I Am ___?

oaktreedevotional35

Exodus 3: 13-14…Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM who I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.”

To begin here, Pastor Steven Furtick, gets all credit for the creation of this post. The idea, as well as scripture reference, is borrowed from his bible study currently available for free on the Bible app. Specifically, from Day 2 of the 7 day study. All of which is based on his latest best-selling book, ‘(UN) Qualified.’

To be fair, I’m no fan of non-denominational mega church pastors that are unusually wealthy. In fact, I spend a good amount of time discouraging that sort of thing. To rub salt in the wound, he’s cut his teeth burrowing out the longstanding faith traditions of my hometown of Charlotte, NC. His Elevation Church has gobbled up thousands and thousands and is one of the most successful churches in America. Am I right to have a strong dislike for it? No. Am I wrong about him? Time will tell.

Now that I have that disclaimer out of the way, I will say what I’ve come to like about Pastor Furtick. I saw an interview recently with him talking about this latest book. I loved the story he gave of the inspiration behind it. It was his reaction to critics just like myself. “This man is unqualified.” He agrees. He’s watching these people slam him and he’s saying to them, “You’re right, I don’t belong here.” But God placed him there nonetheless, and has obviously greatly blessed the mission. Who am I to judge this? No one. It’s turned my head around in the way I think of Steven Furtick. It’s not exactly like I’m suffering in dire poverty either. But the thing I find most damaging about him, is the reason why he’s been so successful: Using scripture to focus souls on themselves. He’s a prince of self-help, inward focused, twisted theology. Transformation is the process of losing self.  But…on day 2 of this study, he turned his followers outward. “Yes!” I exclaimed, as I read it this morning.

As the Pastor points out by using the above scripture, God answers the question of Moses of what his name is simply by saying, “I AM.” God needs no third word of description behind that proclamation. God is everything. We, however, need the next word. What is our answer when we ask, “What am I?” Pastor Furtick’s answers were, “unqualified, stupid, strong, driven, screwed up, loyal, stuck, hurting, overwhelmed, blessed, capable, disappointed, broken, hopeful, jaded, and content.” Powerful self-revelation, and as usual, focused inward. Here’s where he took it outward – “How does all this compare with God’s assessment of you?”

1 Corinthians 1: 26-29…Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

I added that scripture to Pastor Furtick’s lesson. He’s found within it. I’m certainly found within it. All of God’s chosen are found within it. Not wise, not influential, and not noble. Foolish. Weak. Lowly. Despised. REDEEMED. Because of Him. Righteous. Because of Him. Holy. Because of Him. Let no man boast but only in the Lord. Amen. This is what Pastor Furtick accomplished in his message. It uplifted me.

I am – Saved. What are you?

Gary Abernathy

 

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