Monday, January 15, 2007

Colossians 1:1-2

In case you were wondering, Passion 07 was amazing! The worship indescribable...probably among my top 5...maybe even #3, and the talks were very inspiring. You're probably wondering, "Wait a minute Justin! What are your top 2 worship experiences?" Ok, I will take a minute to go off on a little tangent to list you my top 2 worship experiences:
  1. OneDay 1999 (I believe) at Shelby Farms in Memphis, Tenn: This was a gathering of about 20-25,000 students from across the country and world, united in one common theme: God, let Your glory come to America! The actual OneDay was a Saturday, but the day before were teachings and different "gathering places" where you had a worship leader and a speaker. At my gathering place, we had 2 up and coming worship leaders -- Chris Tomlin and David Crowder -- you might have heard of them?! Anyway, Chris Tomlin started off the set with "O come let us adore Him." Before he sang the first word, he strummed the first chord (I believe it was a G, but that's not important) and it was instantaneous manifest presence of God!! I couldn't even sing! I raised my hands in full adoration of my so very worthy King and just soaked up His presence. My eyes were closed, holding back tears of joy, and I was envisioning Him covering me like a warm blanket. I didn't just have goose bumps...I had goose mountains!
  2. The "Indescribable" tour with Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and Louie Giglio at the Fox Theatre here in Atlanta. Louie's talk on the grandness of our God was great and the pictures from NASA were breath-taking. The worship was intense! The songs Indescribable, How Great is Our God and You Never Let Go were resonating in my spirit for months...

Ok, back to the point of this blog. At Passion, whether on purpose or coincedence, all the speakers tended to pull from and focus on the book of Colossians. This inspired me to take time and diligently study this book. So over the next however many weeks or months, I'm going to take a slow walk through Colossians and share with you what I learn. I also purchased a commentary on Colossians by Vernon McGee to help me through this.

Colossians is one of the "Prison Epistles" (along with Ephesians, Philippians and Philemon) that Paul wrote while he was in prison in Rome. These 4 Epistles have been called the "anatomy of Christianity" in that they cover all aspects of Christianity. Briefly, Ephesians is about the body of believers called the church, of which Christ is the head. Colossians is focused more on the head of the body (the body itself is secondary). Christ is the theme; Christ is the fullness of God which is then poured out in the lives of the believers. Philippians deals with the walk of the church (Christian living) and Philemon lends us Christianity in action. It is interesting to note that Paul never visited the church in Colosse, yet he is considered the founder of the church there. There is a lot more of background information to be discussed but I will not include it in this blog...maybe some other time.

Colossians 1: 1-2

"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother

To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father."

Right off the bat Paul calls himself an "apostle of Christ Jesus" and he goes even further to say that it is by "the will of God." The word "will" means desire. So, it was God's desire for Paul to be an apostle. God made him an apostle. Are you in the will of God today? Are you doing what He desires you to do? Are you in the proper place? Are you sure your doing the proper thing? My answer to that is yes and no. I do believe God got me into vet school and then here to Marietta, GA. For some reason, He has not allowed me to obtain a residency position in Neurology, which would require 3 more years of training at a veterinary school. The no of this incompasses what I think I am called to do for His kingdom. I guess I shouldn't say think...I know that I know that I know He has called me to lead worship. For the past 6-8 years, I have had prophetic words, dreams and other words of encouragement that only reinforce this calling. I've recently told my parents of this calling and they were a little dumbfounded. My dad still hasn't talked to me about it. My mom said that she doesn't really understand it all, but will support me (seemed like because it was her motherly duty to do so) and wants me to be happy in life. They don't understand why I would waste 4 years of veterinary school (not to mention all the money for tuition). I try to tell them that I still plan to practice veterinary medicine and that it wasn't a waste, but I do not know to what form or fashion this will take on. Like I said, God allowed me to go through veterinary school to become a doctor (hopefully a good'll have to ask some of my clients about that...). There is a difference in wants/desires and passions. I've wanted to go to vet school since I was a little kid and I think God allowed me to fulfill that want. And, He is going to use those skills that I obtained for some purpose, and it won't be all-for-not. However, the passion that runs deep into my heart and spirit is worship. I'm believing God for great things in this area. Right now, I am in a waiting period; or a training period preparing me for the next step. Sometimes God only lets enough light in for our next step in this journey, yet we want to know the full story. It's something most people (and I'm including myself) struggle with. They need to know all details and how it's going to work out. Where would faith fit in? Where does trust fit in? We need to find rest in the fact God has never let us down and will never let us go. I'm reminded of the story in Numbers 13-14 where the people Moses led out of Egypt began to grumble at Moses and Aaron because there were "powerful people" living in the land that was flowing with milk and honey. They said, "If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?...We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt." Hello! They just witnessed the sea being parted and walked through on dry ground, yet they could not see past their current circumstances and started to lose faith in God and doubt His sovereignty! Moses and Aaron then replied, "If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord (don't doubt Him). And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up...the Lord is with us!" Where the Lord is taking you is so much better than where He's taken you from! Just look back on your own life. I'm sure there have been instances where you asked, "God, where are you at? Why are you doing this?" But then sometime later you randomly think back on what just transpired and realize that God's hand was all over it!! I think if God revealed our entire destiny to us at once we would fall over and die; it would be too much, too great for our hearts and mind to handle. He goes before you and with you (Exodus 33:14-15)! He sends angels ahead of you to prepare the way (Exodus 23:20). It's hard, I know! I'm learning to trust Him and in His sovereignty. I can't see where He is taking me to, but I have to believe that it is so much better than where He has taken me from!

Now onto verse 2: "Grace and peace to you from God our Father." Simply said, these 2 things can only come from God, they come directly from Him. I believe the Bible is God-breathed. Therefore, I have to believe that how words are ordered have significance as well. In this verse, grace comes before the word peace. We have to know the grace of God before we can experience the peace of God. He has conquered sin and darkness by Jesus Christ's blood shed on the cross! He has rescued us from despair! The grace of God is this, I was bought at a price and now I am my beloved's and He is mine; I am my beloved's and His desire is for me! Grace grace grace! Lord help me to walk in Your grace, so that peace will reign in my heart!!

To my brothers and sisters,

Grace and peace

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