Catch You Later

Four years ago I joined Twitter.

Three-and-a-half years ago I started a blog.

Three years ago God taught me a big lesson in humility.

Sometime in the last 18 months I forgot it.

I began to focus on my own personal success. I wanted to be one of the cool pastors, speaking at conferences and writing books.  I've been using Twitter and this blog and twitter to grow my platform and increase my influence.  I've wanted to meet people simply because they were influential and could help me further my career.

At some point I became more focused on the number of people following me than the number of people following Christ

Five weeks ago God began convicting me of my pride.

Rachel and I were on vacation in Seattle, and we visited Mars Hill Church.  The sermon that week was based on Luke 22:24-30, wherein the disciples begin arguing about which of them is the greatest.

Mars Hill is preaching through the book of Luke over the course of two years, and I just happen to be on vacation in Seattle the weekend they preach on pride?  I guess you could chalk it up to coincidence.

The previous weekend we began a sermon series at NCC called "The Three Headed Dragon" in which the first sermon addressed—you guessed it—the sin of pride.

So two weekends in a row I hear two sermons on pride from two different pastors on opposite sides of the country?

God was trying to tell me something, something I really didn't want to hear.

In his sermon at Mars Hill Mark Driscoll posed seven questions that we can ask ourselves to help us determine if we're pursuing Godly greatness or worldly greatness.  I think the last one was the most convicting.

Would you rather achieve a status or make a difference?

Would you rather have a real impact or just get noticed, have the title, the promotion, the recognition?

I realized that I wasn't sure I could honestly answer that question the way it should be answered.

What a fun thing to think about on the first day of vacation, huh?

As our vacation continued I began to question if maybe I needed to give up blogging for a while, but thought "I can't do it now. The Catalyst conference is coming up, and I need to be able to make connections and get more blog readers and Twitter followers while I'm there."

And so I didn't do it, and I went into Catalyst more focused on making connections than listening for what God wants to do in my ministry.

But these thoughts, this idea of fasting from my blog, stuck with me, and God has a way of breaking through.

The first day at Catalyst I went to a session by Michael Hyatt on the heart of a leader, and God went to work on my heart.

Suddenly Catalyst became not primarily about making connections and not even primarily about my ministry.  It became about the condition of my own heart.  And as I listened to speaker after speaker God continued to show me not how I could use their messages to change my ministry but rather how I could use them to change my heart.

Tied in with all of this is an awareness that over the past few months I have become more judgmental, hypercritical, and less happy.  I've been getting angry far to easily and far too often.  It's hard to explain exactly how this is related to my pride and desire for self-promotion, but it is.

At the end of Catalyst they asked us to write down two things that we needed to take away from the conference.  I wrote:

  • Lead and pastor out of overflow of my relationship with Christ.
  • Seek to make God's name famous, not my own.

And so in an effort to combat my pride and soften my calloused heart, I have made the decision to take a step back from Twitter and blogging for a while, as they have been two of the biggest outlets for my pride.

Deciding to give them up started as a very difficult decision but after being made became a very obvious one.  Even though I haven't actually begun the fast, just making the decision is already changing my heart.  I've started having all of these ideas for new blog posts, but rather than my primary motivation to write them being to draw attention to myself, I genuinely want them to to help others learn and grow.

Alas, those posts will have to wait for another time, as I'll be off of Twitter and blogging for about a month.  At that point I plan to re-evaluate the condition of my heart and see if I need to continue the fast.

During these weeks I'll be putting a renewed emphasis on growing my relationship with Christ, and I'll probably write some stuff that you guys won't see for a little while.  I might even tackle a couple of projects that have been rolling around in my head.  I'd covet your prayers during this period.

If you typically talk with me on Twitter and want to get in touch with me, just drop a comment here, and I'll shoot you an e-mail.  I'll also still be on Facebook, so you can hit me up there.

While this is the story of my struggle with pride, I'd encourage you to use it as an opportunity to examine your own heart and motivations.  Ask yourself those seven questions I mentioned, and if my story sounds like your story, fight the battle with pride now.  The longer you wait the more damage it will do.

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Posted at 3:31 PM on October 14th, 2011
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