Personal Jesus

By: John McCann

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Last night I was watching the Billabong snowboard competition in New Zealand. No, I was not in New Zealand. I was in my oversized leather club chair watching it take place on the TV. In the back of my mind...then in the front of my mind...then in the back and so forth (depending on the cool air the riders were getting), I realized something. I am not really part of this scene, but these riders are totally part of it. They are in it and doing it. For me, it was entertainment and something to pass the time, but for them it is their life. I must admit, I was a bit jealous. Doing what you love and having that love be something cool like snowboarding - well that is a bonus!

This, of course, stayed in my head as I went to sleep. My mind began to dream and I dreamed that I was a part of the wakeboard scene. I realize it is not snowboarding, but close! Besides it was a dream -- stick with me. I was hanging with all the right gear, chillin‘ on the coolest boats and shreadin‘ the best water. Then, one of my buddies said, hey where’s Declan? What? Declan!  My heart sunk. I awoke instantly, my stomach queasy. You see although I do not recall seeing my son Declan in the dream, it was implied that he was there at one time and now he was gone. Drowned or otherwise not there. What a horrible dream!

Then, it struck me. I had a little glimpse of how God feels when we are missing. Not that He would forget about us, but the sinking heart, the restlessness, and the queasy stomach. He wants to be real to you and me. Yet admittedly, when I try to read and spend time with God I get bored at times. I mean there is no X-game based around Bible reading and prayer! But there is more to the word of God then many of us realize.

An important understanding is that God is a personable God. Therefore, we must read and talk to Him in a more personable way. I love the way Dylan (see the video testimony section of this website), says he prays to God. “I ask God how His day is going.” “I ask for help in talking to that cute girl”. Spending time and being real and authentic is what creates a relationship.

Take for example Psalm 115. Read it. Go on read it right now. What do think? Yeah, it is good. But what if you were to personalize it like this…

Psalm 115 (paraphrased for me)
The Futility of My Idols and the Trustworthiness of God
1 Not unto me O LORD, not unto me ,
         But to Your name give glory,
         Because of Your mercy,
         Because of Your truth.
2 Why should I in my sin say,
         “So where is my God?”
3 But my God is in heaven;
         He does whatever He pleases.
4 My idols are silver and gold,
         the work of my hands.
5 They have mouths, but they do not speak;
         Eyes they have, but they do not see;
6 They have ears, but they do not hear;
         Noses they have, but they do not smell;
7 They have hands, but they do not handle;
         Feet they have, but they do not walk;
         Nor do they mutter through their throat.
8 When I worship them, I am like them;
         So is everyone who trusts in them.
9 I must trust in the LORD;
         He is my help and my shield.
10 I must trust in the LORD;
         He is my help and my shield.
11 When I fear the LORD, trust in the LORD;
         He is my help and my shield.
12 The LORD has been mindful of me;
         He will bless me;
         He will bless my house;
         He will bless my house.
13 He will bless me when I fear the LORD,
         Both small and great.
14 May the LORD give me increase more and more,
         both me and my family.
15 May I be blessed by the LORD,
         who made heaven and earth.
16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s;
         But the earth He has given to me.
17 The spiritually dead do not praise the LORD,
         Nor any who go down into silence.
18 But I will bless the LORD
         From this time forth and forevermore. …   
         Praise the LORD!

Suddenly, this chapter becomes a little more personal and a tad more meaningful. Now if we stop to think about this prayer and what it is suggesting, it becomes both real in terms of our daily distractions and powerful in the blessing that we are asking for. Let’s make one thing clear, it has been a long time, umm… never, since I have bowed down in worship to a golden calf or a stack of gold coins. I do not typically fall on the ground and plead for blessings from a statue of anything. However, my mind tends to be easily side-tracked with a pretty face and a curvy body or that cool four-wheel drive with the radical suspension,  or even that Billabong snowboard scene.

I suppose that is all fine until my mind gets stuck in the loop of discontentment and greed. When the red angel on my shoulder begins to whisper all the things that I should have or what things could make me happy and how I am missing out. As I dwell on those things, now I am moving towards sin and away from God. I have essentially bowed down to worship Billabong! Ugh. But then verses 9 to 11 step in and remind me that my help is in the Lord, that I must trust Him. That God is mindful (v12) of me! He knows my struggles and wants me to trust in Him for my emotional and physical fulfillment. Which is why verses 12 to 18 should be celebrated! God promises to bless us if we would only trust Him by being real and expressing our temptations, fears and concerns. So how about it, is it time to take a walk and be personal with Jesus?

Personal questions from a personal God:

1) What or who are you giving your attention to and is that bringing you closer to or further away from God?
2) What do you trust in?
3) How do you trust in God?
4) Are you being real and personable with God? How?

Almighty, Loving, Creator, God,
You are amazing to me. You see my trials and my weaknesses, yet have given me the power of choice. I know that sin and specifically my sin of _____________ makes your heart sick. Not because of me, but because my desires have lead me away from you. I call out to your Holy Spirit to enter in my heart and mind and move my body to complete and total trust and devotion to you. Thank you, Lord.

About the Author

John McCann is a family man married to Tracie with two children Declan and Daphne. By profession, John is an investment and insurance advisor working with individuals, businesses and philanthropic organizations. He is also the President of Peace4Youth, Inc. and holds many board positions. Additionally, John teaches in a self-started ministry called Crossroads where the objective is for members to look to Jesus for guidance and members for relatability and support. John is a man of integrity who, like all of us, is a real sinner with real sins, but who looks to our Heavenly Father for forgiveness, direction, support and friendship.  John’s desire is for you to call upon the name of Jesus and expect that He will answer your call.

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