I Don’t Feel God The Way I Used To

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com I Don't Feel God The Way I Used To

My wife left to go out of town and it taught me something.

I missed everything that comes with being near her.
I missed her company.
I missed her touch.

I wanted those things.

Should I have looked for them elsewhere because she was not near me? Would it have been appropriate to seek the companionship, intimacy and affection that I yearned for from another? Certainly not!

So, what do I instead?

I wait for my spouse.

I read my spouse’s love letters.
I reflect on my spouse’s love for me.
I reflect on my love toward my spouse.
I recall the last time I felt my spouse’s touch.
I remember the good we’ve had together and I rejoice over it.
I wait (prepare) with eager expectation for my spouse’s return.

So it is with the Lord.

He has not abandoned you. He’s just further ahead in the place that He’s calling you to. Sometimes, the absence we feel is His leading for us to come out of the place where we’ve grown comfortable and to come up just a little bit higher. (Romans 1:17, 2 Corinthians 3:18)

So, trust in His commitment to His promises, “He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), be faithful to the Lord and seek His face because “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). And, never forget that He wants to be with you as evidenced by His actions, foremost by coming through His Son Jesus (Immanuel) and including His moving on my heart to write this for you to read this right now.

In the words of David the psalmist,

“Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!”
– Psalm 27:14

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #19 – People Who Put The Public In Public Education

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Grateful For The People Who Put The Public In Public Education
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Grateful For The People Who Put The Public In Public Education

In Week 19 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for people that put the “public” in public education.

In this photo our son Chris is headed to a trip to willingly spend days in the woods woods (the duplication is on purpose for emphasis –this was deep, hot, tick and mosquito infested woods, not some glamping trip). Our son was eager to go all because when Dr. Jessica Witt Tegt and her family made Starkville their home she, being a scientist, saw where she should could make a contribution and help take science education to the next level in our community’s schools.

Chris joined Dr. Tegt’s Science Club back in 2011. As I write this, he is now finishing his first week interning with a leading timberland management firm. Chris talks often about his desire to share the inspiration he received with other kids in the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District. This happened, largely because someone saw an opportunity to make things better for our community and cared enough to to do something about it.

When we, as the public, love where we live, take ownership and participate in the care, maintenance and improvement of public resources such as our schools, that extra effort makes for an extraordinary community.

This particular picture made me recall the work of Dr. Jessica Tegt and Team Awesome: Evan O’Donnell, Beverly Keasler, et al. But, I’ve seen so many people taking initiative and going the extra mile: whether it’s Dr. Kay Fennell Brocato who tirelessly advocated for Studio School (concepts from which are present today in our District’s state of the art Partnership School) or Dr. Alison Buehler who identified 3rd graders struggling to read at grade level and recruited volunteers to implement a remediation program that she designed or Vanessa Shaffer who advocated for the sport of tennis and held her own tennis camps to help on-ramp kids to the high school tennis team or Eileen Carr-Tabb who mans concession stands to support our district’s teams just because she’s a member of the community or Chief Sammy Shumaker who organized men to stand in the gap, pray over each and every one of our schools and mentor young men.

I could go on.

I am thankful for neighbors that put the “public” in public schools, who demonstrate what it means to live in community and take our collective success personally.

I’m grateful. #52WoG

Joy And Pain

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Joy And Pain

I have great joy, peace and hope because Christ is in my life.

Yet, there is pain that never leaves me. It’s like gravity, a condition of this environment, always there, weighing me down.

I don’t want to,
I don’t feel like,
I don’t have the strength to,
are all ways the pain makes me feel.

But, there is strength to thrive in spite of the pain: His strength.

To enjoy it I have to accept my weakness and His power, allow it to align me, flow through me and make me flourish,
like a flower emerging from the weight of the earth, its roots still in but its bud reaching toward the sun.

Quite often, life requires more than I have. But, His grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)

There is power to overcome
I don’t want to,
I don’t feel like,
I don’t have the strength to.

There is power to go on
as a vessel of His Love.

I just have to go,
depending on Him.

Any Love, any Light, any Life that He can channel through me is eternally worth it.

I Can Go On

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com I Can Go


He didn’t want to.
 
The Christ, the God-Man, the highest form of existence did not want to do what was before Him to do.
 
“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” -Matthew 26:39
 
Yet, His love for the Father and for you and I prevailed. By it, He steeled Himself in the face of unparalleled and incomprehensible suffering and chose to trust and obey the Father, to fulfill His ministry and finish His redemptive work.
 
I am tired. I am frustrated. I am discouraged and this remembrance is an encouragement to me.
 
Surely, with there being even more grace towards us now than there was before (John 4:12), I can endure these comparatively light and momentary afflictions: I can endure fatigue, feelings of failure, discouragement, difficult and devious people. Not seeing the end from the beginning, I can trust the Father, I can hope, I can love, I can work His fields, I can keep my hands to the plow of His redemptive work no matter how small or fruitless my efforts may seem.

I can go on.

Jesus is my example, my model and my guide. He is the person I want to become –to attain to His resurrection, to be like Him: righteous, just, loving, faithful –altogether fit to rule. He is my prize.So, even though I don’t want to right now, I press.

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #16 – Fruitful Words From A Friend

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Thankful For Fruitful Words From Josh T Taylor

In Week 16 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for a fruitful word from a friend, Josh “T” Taylor.

I want to advance the Kingdom of God.

But, how we imagine the Kingdom and what it actually is are often starkly different.

It is easy for us to be deceived by appearances, to busy ourselves with religious activities, to feel affirmed by big crowds and large projects, but all the while having done nothing for the Kingdom. (Matthew 7:21-27)

I have struggled with wanting to do something “big” and feeling like I’m not doing enough… that is, until my brother, Josh “T” Taylor, shared a word that has been setting me free.

“T” and I attend a marriage ministry together. It is a small group but it is very rich.

One day, we were talking about the role our marriages play in the Kingdom by glorifying God in how we as husbands and wives reflect Christ’s love.

In that moment “T” pivoted and said something that completely shifted my view of ministry. He was sharing water that he had received elsewhere but it was particularly refreshing to me because it was filtered through his sincerity, his love for me and his applying it in his own life.

He said, “The Kingdom of God advances at the speed of relationships.”

That word immediately affirmed itself. My heart was set on fire as much by the messenger as by the message.

It was illuminating. It revealed, among many things, how I often get distracted seeking outcomes while God seeks hearts. And, we reach those hearts, not by large, flashy ministries but by Spirit-filled, sacrificial, longsuffering love for people as they come to us, which is most often one at a time.

I repent. Not my will Father, but Your will be done. (John 6:38)

This word from a friend and dear brother has been a great ministry to me. I will go forward in service to the Father, seeking to be faithful with whatever He places in my charge -one talent or five, and trust God with the rest.

Thank you “T”. I love you.

I’m grateful. #52WoG

The Real Enemy

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com The Real Enemy

The threat to the church or to my effectiveness as a kingdom citizen is not systemic racism, wokeness, injustice or the advancement of the LGBT agenda.

There is nothing external that can stand against the Church.

Or, did we not believe our Lord when He established the Church and said, “the gates of Hell will not prevail against it?” Matthew 16:18

Satan knows this well, which is why he instead tries to work from the inside.

“For I know this, after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.”
– Acts 20:29

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”
– Matthew 7:15

The threat is not external but internal.

Jesus did not say, “Beware those who vote for Trump” or “Beware CRT” but, “Beware the leaven of the [religious establishment] which is hypocrisy.” – Luke 12:1

Hypocrisy: the presenting as one thing while actually being another.

Two of the most pernicious forms of hypocrisy in the church today are the industrial church and cultural christianity. We’re losing way more of our children to this than to Disney.

We wrestle not against flesh and blood. Our hypocrisy is the real enemy.

Therefore, let us put away the leaven (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Let us come out from the #industrialchurch. Don’t go to church. Be the church.

Let us come out from #culturalchristianity. Don’t just claim Christ’s name. Seek Christ’s heart.

Beware Cultural Christianity

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Unity Is Not Conformity

Cultural Christianity is the reduction of Christianity to an identity.

Cultural Christians share language, conventions, and practices around Christian themes but do not recognize the deity of Christ nor submit to His authority as evidenced by their dissimilarity to His Biblical account.

The key characteristic of Cultural Christianity is the preeminence of the group. Cultural Christians prioritize membership to the group above submission to Christ.

Being a Cultural Christian does not require regeneration, belief or any lifestyle change besides participating in group-sanctioned activities that signal their affiliation. Membership is granted on the basis of conformity to the group.

Cultural Christianity adds members largely through cultural assimilation: the often unconscious adoption of the positions and behaviors of others whose acceptance is desired. It seeks cultural belonging and influence, not the Kingdom.

Beware #CulturalChristianity

Unity Is Not Conformity

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Unity Is Not Conformity

Something that is not lost on me is how different the disciples were.

Letters attributed to Matthew, Peter and John are starkly different (yet harmonious) perspectives of the same Jesus.

A dear brother, Tim Boden, once said of the body, “It’s as if we’re all peering through a keyhole and in our sharing what we see, we get a fuller picture of Jesus.”

What sets my heart aflame is that Jesus chose these different men intentionally, purposefully and strategically! (John 15:16, 1 Corinthians 12:18)

That’s how Jesus chose you!

Oh, what a revival we’re missing because we fail to see that unity is not conformity. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7) But moreover, because we do not trust the Holy Spirit.

Oh, that we would repent and believe the Spirit that Christ gives us so the Church would be revived!

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #15 – A Mentor’s Admonition

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Thankful For A Mentor's Admonition

In Week 15 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for a mentor’s admonishment.

Our long time friends, pastors and mentors Pearson and Gloria Liddell were moving thousands of miles away.

As we were seeing them off, I asked Pearson, “What do I need to work on?” “Where do you see I need to grow?” Pearson being Pearson studied the question for a moment before giving his thoughtful, heart-felt response. His reply to me in a word was, “Compassion.”

My wife remarked how she loved the response because Pearson expanded the scope and rather than make it about me personally, he gave me something for ministry.

I took his words to heart and have studied them ever since.

I could write a book from my takeaways, but the condensed summary is this:

If I don’t love you, I’m disqualified from ministering to you.

But, I do love you or at the very least I want to because Someone I love dearly loves you even more.

Pearsons admonition challenged me to always seek to have the love Christ has for everyone I encounter. It is timeless yet a timely reminder for me in this season.

I’m grateful. #52WoG