“So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God.
You'll be changed from the inside out...” —Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)
I’ve been ruined for an ordinary life; ruined for an average existence; ruined for an everyday, run-of-the-mill mundane lifestyle... ruined for business as usual. From the moment I experienced the life-changing power of God’s love—an overwhelming flood of mercy, grace, joy and the peace of the Lord that passes all understanding—there was no going back. There would be no returning to good when great had been found.
In the fall of 2004 I lost my life. It was the best thing that has ever happened to me! For so long I had been living in my own strength and making things happen with my own might. I strove for excellence and was driven. I lived by the letter of the law and moved through the motions with the best of them. I was catering to the Old Covenant without knowing or understanding what it meant to live under grace, through faith, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I had come to Christ at a young age and was baptized with the Holy Spirit at a youth camp a few years later. The power of the Holy Spirit had been real and relevant at that point and had taken hold of my life in a powerful way. But I let go and wandered off over time, leaving it a distant memory. It became a monumental time in my past, and a cherished experience, but it was no more than that.
About three years ago a book arrived in my hands by way of a friend. The title was Drawing Near: A Life of Intimacy with God by John Bevere. As I studied his inspired writing on the Holy Spirit and its continuous power, I began to develop a craving for the things of the Lord. A new passion, fervor, and vigor for the Holy Spirit, and His fruit, began to form inside of me and take root.
As the Holy Spirit began to infiltrate and permeate my every thought and action, I became relentless in my hunger and thirst for righteousness. It was no longer I who lived, but Christ and the Holy Spirit who lived in me. The old man began to be stripped away and the new man was being birthed. I put away what I was born to do and stepped into what I was born-again to do. I had been apprehended by Christ Himself, and I was now living a lifestyle of unbroken fellowship and communion.
One evening during a worship service at church, I began to sense the presence of God’s love like never before. I had always known and understood that God loved me unconditionally, but this night was different. It felt as if the Lord was wrapping His arms around me at that very moment. As I was offering up my songs of worship, He was pouring into me the power of His love.
There was no course of action except to be still and wait on the Lord as He flooded my heart, mind, soul, and spirit with His goodness, mercy, and grace. As I sat saturated in my Savior’s glory, I couldn’t help but be reminded of His unfailing, uncompromising, everlasting love for me. The power of His love was changing me, and would continue to change me all the days of my life.
Ruined For Ordinary
"I'm back!" Those were the words that burst from my lips as I sat playing the piano the next morning, conversing with my wife. For quite some time, leading up to that moment of declaration, the Lord had been laying the groundwork for a transformation and renewing of my mind. To my utter surprise and complete joy, this particular morning was the day my Redeemer had chosen to unveil my heart and unmask my mind!
For the first time in years I could see clearly. Words, sentences, phrases, and Scriptures poured out of me at such a rapid rate I couldn't keep up. Songs began to well-up and burst the banks of my soul. It was all I could do to contain myself. I wanted to sing, dance, shout, and let everyone in on this new life. My wife and I rejoiced in the Lord and what He had done. We rejoiced in His redeeming power and unparalleled ability to repair, restore, and rebuild that which had been broken, beaten, and bruised. He had handed me the gift of life— not just life, but abundant life!
As Ruined For Ordinary began to take shape, I came to the realization that it was not me who was doing the molding. It was not me forging ahead, nor was it my ingenuity that was breaking new ground. But the Lord singing through me? I didn't esteem myself as a qualifying candidate. If you listened to my history, it sounded like a sharp sonnet of ill-advised standards. I had allowed myself to fall prey to the manufactured and fabricated creation club.
However, the Creator had a different blueprint for His musical offerings. Total surrender, combined with unbroken communion with the one and only Father of Soul, allowed me access to the deepest well of words and worship available to the starving artist—and I was a starving artist!
Each morning I allowed the Holy Spirit to permeate my pores and saturate my soul. No longer did I have the right to write unless the Author and Finisher of my faith was flowing freely through my fingers. I had experienced the Lord's love, and now I was capable of expressing it! Wrapped in His love and tenderness, the selections that poured out were limitless and knew no bounds. His love had hit me with its eternal force, and its personal and passionate character illuminated my every song. His agenda was my agenda.
Ruined For Ordinary captures the crystal stream that the Lord wants to pour out, in, and through all of us. The voices, lyrics, instruments, and melodies on this recording are the result of a life that was once lost, but is now found; a life that was changed by a cascading fountain of life and light; a life that was rearranged and prioritized; and most of all, a life that was and is, ruined for ordinary!
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