What does God have to say about you?

lab

Jesus comes at times and surfaces things and says, “I want to deal with that”.  He does so because He has a mission.  He seeks to liberate that which we’ve buried in our shame, guilt, fear and woundedness.

Craig was sitting overlooking the beach having his quiet time and a young lab pup runs up to him.  Excited and eager … “hey you wanna go play?  You wanna chase me?  I’ll chase you!  Come on, let’s play”.  Craig shoed the dog away so he could go back to the Lord.  A little while later, he sees the lab down on the water’s edge chasing birds, running, playing … just being a lab.  The lab shows up at the beach and he just wants to be all that God made him to be.  Living.  Free.  No boundaries.  He can’t read the signs that say “no dogs on the beach”.  He has no restraints.  He’s being exactly who God wants him to be.  And after shoeing him away, he found himself saying “I want to be a lab”.  Don’t we all?

There are a lot of signs around us asking “Who are you?” or telling us  “You can’t be that”.  The wounds I’ve suffered, the messages they bring and the vows I make are the signs in our life – the signs that say “You can’t be all that…”

The vows sort of become a script for my life, my identity.  “I’m a seagull”.  I became that.  I had nothing to offer, nothing to say, only taking up space.  The wounds took deep root.  Shame and contempt.  “I’ll never be a man that makes a difference or says anything that changes or encourages anyone”.  Whoa.

Think about this.  Craig spent 40 years of his life struggling with the notion that he had nothing to offer, nothing to say.  He felt he’d never make a difference or could say anything that would encourage anyone.  Wow.  That’s a powerful condemnation over his life.  He was listening to the wrong voice.  Once he went to the Father and truly opened up his heart to what the God of the universe had to say about him, his story changed.  His identity changed.  He was no longer the seagull.  And just look at the next 30 years of his life.  Look at the impact he had.  Look at the thousands of lives he changed and the tens of thousands of men he “fathered” in his ministry. 

What’s your script?  Oh, you’ve been told who you are and what you can and cannot be.  That much is clear.  What most of us don’t know is what God thinks of us… 

Ephesians 1 – He had me individually in mind before the foundation of the earth with plans to adopt me and celebrate by lavish gift giving.  Uniquely crafted and created.

Psalm 139 – knitted together, fearfully and wonderfully made.  He had something in mind when He created me.  It is much like a coach or a CEO pulling you aside after tons of hard work, pushing yourself, not sure anyone is noticing and he says “I see what you’re doing and I just want you to know I have big plans for you”.  Imagine that.  Imagine what that would stir in your soul.  Now imagine the 1000x impact of God saying that you!

Revelation 2:17 – for those who overcome, I will give him a white stone with a new name written on it known only to the one who receives it and to God.  A descriptive name of who He intended me to be.  We have that!  All of us.  A True name.  A unique name.  A God name.

Chesterton – “All of us suffer from the same dilemma, we’ve forgotten who we are.”

Have you forgotten who you are?  What seems quite easy to remember and what seems to govern our lives is what others think we are.  We know what our brother said about us and to us.  We know the words Mom spoke over us or Dad labeled us with.  We can recite them from memory.  We can even remember where/when it happened.  And yet, most of us have forgotten who God called us to be.

Spurgeon – “I will never have it that God created any man, especially any Christian man, to be a blank nothing.  He made you for an end.  Find out what that end is.  Find your niche and fill it.  Do something in this great battle for God and for truth.”

God gives us hints of this throughout our Christian life.  Wouldn’t you like to know?  Once you know all of this is true and once all this becomes real that you are a son, adopted and loved, once that captures you…wow.

Gladiator – God created him to be a leader and a general.  Did Maximus forget who he was?  It is a picture of all the residents of Heaven peering in over the castle wall watching us battle and fight – the whole host of Heaven cheering for us, “LIVE, LIVE, LIVE!”

Do you want to know who you are?  Ask God.  Take all you read about who God says you are, pound on the door and all out “LORD, imbed this in me, in my being.  Remove everything contra and counter that shouts down truth”.  If you really heard what God has to say about you and your life, you’d be embarrassed to share it or you’d think you were making it up because what God dreams about you is far greater than you could imagine.  It’s the thing you most want to be but can’t imagine being.

If God was to say to you, “I want you to be ___________”

Would you believe it?  Would you jump into it?

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What is buried in your story?

When Jesus comes and He just brings things up – things that have been buried and stagnating in your life.  The things that have become the anchors on your soul.  Oh when He comes and says, “I want to deal with that now” … it is remarkable.

What is it in your life?  Where is the shame?  Where is the pain?  What are the things you stuffed down and hidden and yet they keep oozing to the surface of your life?

Come to Manschool on Wednesday and invite the Father in.

What is the story of your life?

“There are turning points that change the trajectory of your life…”

That can be the negative turning points where either through the mistakes of our own choosing or the actions of others, our lives take a turn down a dark alley way and the damage is done.  Or, through our thoughts and actions and decisions, we invite our enemy to sit at our table and engage in conversation with us.  That looks like “You can’t trust anyone”.  Or, “She’ll never change, you’d better move on”.  Or, “A little pornography never hurt anyone”.  Or, “You deserve to be happy and your wife doesn’t understand you and this woman looks exciting…”  Or from a wounding in our past, he whispers, “You know, you’ll always be that screw up and failure your Dad said you’d be”.

If you’re hearing stuff like that, you’ve given the enemy a seat at your table.  (more on that in weeks to come)

Craig McConnell had such a life.  He never knew his father – he was killed in the Korean War when Craig was an infant – but Craig’s story is that of a fatherless boy who would go on to become a father to tens of thousands.  His boyhood ended at age 8 when his Mom and step Dad sat him down to tell him his father was killed in combat.  That was it.  Never a picture, never another word.  He was never told how he shared his Dad’s sense of humor or his love of the outdoors.  And so began a long internal war.  His step-father repeatedly told him that he was a seagull and that “all he was good for was sitting, squawking and shiting”.  It took root in Craig.  He spent 30 years struggling in shame.

After exploring the 60’s drug culture, Jesus met Craig at a Christian concert in 1972.  He became a college pastor and he loved backpacking, wild beauty and going after the heart of things.  He never fit in the traditional church.

At 36, he discovered his true identity and that he’d come from a long line of noble men who gave their lives for the Gospel.  He discovered that his grandparents were missionaries and that his great grandfather was the first protestant missionary to Central America.  Eventually he went to Costa Rica and discovered 50,000+ people crammed in a soccer stadium celebrating the life of the Patron Saint of Central America … his great grandfather.

And so, Craig took back his family name, McConnell.  He let go of “seagull”.  He reclaimed his noble legacy.  All of Craig’s life, it felt like he was fighting a great battle.  He fought the religious falsehood of the church and he paid for it.  He fought to find his true identity.  He fought internal battles with shame and diminishment.  It’s part of what made him so beautiful.  He kept fighting.

John asked him to become a part of the Sacred Romance tour and as Craig stood before thousands of people rescuing their hearts, he came alive like Lazarus walking out of the tomb.  He said it felt like déjà vu of his great grandfather and father.  At Ransomed Heart, he stepped into his glory.  The retreats and boot camps, conferences, films and podcasts, he mentored men all over the world.  He fathered people through those podcasts.

Craig lived his life desiring that his life would make a difference in the lives of many and he struggled to find that avenue to do so.  But in his 50’s, God opened up the door and unleashed the true Craig McConnell.  Through all his work, Craig touched more than 1 million people.  At the last few boot camps, men would stand in line just to give him a hug.  A woman he’d never met sent him a Father’s Day card this year because she said in his work he had fathered her.

Remember, this was once a fatherless little boy who struggled with shame.

Craig battled a lot of doubt about his ability to impact a lot of people but only when the stories are told in the coming Kingdom will be really know just how vast his impact was.

And so my question for you is “What is the story of your life?”  Where is the shame.  What are the mistakes that you cannot seem to shake?  Are you diminished?  Why?  What has the enemy been telling you?  And perhaps most importantly, are you going to continue to listen the great liar or are you ready to start listening to the Creator of the Universe?  What does the Father have to say about you and your story?  THIS is where we’re going this fall at Manschool.  Please join us in the adventure.  Let’s see what God can do.