I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. (Revelation 2:3-4)
The word “abandoned” might be a little strong for what is going on in my heart but I certainly feel the weight of Revelation 2:3-4. A couple of years ago the Lord absolutely shook up and rocked our little world when he moved my wife and I from our 6 year home of First Baptist New London. With great confidence we sensed the Lord moving us to attend seminary at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
And so with great hope and a vision in our minds we moved our 2 year old son two states East. We were excited about living and ministering in Louisville, KY. 6 months later we were packing our bags and moving 75 miles West to serve a church in Jasper, Indiana.
I’m a different man than I was 3 years ago. I’m not dead, far from it, I’m just not where I want to be. I feel like a kid trying to celebrate his first Christmas with the knowledge that Santa Claus is really your dad. I can feel myself slowly drifting, losing wonder, losing awe, losing hope.
And so I sat in our sanctuary for a good while this morning just praying. Praying over the church. Praying over my own soul, and the Lord deeply impressed me with a conviction that two things need to happen. First, a minister without awe is a sham and if it persists his “lampstand” will be removed. Second, I need to retrace my steps and “remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first”.
I am very grateful for the Spirit’s work. I am glad that he is warning me and exhorting me well before I “hit rock bottom”. I am glad that his intention in rebuking me is to make beauty from ashes. I am glad that the only reason why he awakens a desire for more and more of Him is because He intends to fill it with His fullness.
So, in response to the Lord’s calling I am retracing my steps. There are five things that I plan to do to retrace my steps:
- Read 3-4 books that really stirred and shaped me 3 plus years ago.
- Block out a more intentioned time for prayer each day
- Restart McCheyne’s bible reading program.
- Watch a couple sermons per week
- Spend time with the JoAnn’s of the world*
Notice that most of what I am doing is putting myself under the ministry of the Word and prayer. What restores passion is being held captive by Christ and His Word. That happens when we put ourselves under the ministry of the Spirit through the Word and prayer.
May the Lord continue to increase my passion. And continually mold me into a “life-giving preacher”:
The life-giving preacher is a man of God, whose heart is ever athirst for God, whose soul is ever following hard after God, whose eye is single to God, and in whom by the power of God’s Spirit the flesh and the world have been crucified and his ministry is like the generous flood of a life-giving river. (Piper, Brothers We Are Not Professionals, 3)
*JoAnn is a dear elderly woman at our church that exudes a love for Christ. Just hearing her pray sounds like overhearing a conversation between a woman and her husband away on a business trip. Everyone needs to be surrounded by people like her.