Joel Maust Posts

Shake it like a polaroid… or pom pom

Then on October 17 of that same year, the Lord sent another message through the prophet Haggai. “Say this to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of God’s people there in the land: ‘Does anyone remember this house-this Temple-in its former splendor? How, in comparison, does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all! But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.’

“For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the dry land. I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!” – Haggai: 2:1-9 (NLT)

I ran across this scripture on October 7 and was going to write something about it then. But I didn’t ever flesh it out. So, I’m just going to go ahead and get it out there.

All I remember is that I felt it had some prophetic significance to what our country–and now the rest of the world–is going through from an economic standpoint. I guess the main points I felt impressed to me were:

  • Our current “temple” (i.e. the Dow) may seem like nothing compared to its former glory. But “Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised…”
  • All the nations surely are being shaken
  • The silver and gold are the Lord’s. Any means of preserving and/or manipulatubg the system contrary to God’s ways are ultimately useless. They way work for a while, but will always fail.
  • What God can rebuild through this crisis can be greater than that which He built originally

A sign of the times

And such an ugly sign it is. From the BBC:

The US government’s debts have ballooned so badly the National Debt Clock in New York has run out of digits to record the spiraling figure.

Some economists believe the $700bn bail-out plan for ailing US financial institutions could send the national debt level to $11 trillion.

The digital counter marks the national debt level, but when that passed the $10 trillion point last month, the sign could not display the full amount.

The board was erected to highlight the $2.7 trillion level of debt in 1989.

The clock’s owners say two more zeros will be added, allowing the clock to record a quadrillion dollars of debt.

Douglas Durst, son of the late Seymour Durst – the clock’s inventor – hopes to replace the Manhattan clock with its lengthier replacement early next year.

For the time being, the Times Square counter’s electronic dollar sign has been replaced with the extra digit required.

For its part, the digital dollar symbol has been supplanted by a cheaper version – perhaps a sign of the times for the American economy.

Compare what that says about our country with God’s ideal for a nation. Jeremiah 33:6-9 says:

Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.

There was a time when all the nations of the earth heard about the good things God was doing in America and people sought out the health, prosperity and peace that could be found within our borders. But those realities are slowing being replaced with sickness, debt and turmoil–things that have no place within the Kingdom of God, neither among his nations nor his people.

It’s a sign of the times. And an ugly sign it is.

Oct. 8 already?

Dang. How the time marches on. I thought for sure I had published my last post only a few days ago, not eight.

I guess the main purpose of this entry was to ensure you that I do have a substantial blog brewing. I think maybe it’s so broad in its potential scope that I’m kinda daunted by the prospect of writing it… and I’ll need considerable time to do so. Hopefully that can happen on Thursday, after my running.

Speaking of running, I think I mentioned a while back that I’m training for my second half marathon, which will be Oct. 25 on Mackinac Island. I’m pretty excited about it. The training is going really well. After I got past a somewhat-rough start and established a good base (which I guess you’re technically supposed to do before starting to train…), I’ve been able to train at a considerably higher intensity than last time. So, I’m hoping this will enable me to beat my PB by about 5 minutes and knock my pace down to under 8:00/mile–even if Mackinac has a lot more hills to climb than the roads of Jackson County.

And one more thing while I’m at it: Heather was a bit disappointed when I told her I changed the subtitle of my blog. She was rather fond of “Wading through life is great–until an 80′ tidal wave smacks you in the face”. Any thoughts on that one vs. my current subtitle, which, if you haven’t noticed, now reads: “The season of wading is over; now’s the time for full immersion”?

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.