Three posts in twelve days

This has to be my biggest blog-drought yet. Sorry.

The parents have been in town of late. Dad rolled in a week ago yesterday. The business he’s a partner in ran into a bit of a slow time, so they decided to take a break for a few weeks. Uncle John drove my cousin Steve out to California for his new job; Mike visited his son in Wisconsin; Dad came down here to Jackson to help do some tiling in our basement and replace a big window with a patio door.

We’re doing the patio door tomorrow. For the past week, Dad’s been working at my co-worker Ann’s house. I offered a prayer request for Dad and the business at staff meeting a few weeks ago and Ann said they had some work he could do if he had some time. So, I bounced if off him and he was game. As it turns out, this is a project that has been lingering over Ann and Brian for about 18 months. So, they were more than welcome to hire it out rather than try to finish it themselves.

Worked out well for them, my father, and Scott and I, who had our own lingering home improvement project that wasn’t getting done. Lynn Maust to save the day. Thanks, Dad!

I’ll admit: the prospect of having my father living with me for over a week freaked me out at first. I stressed about juggling my dad-to-day life and routines with making sure Dad had food for his lunches and didn’t have to eat out every night… and didn’t have to sit around and read by himself all night. I knew he was fine doing that stuff, but I didn’t want that to be his experience.

I was also a bit anxious about his and my mom’s first visit to my church. Once Dad discovered that Ann’s job was going to take him an entire week rather than a few days, I realized he’d be around for the weekend and would of course go to church with me on Sunday. Mom proceeded to visit over the weekend, so they would both be in attendance.

I was fine with them visiting church when I attended Westwinds. In fact, I was excited because ‘Winds is a hip, edgy church. It has a cool factor. It’s progressive and different.

But as we all know–or maybe we don’t all know–I now attend what many would say is a “charismatic” church. An accurate title or not, it’s what people use to describe such churches, so I won’t say it isn’t. It is what it is. Praise and worship is energetic, loud and not-always-orderly. People, including myself, sometimes shout–along the lines of the verse “Shout to the Lord, all the earth.” “Amens” come from the congregation during the message and prayer for healing and deliverance often happens following the message. Charismatic? Whatever. I call it Christian.

So why would I be nervous about my parents attending for the first time? My church experience now more closely resembles what I read in the Bible than ever. I hear more scripture–both from the pulpit and from other members–than ever. I see more people ministered to and set free through prayer–both from the pastor and from the body–than ever. I’ve experienced more rapid personal spiritual growth than ever. I have more life and freedom to offer other people–because I’m living in more life and freedom–than ever. I commune with the Father in more deep and intimate ways than ever. I’m bearing more fruit in my life than ever. I have more love and joy and vision and faith than ever.

And I’m more nervous about friends and family visiting my church… than ever.

What’s wrong with this picture?

I have a hard time expressing to others this transformation I know is taking place within me. Not to Scott or Sherry or Clark or others in our small group… but to people who are outside my everyday life. The JLS guys. My parents. My brother and sister. Extended family. I deeply want them to know what is happening within me, but I find it so hard to communicate.

How does one express, for example, how a struggle I’ve had since seventh grade simply disappears one week in January after pressing into worship and communing with the Lord more intensely than ever? How does one express, for example, that the Lord told me ahead of time that this particular week was going to be an important one in my life? I didn’t know why at the time, but I sure do now.

I suppose one expresses it by simply stating the facts, just as I did above. But for some reason, I tell myself they won’t get it. So, I don’t bother to say anything. I keep the treasure that is within concealed and hidden, covered with a cloth and slightly coated with dust.

So for those of you who aren’t around me every day, or at least a couple times a week, and for those of you who I have simply kept my mouth closed around: I’m sorry for robbing you of the blessing of a testimony.

But here it is:

I’M DIFFERENT! I’M NOT THE SAME JOEL YOU KNEW OR THINK YOU KNOW! MAYBE I DON’T ALWAYS ACT DIFFERENT OR YOU DON’T ALWAY SEE IT, BUT BELIEVE ME AND THE PEOPLE I’M AROUND ALL THE TIME WHO KNOW ME BEST: I’M DIFFERENT.

AND I’M NOT ASHAMED OF THE CHURCH I ATTEND. I’M PROUD OF IT BECAUSE THE TRUTH GOES OUT EACH AND EVERY WEEK AND WHEN PEOPLE FINALLY COME TO KNOW THAT TRUTH, IT SETS THEM FREE JUST AS SCRIPTURE SAYS IT WILL. AND GOD WANTS TO DO IN YOU EXACTLY WHAT HE IS DOING IN ME BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU JUST AS MUCH AS HE LOVES ME!

As Crowder puts it:

Come and listen
Come to the water’s edge
All you who know and fear the Lord
Come and listen
Come to the water’s edge
All you who are thirsty, come

Let me tell you what He has done for me
Let me tell you what He had done for me
He has done for you
He has done for us

Come and listen
Come and listen to what He’s done
Praise our God for He is good
He has done for me
He has done for you
He has done for us

Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a blogger, marketer and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.

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