I was a mess and I needed to get away. For years I had been pushing myself to let go of disappointments, forgive those that hurt me, and just keep doing the ministry (See FINISH THE RACE). Now it was catching up to me and something needed to change.
So my family and I decided to spend four months volunteering at a small Vineyard in India. I only had a few responsibilities and most of my time was free. The flat we rented was on a noisy street, so I usually woke up by 6:00am while everyone else slept with ear plugs until later in the morning. Our flat was pretty much empty except a CD player, headphones, and about 20 Vineyard worship CDs.
More out of boredom than spiritual hunger, I began listening to the CDs before I spent time reading my Bible. After a month or so I woke up one morning with the sudden realization that it had been a couple of days since I had obsessed over my broken relationship. I puzzled over it for an hour or so. Why hadn’t I been able to get free before? Why did I feel free now, without any effort on my part? Then it stuck me,
I WAS FALLING IN LOVE WITH JESUS AGAIN, AND HE HAD TAKEN THE HURT AND ANXIETY AWAY!
I was enjoying my Bible reading and I wasn’t thinking about a sermon. I was just listening to what Jesus was saying to me and it was bringing me life.
FOR YEARS MINISTRY HAD SWALLOWED MY RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS.
If I was going to stay in the ministry long term and be fruitful (and not go crazy), I was going to have to be intentional about maintaining a genuine, personal intimacy with Jesus. For me that meant completely separating my time of intimacy with Jesus from my time focused on ministry.
- My morning Bible reading had to be devotional. I needed to avoid thinking about how to teach this passage to others.
- My morning prayer needed to be about adoration or petition for areas of my life and my family not intersession for church members or petitioning the Lord about areas of ministry concern.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU HAVE FOUND HELPFUL IN STAYING IN LOVE WITH JESUS?
WHAT DECISIONS HAVE YOU MADE TO BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT MAINTAINING INTIMACY WITH JESUS?