Would you please look at these adorable creatures? Honestly, I love the look of sheep. They cause me to smile. And this past week I have been diving deeply into the trenches of Psalm 23. As many of you know Psalm 23 exemplifies the Lord as our Shepherd and believers as His sheep. How many times have I read this passage of Scripture and not embarked on the richness of what Psalm 23 conveys to me as a believer. After reading the Psalm I was heavily rebuked by my own selfish desire to be passive and take Psalm 23 at a face value instead of treasuring the gift within. Like a clam, some can be satisfied with the hard exterior. You don’t have to ask questions when you only care about the outside. But the conscious, intense effort of prying open that exterior, being hopeful that you will gaze upon the breathtaking beauty of the interior, is always worth it.
I am currently reading A Shepherd Looks At the 23rd Psalm by Phillip Keller. Ever have moments when you read a page or paragraph of a book and the words literally have you caught in a moment of marveling? Phillip Keller causes my brain to constantly marvel with his imagery, experience, and words of wisdom. David, the author of Psalm 23, was once a shepherd and now rules as a king. He expresses his deep love for God by declaring that the Lord is his Shepherd. I think its important to note that David is not talking to me. Important? Actually, let me rephrase that. It is imperative that I understand David is not talking to me.
Indeed, David writes passionately and intimately to His Lord, His Shepherd. I read this Psalm and all I can think is that I am encroaching on someone’s personal journal. But that same passion and intimacy is what I desire to mirror in my daily walk with the Lord. Can I imagine? Can I dare voice that the Lord is MY Shepherd? My heart beats with excitement, yet my mind screams and grasps for control. Let go. How else will I rest beside the still waters? Will I even make it to the still waters if I do not rely and choose to trust the leading and guiding of my Shepherd?
Oh man. Big word. Some would say whaaaaattttt??? I have the act of rest under control. Do you? My definition of rest, well, let’s just say I am not incapable of defining rest but I don’t think I have a proper view of rest. Be still. I was reminded this past week that being still is an act of my will focusing on resting. Whether that resting consists of sitting and loving Netflix, running , or just kneeling and soaking in the presence of my Savior. My busyness, my running around caused a severe disconnect. From who? Well, it disconnected me and God which filtered down to my ministry. Try doing ministry without God. Actually, please don’t. I need Him. You need Him.
I work 40+ hours in ministry each week. It is so easy to be consumed with ministry and forget to minister to your own soul. That is a dangerous place. It is a dark place. Rest is a scary word. I should be able to keep up! My view of rest was negatively tied to laziness. But a gentle rebuke was given to me by one of my boss’s.
“Jesus pulled away from the crowds. he healed, comforted, and loved, but ultimately he pulled away to rest.”
My Shepherd took time to be still and rest. My guide pulled away from the mania. I must do the same. He is calling me to come close and just rest in His arms. It is not wrong to rest. Rest is a part of productivity. It is something that I am continuing to learn and explore through as I live here. Ministry is a tool that constantly reveals the hardest truths about yourself. But it also rewards you with great treasures.
Posting is starting to get a little harder and I know you have missed out on a ton. Pictures are the best representation of what is going on here in Cleveland. What you will see displayed before you is my attempt at giving you a brief snapshot (HA) into my life that explodes with myriads of activities. Celebrating Dara’s graduation party, eating out with Savannah, Sports Camping, spending the day at Lake Erie (SAW A LIGHTHOUSE!!!), and enjoying Dancing with the Stars live with Kara barely scratch the surface of all the crazy activities that I am doing here. Enjoy the following pictures and keep praying on behalf of this ministry. Both in my heart and in my ministry as I seek to be used here in the Cleveland area.