Written by Derek Levendusky
From Dave Lenehan: My friend and ministry colleague Derek Levendusky holds a myriad of God-given talents. He’s Pastor of GraceLife Church in Avon, NY. He’s a singer, songwriter, guitarist/pianist, seminar speaker, wrestling coach, Dolphins fan (don’t hold that against him), father of six and husband of an amazingly talented woman of God. We’ve shared scores of incredible ministry experiences together, seeing God move in the hearts of young people at concerts, worship events and youth conferences. I am honored to call him a friend and to have served alongside him for close to two decades. Derek takes up Weekly Thoughts pen today.
At GraceLife Church, we talk often about ‘preaching the gospel to yourself.’ What does this mean? How often do we wake up with negative, depressing, or condemning thoughts? Our heart needs good news, not bad news. Remembering the cross, who I am in Christ, and what I have in Christ lifts me up and out of the funk.
Tim Keller said that preaching the gospel to yourself is talking to your heart and not letting your heart talk to you. My heart is filled with insecurities, worries, fears, and so many dark impressions, I need grace and sometimes have to force gospel thoughts into my head. So, I wake up with the blues. I’m dragging myself around.
Then I preach the gospel to myself. “Derek,” I say, “you woke up loved by God this morning. You didn’t create it or earn it and don’t have to work your way to it. Jesus Christ in his death has removed every barrier to keep you from the love of the Father. You are a loved son no matter how you feel, what you’ve done in your past, or what circumstances you have in your life right now. In the cross, Christ took all shame and condemnation away. There is no wrath left for you. God is not against you. Now you have access to eternal joy and eternal peace.”
“Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:5-11, NIV)
It’s like a well you can draw from. You now stand where Moses stood, at a burning bush that never goes out. Be content and fear not, o heart! This day is in the hands of your Father, created by Him and for Him. Whether in weakness or strength, go live it for His glory.
“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14, NIV)