Upon returning to Austin, I found quickly that I needed to get a job if I wanted to eat this next year. I had a few employment options that I was working on over the summer, but everything fell through. So I decided that I would ask my church here in Austin if I could come on late and join their internship program. I was excited to find that there were no closed doors for me and I have officially been hired through the whole school year to work for Hill Country Bible Church UT. I will be helping organize missional communities through the church, meeting with MC leaders in order to encourage and help them however I can, leading a Bible study with my buddy Riley, and I will be starting a weekly communal prayer gathering so that we can practice praying for the church, its leaders, and the mission.
Looking back, it has been funny how all of this came to be. Over the summer, I wanted to try and find a job that would pay above minimum wage, offer reasonable hours, and be right on campus so that I wouldn’t have to drive to school and work everyday. None of those options worked out for me and getting back to Austin, I wasn’t entirely sure what to do. My time in Omaha was a truly satisfying experience for me and my desire for this next school year is to live out everything that I’ve learned. All of my reservations and hesitations to committing to church responsibilities came from my lack of clarity on my job schedule. But now that my job is with the church, that isn’t an issue anymore and that came about by simply praying for clarity and direction.
More and more I am seeing my prayer life change and I am seeing this change even in moments like the one I just wrote about. It is becoming more sound Scripturally as I am seeking to apply the acts of Christ in my own life. But more than anything, it is becoming more and more of a departure from my own will in order to implore God’s will in my life. Because my own free will is so hopelessly drowning in sin and destruction that my hands can do no good on their own. Why then wouldn’t I pray for my passions and my desires to become aligned with the holy God of the universe? “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6). At ground level, this is a scary thought for me to think about because my efforts are not enough, yet it is so hard to let go and let God take over. Whether or not we admit it, this culture we so gladly exist in affects us deeply and we are all of victims of it in one way or another. At the heart level, it is even worse because when we truly examine our motives to do good we will find sin. Whether it is selfishness, control, or even a self-esteem boost when we do something that God created for good for the sake of ourselves we rid that action of good entirely. Because we waste it on our selfish, broken, and sinful selves. Voddie Baucham says it this way:
“I am totally, radically depraved beyond the shadow of any doubt. I can’t be good. Even when I do things that look to be good, I do them for the wrong motives and that destroys the good that was in them. I can’t be good.”
We are hopeless when we look to ourselves. But we are not without hope. When the author of Hebrews calls us to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,” he is talking about Christ and his sacrifice on the cross. God gave his Son over to death and satisfied His wrath on that cross so that we might taste life and enjoy it in His presence. The God who created the universe right down to the very fibers of our being loved us so deeply that even while we were his enemies pursuing everything but His purpose, He sent his one and only Son to die for the world. In our hopelessness and in our brokenness, that is the hope we profess.
Finally, this is a great video. Thanks to Nathan Bliss for sending it to me. I love listening to Matt Chandler. Watch this and you might see why.
“At the root of all sin is the confusion, or inversion, of creator and creation. The worship of created things can be either the worship of things God has made, such as the environment or the human body, or the worship of things we have made, such as the television (which usually sits in the middle of the living room with all of the seats facing it so that hours can be paid in homage to the glowing deity that demands sacrifices not unlike the little shrines present in Buddhist and Hindu homes that are eerily familiar minus the remote control). The result of this error is that a good thing become inordinately elevated to a god thing and therefore a bad thing. Often times the god we worship is simply the one we see in the mirror every morning as we brush our teeth.” (Mark Driscoll, “Vintage Jesus,” pg.168)
“Be wary of people who don’t constantly point you to the blood-spattered cross of Jesus Christ.” – Matt Chandler