does it seem like the Godly always suffer and the wicked get away with...well you know?

One evening 13 years ago was one of those experiences for me, our ministry and pretty much everyone I knew.

It was an event that the whole world was asking "what in the world just happened? and What in the world do we do now?" After those questions came more of the same and sure enough it wasn't long and "why would a good God allow the evil of 9/11 to happen to good people?" was the question everyone was screaming!

9/11 is the "difficult experience" (understatement of all time) I'm referring to and the character development that took place over the course of the next several months and years was amazing and heart breaking all at the same time.

When I think back on that tragic time I think of tears, tears, and more tears but my mind also goes to one of the best concerts I've ever been to where the love of God was so clearly proclaimed that broken lives that walked in to the concert were met head on with the restorer of broken dreams. The restorer's messengers
chosen by God that night were a group of crazy, hyper rockers known as Five Iron Frenzy and Relient K.

In the audience that night 3 days after the tragedy, about an hour north of NYC were over 1,000 people many of whom had direct connection with lives that were not only broken but also some of whom had been taken away 3 days earlier.

I thought to myself as we were planning the concert "How do you even open the show knowing that that’s what your audience is dealing with…Hey everyone who’s happy to be here tonight? Cricket, cricket, cricket.”

FIF and Relient K knew full well what they were dealing with, and as I’ve written about and many others have talked about, the night of the concert they really delivered the goods to a packed house, and broken lives were fixed through the power of God’s truth and love.

What most people don’t know though is that during that “night before” jam session, from about 11pm until 3am, FIF rocked the STAGE of the auditorium, not the entire auditorium.

It was the strangest thing I had ever seen. I mean I’ve been to tons of concerts over the years, and every concert I’ve ever been to the speaker stacks were pointing outward toward the crowd. It only makes sense to have it that way doesn’t it?

Well, not to these guys, no their philosophy is to have every speaker, subwoofer, and monitor, anything that can and will make noise pointed at them while they warm up. It was interesting to watch as they jammed out with who knows how many decibels pounding in their general direction. It was interesting to watch, but very frustrating to hear, as I could see them having fun up there, I understood most of what they were playing and singing, but to be honest I felt like a total outsider, who was being left to figure out the message on my own.

There was not enough amplification being pointed in my direction to know the real deal…Very Frustrating!

My friends and I sat there for quite a while just taking it all in, until the lead singer invited us to come on stage and join them and take part in the festivities! We jumped up and hopped on stage in a flash, and wow what a difference a few feet made as far as being able to understand and engage in what they were doing.

Having the amplification pointed at us made all the difference.

You know spiritually it’s the same thing. So many times we as Christ followers say the right things, do the right things and think we’re being effective, but in reality it’s as if we’ve got the speakers pointed only at us, and those who definitely need to have the message blared at them in a crystal clear fashion are left on the outside only to look in, and be frustrated.

I was thinking about that, and how important it is for us to make our message known to the masses in a high def kind of way, and then all of a sudden mid-song, the lead singer yelled into his microphone…”stop, stop, stop…hold up everyone…you know this stage configuration made me think about a spiritual truth…he said the speakers pointed in on us makes for great sound quality for us…but what if we left them this way tomorrow night when the crowd shows up? They would be ticked, and would miss out on all the fun, and most importantly not have a chance to engage with the truth of Christ’s love…that would be tragic!”

He went on to say…”As Christ followers we need to have the speakers pointed in from time to time, as we sharpen our walk, encourage each other and continually challenge each other to rock the stage with the message of Christ…but as fun as this is, it can’t stay this way…we’ve got to turn the speakers outward, there is a multitude of hurting, broken people who are going to come flooding through those doors in a few hours, and we need to blow them away with God’s love! What do say we turn those stacks around and rock this house?”

That’s exactly what they did, and for the next couple of hours until very early in the morning the place was shaking as they proclaimed the truth that, God is in the broken life fixing business, and the OPEN sign is hanging in the window...all are welcome!

I re-learned a very important truth that night…a truth that is still at the heart of what I want my ministry to be all about…Amplifying God’s message to a world that needs to know that Jesus loves them, died for them and wants more than anything to have them on the stage with Him, so they can be loved, encouraged and challenged to turn the speakers outward in their lives to AMPLIFY HIM!

I still struggle with why it seems like the Godly suffer and the wicked get away with...well you know, but when I remember what Jesus went through and how He suffered and died for me to be back in relationship with Him it makes me realize that I don't have to know the "why's" of the world I need to know Him and Trust Him because He not only knows what He's doing but He also is worth shouting about!

So, as I continue to grow in the character development area of my life, I'm learning that questions like "What in the world is going on?" and "Why in the world would a good God allow this to happen?" need to be answered with "why in the world would He go through what He did for me?"
Why in the world?

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