16 years ago, I wrote this in my journal:
I found a “Last Days Ministries” site on the Internet with tons of articles and stuff by Kieth Green and many other great Christians. God’s already used some of it to speak to me about a couple of things. One I’ve mentioned before: My prayer life. I haven’t been excited and fervent enough about praying, and I had trouble today, too. But I’m gonna keep pressing on no matter how much Satan opposes me. God is on my side and He will help me form a greater prayer life if I endure.
Another is about missions, Kieth Green wrote an article titled, “Why You Should Go to the Mission Field,” and after reading it I feel very certain that that’s what God wants me to do. It makes me nervous, though. I’m a quiet guy and don’t do well with strangers, or foreigners for that matter. I don’t know where to go or who to talk to or how to raise money or anything! All I know is that Jesus has commanded me to go. Boy, if I ever had reason to get serious, focused, and disciplined, now I do!
I’m gonna write a letter to my brother and tell him about this. Mom talked to him on the phone the other night and it sounds like he’s doing good but he said one thing that disturbed me. He said he feels like God would have him preach or teach, but he doesn’t want to be in a boring, typical church where nothing happens. He wants to go somewhere where the Spirit is really working. And I agree! What disturbed me is that after six years of knowing God called him into the ministry, Andy said, “I’m not sure what god wants me to do.” That’s a problem. He must not be listening. I’ll write and encourage him.
— September 7th, 1999
Dear Former Self,
So you looked up some Christian articles online and now you think God is speaking to you through them? I wonder… if you had looked up some recipes online, would you think God is telling you what to make for dinner?
According to you, all the Christian articles you agree with were inspired by God, and all the articles you disagree with were inspired by mere mortals, or the devil. Don’t you find it suspicious that you and God are in agreement 100% of the time? It’s almost as if God only exists in your head.
Case in point: You read an article by Kieth Green called “Why You Should Go to the Mission Field” and now you want to be a missionary. How original. Isn’t it possible that because you read Kieth Green’s biography and became a fan of his music, you’re automatically agreeing with everything he wrote and just assuming God is speaking to you through his writings? I suspect that if Kieth Green had instead written an article called “Why You Should Be a Christian Musician,” you’d go buy an instrument and start practicing.
How do you know Jesus commanded you to be a missionary? Because you got excited about the mission field after reading an article that is specifically designed to get people excited about the mission field? Stop and think for a moment. Isn’t it possible that you’ve been manipulated by a very persuasive writer? Too bad Jesus doesn’t just appear and tell you exactly what to do, like he supposedly did with Saul on the road to Damascus.
As for your brother, the condescending attitude you have toward him is hilarious. You’ve been a dedicated Christian for a little over a year, and you already think you’re in a position to judge a Christian who went to seminary. Don’t you think that after six years, your brother has already tried listening to God? Maybe the problem isn’t with him. Maybe the problem is that there’s no God there to listen to.
— Matt, May 24th, 2016
This is part of an ongoing series called Letters to My Former Self.