Joel Maust Posts

Pray. Because God says to.

Confess it: You were missing my quotes from AW Tozer, weren’t you? Well, I haven’t abandoned him. So I’m posting another. In summary, it’s a call to “Get on your knees and fight like a man”–to quote some lyrics from the classic Christian rock band, Petra.

Prayer is not a work that can be allocated to one or another group in the church. It is everybody’s responsibility; it is everybody’s privilege. Prayer is the respiratory function of the church; without it we suffocate and die at last, like a living body deprived of the breath of life. Prayer knows no sex, for the soul has no sex, and it is the soul that must pray. Women can pray, and their prayers will be answered; but so can man, and so should men if they are to fill the place God has given them in the church.

Let us watch that we do not slide imperceptibly to a state where the women do the praying and the men run the churches. Men who do not pray have no right to direct church affairs. We believe in the leadership of men within the spiritual community of the saints, but that leadership should be won by spiritual worth.

Own worst enemy

How much futher ahead would I be if I actually, fully followed my own advice–the advice I’ve given people before? Living with a higher level of integrity, where I completely practice what I preach, might just be that “next place” for me.

I was hit with some conviction just moments ago when I sent an e-mail to a friend. I closed my paragraph with the sentence, “You have an anointing for it, so let’r rip!”

And then came waves of realization of the many ways I cower and back down from the things I’m learning I’ve been made for and called to–namely leadership.

“You have an anointing for it, Joel, so let’r rip!”

I think for the next while, I’ll attempt to declare this over my life each morning. Along with Romans 12:8.

A pain in my back

So, yeah… I obviously didn’t get around to posting from San Francisco. I’ll attribute that fact to being fairly discouraged by my sore back all week. Managing pain can really wear a person out! And then there was the fact that I was out late most evenings and didn’t do much stuff online, besides read about Wall St. and the race for the White House. Interesting stuff.

Also factored in was that I was somewhat out of sorts spiritually while there and didn’t really feel “filled up”, which is what enables me to pour out in blogs.Connected with that would be that I was also emotionally drained, being an introvert and not having many opportunities to recharge with some alone time the eight days I was gone. Feeling drained = not feeling like blogging. But, now that I think of it, maybe it would actually help combat feeling drained, which is a reason God wants me to do it more. Interesting…

Needless to say, it took me a few days to reorient to regular life. We had the leave-San Fran-at-12:15 a.m.-and-get-to-Jackson-at-10 a.m. red eye return flight. So, that essentially killed Sunday. Though, I did manage to catch the Detroit Lions getting crushed yet again. Thanks for the welcome back, Matt Millen.

So, there’s the mini-catch up. I’ll probably post some pictures sometime, though at first blush I wasn’t very impressed. A circular polarizer for my lenses would have done wonders to combat the hazy sky, but, alas, I have yet to buy one of those.

San Francisco is great, though. If you haven’t visited, you should sometime. And if you’re lucky, you might catch a few guys by the trollies holding scarey signs and warning you of the fires of hell!

California

I’m heading to the San Francisco area for a week. I’m attending a healthcare marketing conference with one of my bosses. I’m planning to hook up with my cousin Steve while I’m out there and he’ll hopefully be taking me to see the redwoods. Super excited about that possibility!

Please keep me and my back in your prayers. I woke up this morning to some real bad pain in the lower region and it hasn’t fully left the building yet. What building? God’s temple. And God doesn’t like junk in His temple. Can’t tell if this is some real physical problem or if it is more the enemy’s way of trying to steal my joy of getting a free vacation to California.

Hopefully I’ll be able to post a few updates while I’m there.

Peace.

Am not I a teacher (and communicator and writer)?

I’m announcing my intent to blog more.

I’m not fond of doing so, because it has the potential to create some sort of expectation among my few readers and I often find such expectations… annoying, for lack of a better word.

But, in spite of such potential annoyances, I still make the announcement because it also creates some sort of accountability for me to follow through. And that usually works quite well for me, because I’m also not fond of failing to do what I say I’ll do [1].  I’ve learned over the years that I’m better off just not committing to something than to make promises that could potentially be empty.

Anyway, it hasn’t been hard to notice that busy summer + fascinating girlfriend can = less blogging. And I’ve been okay with that. But God’s been talking to me about some things and I think it will do my relationship with Him some good to blog more. And hopefully a reader or two can be blessed on occasion as a result.

When I was in Iowa towards the end of July at the In Christ’s Image Training conference, I felt the Lord inviting me to blog “substantially” once a week. “Substantially” is, of course, a relative term. But I assure you that I recognize my August 12, 13 and 14 posts fell short of even the most diminutive [2] measures. And September’s have been equally unimpressive. So, I will be blogging more.

Sadly enough, God’s beckoning in Iowa wasn’t enough to get me started on this mission. But a combination of other things have helped establish my resolve to do so:

  1. Back-to-back messages from Pastor Scott on obedience. Hello, Flesh. Meet the Grim Reaper.
  2. Psalm 119 coming up on my Bible-in-a-Year reading plan [3]. If you can read Psalm 119 and not come under conviction that you aren’t passionate enough about implementing God’s Word in your life on a new level… you may not be saved. David said he “made haste, and did not delay to keep [God’s] commandments” (v. 60). I don’t think I can honestly say I’ve ever done that.
  3. A friend e-mailed me with a question on how to bust out of a dry spell he was experiencing. I typed out a four or five paragraph reply in which I reflected on things I’d learned in my walk with God. In doing so, I realized how much I enjoy writing on such topics and how much God can minister through it.

All those kinda came to a culmination this past Friday. It was a rather up-and-down week where I just felt blah and uninspired. As I was reflecting on the blah week during Scott’s message, God started talking to me about how hard I often am on myself for not being a certain “type” of Christian–the type being a more bold, more vocal, more Apostle Paul-like Christian. Such thoughts are among those that often discourage my walk and lead to said blah weeks.

So I took a look at one of the week’s highlights–e-mailing my friend–and then scribbled a note to myself atop my sermon notes: “Am not I a teacher (and a communicator and a writer?)”. I immediately felt empowered. I know, beyond all doubt, that those are important, if not primary, callings in my life. Then it dawned on me that the major, lasting ministry of the Apostle Paul was his writing ministry. Sure, being used to heal the entire populous of Malta was pretty sweet (Acts 28), but what’s endured for millenia?: His epistles.

Now, I’m not presuming to embark on drafting new books for the Bible. I’m simply recognizing:

  1. God’s inviting me to write
  2. Writing is a huge ministry
  3. I enjoy writing and maybe, just maybe, there’s a reason God designed me to enjoy it

That last point was the real kicker for me and it was a reminder that brought me much joy (which is a fruit of the Spirit, after all). I’ve heard the idea time and time again, but I obviously have to be reminded of it on occasion: God designed us a certain way for a certain reason. Swimming up-stream against who we really are leads to nothing more than frustration. I had caved into a cold, confining religious mindset in which I constrained what it looks like to serve God.

St. Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” Discovering those gifts and talents He’s given us and developing and living them out to their peak potential gives the Lord great glory. And, as a side benefit, we actually get to enjoy it, too!

So, in summary, obey God–even when He’s telling you to do what you enjoy doing [4] 🙂

1. And as a side note, I’ve also recently realized how much I hate not finishing books I’ve started. I currently have probably a dozen or so I’m anywhere from 10-90% finished with. Sadly enough, there’s even a book from way back in high school that I didn’t finish (ironically titled “Finishing Strong”) and I occasionally feel guilty about that. I may need some deliverance in this area.

2. “Diminutive” is a new word for me. I ran across it in a news article today. I’ve of course heard it before, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never used it. I hope I’ve done so properly.

3. Also referred to as the Bible-in-Two-Years plan by me.

4. Which, unfortunately, isn’t always the case.

It’s not you, God or global warming. It’s me.

Gustav, Hanna, Ike and Josephine are all lining up to strike record devastation upon US coastlines–another sure sign of God’s wrath toward our country, the onward march of global warming and the impending doom of humanity. Storms are getting increasingly frequent and violent, leading to greater havoc upon our cities and lives.

Or so it would seem.

But, in Why Disasters Are Getting Worse, TIME magazine suggests it isn’t the storms that are changing, it’s us.

If climate change is having an effect on the intensities of storms, it’s not obvious in the historical weather data. And whatever effect it is having is much, much smaller than the effect of development along coastlines. In fact, if you look at all storms from 1900 to 2005 and imagine today’s populations on the coasts, as Roger Pielke Jr., and his colleagues did in a 2008 Natural Hazards Review paper, you would see that the worst hurricane would have actually happened in 1926.

If it happened today, the Great Miami storm would have caused from $140 billion to $157 billion in damages. (Hurricane Katrina, the costliest storm in U.S. history, caused $100 billion in losses.) “There has been no trend in the number or intensity of storms at landfall since 1900,” says Pielke, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado. “The storms themselves haven’t changed.”

Ooops.

At last

It’s finally over. Detroit’s finally free. KK has left the building and the city can move on.

Detroit Mayor Pleads Guilty, Agrees to Resign

Please join with me and many others across our state in praying this will be a turning point in the history of our great state and the city of Detroit. I believe that as important of an event as this is in the natural, it holds even greater significance in the unseen realm.

It doesn’t need to be said again that Detroit and our state are struggling. It needs to be declared anew what the future holds.

Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes. – Isaiah 58:12

One of the greatest confessions in scripture

I know that you can do anything,
and no one can stop you.
You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’
It is I–and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
things far too wonderful for me.
You said, ‘Listen and I will speak!
I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.’
I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.

I take back everything I said,
and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance. (Job 42:2-6, NLT)

Unless you’re among those who “have seen [God] with [your] own eyes,” you’re among those who’ve “only heard about [God] before.”1 We would do well to readily confess and embrace our ignorance while granting others grace in their ignorance as well.

We’re all in this figuring-out-God thing together, right?

1 I realize, though, that we do have the benefit of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised would “teach us all things” and “guide [us] into all truth” (John 14 and 16). So, we can expect to encounter and understand God in profound ways that surpass Job’s original “I had only heard about you before” experiences.