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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




Primal

By Mark Batterson
June 6, 2010

I’ve discovered that when I’ve lost my way spiritually, the way forward is often backward.

Every year our entire church staff goes on a pilgrimage to the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, Ga. During one of the sessions this past year, our team was sitting in the balcony of the Gwinnett Center listening to my friend and the pastor of Lifechurch.tv, Craig Groeschel. And he asked this question: “Does your heart break for the things that break the heart of God?” I felt a tremendous sense of conviction when Craig asked that question. As I sat in that balcony, surrounded by 12,000 other leaders, I heard the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit said to my spirit in His kind yet convicting voice: Mark, what happened to the college kid who used to pace the chapel balcony seeking My face?

There are few things I hate less or appreciate more than the conviction of the Holy Spirit. It is so painful. But it is so necessary. And I’m so grateful that God loves me enough to break me where I need to be broken. Can I make an observation? You cannot listen to just half of what the Holy Spirit has to say. It’s a package deal. If you aren’t willing to listen to everything He has to say, you won’t hear anything He has to say. If you tune out His convicting voice, you won’t hear His comforting voice or guiding voice either. As I was seated in that balcony, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the raw spiritual intensity I once had as a student at Central Bible College. He revealed how calloused my heart had become. And I realized that I had somehow lost my soul while serving God. And it wrecked me.

In the providence of God, I happened to be scheduled to speak at CBC the next week. So a few days later I found myself in the chapel balcony where I had logged hundreds of hours pacing back and forth seeking God. It was during prayer times in that balcony when my heart began to break for the things that break the heart of God. It was there that God began to shape my soul to seek Him. It was there that God began to fill my mind with God ideas. It was in that balcony that God energized me by giving me a God-sized vision for my life.

Returning to that chapel balcony almost two decades later, I realized that in many ways I had become a paid professional Christian. My heart didn’t beat as strongly as it once did. My pulse didn’t quicken in the presence of God like it once had. So God took me back to a very primal place. And the Holy Spirit lovingly reminded me that the college kid with a huge heart for God was still somewhere inside me. I knew that getting back what I once had meant getting back to basics. It meant doing what I had once done. It meant rediscovering and reimagining what it means to love God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. And somewhere along the way, in my personal quest for my lost soul, I found it.

Is there a chapel balcony somewhere in your past? A place where you met God and God met you? A place where your heart broke with compassion? A place where your soul was filled with wonder? A place where your mind was filled with holy curiosity? A place where you were energized by a God-ordained dream? Maybe it was a sermon that became more than a sermon. God birthed something supernatural in your spirit. Maybe it was a missions trip or retreat. And you swore you’d never be the same again. Or maybe it was a dream or a vow or a decision you made at an altar. May the Lord take you back to that primal place — the place where you loved God, God loved you, and that’s what mattered most.

From Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity by Mark Batterson. Copyright © 2009 by Mark Batterson. Excerpted with permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


MARK BATTERSON is lead pastor of National Community Church, an Assemblies of God congregation in Washington, D.C.

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