This evening I turned on the Windows media player on my computer as I putted around the house and played with my kids. As I browsed through the many CD's that I have ripped, I came across a couple of them that really took me back.
The first was from a band called Elijah's Cry. They are now called Midday but when I first heard them and got their CD they were still Elijah's Cry. I first heard them on a Frontliners mission trip to Kansas City in the summer of 2004. They were the band for the week and they simply brought it. They aren't big - you probably have never heard of them - but they were a bunch of college-age guys who were committed to honoring the Lord and producing music that did the same.
The other band is called Broken Vessels, and they were the band at a Frontliners mission trip that my church helped host in the summer of 2005. These guys were quiet by nature, but in the short amount of time that I spent with them I grew to love them. They also were gifted musically but it was their spirit and their desire to serve the Lord that has stuck with me.
Listening to the songs of both bands really took me back to those 2 summers and to what God was doing in my life and my ministry at the time. Those two weeks on mission were intense and rewarding and I remember feeling almost giddy for weeks after they were over. The students that I serve were also moved in incredible ways on those trips - I remember praying that somehow God would allow those feelings to stay, both for them and for myself.
Oswald Chambers in his classic devotional "My Utmost for His Highest" wrote about such times on his April 25 entry:
"One of the worst traps a Christian worker can fall into is to become obsessed with his own exceptional moments of inspiration. When the Spirit of God gives you a time of inspiration and insight, you tend to say, "Now that I've experienced this moment, I will always be like this for God." No, you will not, and God will make sure of that. Those times are entirely the gift of God. You cannot give them to yourself when you choose. If you make a god out of your best moments, you will find that God will fade out of your life, never to return until you are obedient in the work He has placed closest to you, and until you have learned not to be obsessed with those exceptional moments He has given you."
As I read those words from Chambers, I am reminded that God has given me incredible memories and nostalgia as a means to encourage and push me forward. If I do nothing but sit around and dream of the old days or the way things used to be, lamenting that they aren't that way anymore, then I am going backward and will get nowhere fast. So as I had my nostalgic moments earlier today I paused and thanked God for allowing me to experience so many spiritual "highs" in my life and ministry. And I also asked Him to continue to move me forward, no so that I could repeat anything that I did in the past but rather so that He could use me in the future in whatever ways He sees fit.
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