Happy Memorial Day Eve!
There’s a school of ministry in Hamilton, Alabama called “The Ramp” that I sought out online after hearing one of its leaders, Damon Thompson, speak at a conference in Tennessee last year. I say “speak,” but man, he puh-reached! But this dude doesn’t look like any enrobed and reserved preacher I fell asleep to – I mean, attentively listened to – growing up; he has long brown hair, a full beard, a forehead that is perpetually perspiring, and he paces with giant, purposeful strides across the platform, stopping only to wipe his brow from time to time with a bright red paisley handkerchief he keeps stuffed in his back pocket. From what I can tell, the only difference between his and John the Baptist’s appearance is that instead of camel hair, he wears distressed jeans and flip-flops. At least John the Baptist wore a leather belt! (Matthew 3:4) Did I mention Mr. Thompson has a sleeve of tattoos, too? (I happen to think that’s pretty awesome ;-).)
Since that soul-stirring occasion, I have been blessed time and time again by the convicting and revitalizing messages that emanate from The Ramp’s pulpit. These are not your everyday “Bible verse, five points, and a brief summary of application” messages!
This morning, for example, I listened to a guest speaker (Casey Doss) preach from Habakkuk 2:2 and 1st Corinthians 9:26.
“And the LORD answered me: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.’” – Habakkuk 2:2
“Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.” – Corinthians 9:26
Every minute of the message is jam-packed with biblical truth and oftentimes intense revelation that impels one to nod their head and clap their hands the moment sound waves escape his lips; the Holy Spirit – the third person of the Godhead – is undoubtedly at work stirring and awakening believers to recognize their identity in Christ and realize their destiny as God’s children. Needless to say, I highly recommend you watch the entirety of the message here if you feel led! The Ramp message May 22, 2011
I’m not going to try to repeat or reiterate what Mr. Doss preached about, and what I believe the Lord inspired Him to communicate to those He knew would be listening (maybe you are one of those He foreknew would hear it! 😉 ), but I will say that “writing the vision” and “making it plain” are two things I intend to do with zeal and gusto!
God has hard-wired us with desires and innate tendencies to be drawn to specific projects and particular people whose interests and goals align with our own. So many of us know deep down where our hearts lie when it comes to our “ideal job,” “perfect mate,” or even our “best body,” but we don’t take time to, as Mr. Doss puts it, “get down and dirty” with the details of planning and, in effect, strategizing to attain our goals and seize God’s best for us!
I often find myself simply throwing my hands up muttering, “God will take care of it; I’m not supposed to worry…” Yes, that’s true, we’re not to worry (Matt. 6:35-34), but we’re also not to be idle in our “pursuit” of God’s plans for us – and if you don’t think He has plans for you, read Jeremiah 29:11! 😉
We cannot expect to do business as usual with the expectation that a hot air balloon filled with our perfect husband, perfect job contract, and perfect wardrobe for our new perfect body is going to drift down onto our doorstep at some unplanned time in the future, when “God ordains.” James 2:17 clearly states that faith without works is dead and useless. God blesses planning! He blesses us when we run after the vision as He instructed Israel to do through Habakkuk and as Paul did ceaselessly as we read in the New Testament.
In my own life, I see clearly the need to run, but not aimlessly like a thrill-seeker, wanderer, or a prodigal son. I see clearly the need to fight, but not like a fighter shadow-boxing, as Paul stated. I need to not only have faith that one day my dreams and desires will manifest, but also the works to propel me towards them!
What’s the point in running when you don’t know where the finish line is or what it looks like? Why fight if you don’t even know who your opponent is or what you’re fighting for? This week, I think I’ll ask God to guide me as I put some pen to paper and make a plan! 🙂
Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di