laying it all out there

I recently met a new friend, a PCA gospel friend, who started out our conversation by saying: “I’ve read your blog and you really lay it all out there.”  Do I?  Or maybe I’m holding back much more, and my heart – like yours – is darker and more corrupt than could ever be shown?  Perhaps I do do lay it all out there. 

Then a church attendee told me last night that if I ever stop sharing the struggles of my own life when I preach that she will stop listening. She said the same: “Thanks for not holding back.”  To which I said, “Well I do hold back some things.  I don’t tell people how often I beat my wife.”  JOKE.

I don’t even know what  it is to lay it all out there.  But I know that this blog is my place to honestly divulge that I am the worst of sinners with the most need for dependence on Christ.  I really do feel that way. 

Last week was horrible.  Scary thing was – I started the week with multiple announcements to my family that it was going to be the best week ever.  Work on Monday.  Then New Year’s Eve.  Bowl games on Tuesday.  Fiesta Bowl on Wednesday night (atta boy Papa).  Les Miserables on Broadway on Thursday.  Day off on Friday.  Wedding party on Saturday.  The best week ever.

Not really.  See, I have always known that, even on the good days, I have isolated moments of selfishness.  Just moments so I thought – until last week.  Then last week I realized why my life is often a string of selfish moments (you know, with the good life being the links on the chain)… it is a string of selfish moments because I am as self-absorbed as Satan was before he his Fall.  Maybe an exaggeration.  Could be.

I’ll leave the actual selfish tantrums for you to imagine… but I say this to those who know me.  I am a sinner.  I am a husband who fails to love his wife.  I am a dad who is often interrupted by his kids – not because they do a lot of interruptions – but because I am constantly preoccupied with my life that I don’t want to have interrupted!  I am a wrecking ball of dispassion and myopic vision (I am so nearsided I see only me).  Last week, rather than mending the broken or being broken with the broken – I tended to tell the broken to get over it and quit messing up my good week.  O, and then I would go and preach or lead a Bible study or pray with people at the office… 

I am weak.  I need the gospel.  I hurt.  I hurt others.  I am not even laying it all out there… nor do I care if I have laid out too much.  Praise be to God that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.  Praise be to God that when we are weak, he is strong.  Praise be to God that he will finish the work that he has begun in us. 

O, and I’m glad its a new week.  Nothing to hide.  Nothing to fear.  Nothing lie about.  I am the worst of sinners, but he gives more grace. 

O to plant a church where people as unilaterally messed up as me gather to worship and depend on the God of glorious grace for the weak. 

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4 thoughts on “laying it all out there

  1. Yes you do lay it all out there.
    We all see your life as an open book, and in my conversations with you, you have always been open and honest, A man who love God more than anything and a man who I see doing all he can to love others more than himself.

    We are all weak, but you certainly seem to have the big picture in perspective, and that’s something to be thankful for, even when the week’s turn out so terribly when there was so much hope for a great week.

    I hope this one IS a great week.

  2. Pam says:

    I think that was what touched us most at Harmony – you did lay it all out there. We knew you were a sinner, as we all are, but we also knew you were covered in God’s grace and we knew how much you loved God and how you strove to do His will. You are not selfish…you are a caring, loving, and compassionate servant of Christ!

  3. Sarah says:

    Jim,

    I challenge you (not because I think that you might need it but because I know that I would) that your attitude when you do lay it all out there would not be pride in how weak a Christian you are (what a good weak Christian! and then you tell us all about how weak you are, amazing!) but humbleness before a huge God.

    It is so easy for me to confess popular, non-intimate sins, and sound so good at confessing. And people say, “thanks for being so open; you are so encouraging.” And I think, “yeah, I’m such a great sinner, isn’t that wonderful.” And all the while I am ignoring God saying, “Sarah, what about this sin, over here, that no one sees but indicates even more strongly that you don’t trust me whatsoever? Not to mention the fact that you just confessed to pride, yet you aren’t remorseful at all, because look at how proud you are of what a great sinner you are.”

    Even now, why am I writing this? To make you think I’m insightful? Ai-ya. Still, it stands, just in case you need it.

  4. weakchristian says:

    A blog post with 3 comments. Must have written something provacative. Sarah – thanks for your honest challenge (rebuke, insight, punishingly obvious truth, etc.). Seriously, you have wisdom and you are discerning on when to speak it into others’ moments. So thank you. Yeah, I certainly have to resist the temptation to be prideful in my weaknesses, especially when my personal theology and philosophy of ministry is rooted in discovering grace through weakness.

    You were acutely accurate in firing your arrow. Commment accepted. Appreciated. Pondered. Hmmm.

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