Saturday, September 3, 2011

Come As You Are (Part 2)

God is so at work right now. Its been so amazing to watch everything unfolding. God has definitely blessed the people who have a heart for C4 and is raining down on the lives of everyone who walks in the doors every Sunday night. C4 isn't the one who's working, God is...and any of the leaders will be the first to tell you that. I'm so thankful for the leaders...I'm so glad they are open to whatever God would do through them.

I was talking with a friend about the outpouring I've felt and seen at C4 and how I'm seeing God change lives through this ministry...and her 12 year old son who had been listening to our conversation came up to me later and said "Chelsey, when you were talking about how everything that God does at C4 is overflowing to everything else in your kinda sounded like what happens when you fill up an ice cube tray." I asked him what he meant and he replied, "Well, you start by filling up one cube...and it keeps overflowing until the whole tray is full...and if you aren't really careful, then it spills over the edges too." I was completely blown away by what this 12 year old had just just goes to show that it doesn't matter how old you are or where you come from in life, God can use you to speak into other people's lives. I do hope that what that young boy said is exactly what happens...and I pray that I will be able to be a part of it. It doesn't just stop at one ministry...God isn't in just one place...if we allow God to use us, it will transform our lives and transform the campus.

God can use a 12 year old boy to speak into my life and help me gain a vision for what God is doing...and He will use you too. If God required perfection then he wouldn't use anyone. No one would know, no one would hear and we would all die without knowing our Savior.
Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
In this verse, "Come" literally means come to me...but it also means that he wants us to accompany him, stand beside him, enter into his presence rather than just being a spectator. God wants to grow us as a people...he calls us to come. He doesn't just "notice" you...he has his eye on you specifically all of the time and he wants you to come just as you are. God doesn't require that you have a certain level of goodness before coming...he doesn't have any prerequisites - he just wants you...just as you come to him, to know him. One encounter with him will change your world.

Notice also who says to come. The Spirit and the Bride. The bride is you...the church. You are called to be the bride of Christ. Now, if you've ever been to a've seen the look on the groom's face right before he sees his bride. He stands waiting anxiously just for her arrival.

We are called to be the bride but our lives reflect anything but our calling.
Hosea 2:1-5 Say to your brothers, "You are my people," and to your sisters, "You have received mercy." "Plead with your mother, plead—for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband—that she put away her whoring from her face, and her adultery from between her breasts; lest I strip her naked and make her as in the day she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and make her like a parched land, and kill her with thirst. Upon her children also I will have no mercy, because they are children of whoredom. For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.'
God is waiting for us...he can't wait to see us, but unfortunately, God isn't getting what he deserves. We think we are the bride, but our lives look like the prostitute. God deserves a bride without spot or blemish...but we live our lives for our own selfish gain. It sounds I'm calling the church and Christians everywhere prostitutes...but believers everywhere tend to just pay dues(go to church and stuff) just so they can get to heaven. If we're only believers to get to get something in return, then we are like gold diggers...and there is something wrong. Heaven can't make you new or make you whole...only God can do that...if you are a believer, then your goal should be knowing God. Some people come to him only to release guilt. It's yet another vicious cycle...saying God you are Holy, then choosing our own desires, then giving God the leftovers. God should have a people, a church who come just for him...Life isn't about us or our gain...He wants our hearts. We need to WANT to draw close just because of who he is.
Psalm 24:6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.
We want to be a generation who seeks who he is and not what he can do for us. A marriage would not last if it was only about what you can get out of should each give all that you have. Sometimes we wonder what's wrong in our lives...why we haven't grown or moved's because we seek our own pleasure and fame...and we come to God with filthy garments...we have to seek his face and who he is.

The verses in Hosea are talking about God calling out to his bride who has run off in pursuit of her own pleasure. He tells her to stop trying to be something that she's not. Take off the gaudy facade and makeup. We tend to hide everything in our lives so that no one asks us questions...the devil wants us to be isolated and lonely to compound and internalize all our hurt. He wants us to keep it to ourselves...but God calls us to take off our come just as we are, the good, the bad and the ugly and not try to bring a false sense of perfection(filthy rags in the form of a picture perfect life) to Him. True freedom happens when we are humble and confess.

There is nothing that we've been through that isn't common to man...we've all been there. So don't believe the lies that Satan tells you...that everyone will hate you or reject you or look at you differently if they knew the truth about your life. Don't be a spiritual prostitute...confess your sin to God and to one another. God is just and loving and will forgive you. Every time you hide behind the mask, the enemy makes you weaker...until he has you right where he wants you...weak enough to defeat you.

When the verse in Hosea talks about the clothing she's not talking about what we're actually wearing. It's talking about our attitudes...our mindset...and the way we live our lives. You say you want to live better, but you still want to have fun. How can you be different and stand for God if you are doing what everyone else is doing? You're setting yourself up for failure. We say we want to change, but we don't do anything about it. Realize that you were created for something better, then choose to put off your attitude. If you want change in your life, then pattern your life for the way you want to live.

We are called to be disciples of Jesus...if you take a look at the word's REALLY similar to the word discipline(not a coincidence). If you want to be someone you've never been, then you have to crucify your sinful lifestyle. Stop playing the prostitute and pretending. People who live for this world know that there is something missing in their lives. They keep searching. That's why alcoholics and drug addicts are never satisfied. They only thing that could ever satisfy you is Jesus himself, his spirit and his presence. You haven't lived life until his spirit has made you new.
Isaiah 62:1-5 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. The nations shall see your  righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
God is talking about YOU. His bride. Even if a sinful lifestyle is all you've ever known...he declares over your life that he will make you pierce into the darkness. Only God can take a prostitute and make her into a bride...he's the only one who can take something broken and make it beautiful.

Come. Let all who come drink freely. When you feel at your wits end, when you feel empty and need God. He is real and he is waiting for you to come. You are not random or another face in the crowd. You can be the are called to be the bride. He loved you enough to send his son...Jesus died for you while we were still sinners. If God wanted us to be perfect before we came then there would be no hope and no eternal life because Jesus never would have come. Come as you are. God will use you.

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