Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Great Identity Crisis by David VanCronkhite

Kingdoms Clashing: the Inevitability of Change

The Great Identity Crisis
"Listen carefully. I'm speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of
            what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have
            seen with my own eyes." (John 3:11 The Message)

The youth mission leader's introduction was kind and very honoring. His high school age team, weary after a long day of "doing ministry" in Atlanta's inner city, listened intently as he told them my qualifications for standing in front of them that evening.

Somewhere during the introduction I realized he wasn't talking about me, but about someone who had once founded a ministry with the poor, had been a pastor of a large inner city church, and had an evangelistic and prophetic gifting proven by many souls won and lives changed. Sounded good, but what happened to the "real" me?

I listened to all that a 501(c)3 ministry did and its identity with the poor, homeless, and the addicted. I heard about the impact of this great cause. My heart sank. I had never intended to get caught up in a cause, a crusade, a systematic program. But this evening I was finding out I had become what I never wanted to become. I was being introduced to and valued by a new generation for my position, my ministry, my performing.

I realized once again the warning of the old saying, "You can die for a cause, but a cause will not die for you." We can invest all our identify into the company store, yet when its all said and done--if that is our only identity--we are a lost cause. Oh, souls may be won and our gift will be displayed, but we run the great risk of hearing Jesus say "I never knew you" and "You never knew Me."

Moving into the neighborhood

For too long we have been traveling on a narrow path of gifts and ministry instead of journeying down an ever-widening road of relationship with God and real people hungry for Him. He wants us "to move into the neighborhood" to display His love and promises to all. Surely God has more in store for His created than to put us on earth just to keep us out of hell.

Change never comes easy. When we're going through change and can no longer put a patch on the old worn out clothes or pour new wine into old wineskins, our world can become a fearful, lonely place. When the new is coming into focus and the old still seems so much better, we can slide into disillusionment, anger, and loneliness, were it not for His faithfulness and grace.

When everything--and I mean everything--is being shaken, and we are waiting, waiting, waiting and not even sure for what, we discover how uncomfortable we are with the answer "I don't know!" Shifting our identity from what we do and living up to another's expectations into the freedom of life with a God of immeasurable love is under attack. But if our identity is in anything other than the Father and His unfathomable love, we are at great risk of missing His whole point of creation and our lives.

I was never really introduced to those youth. If I had been, they would have realized I was "saved" but not necessarily born from above; that I was birthed instead into a system of man in the late 60's and early 70's called the Moral Majority that stood against drugs, sex, rock n roll, liberals, hippies, long hair and Hollywood. I joined a very good church, learned how to walk out the spiritual disciplines, and began to prosper in corporate America and the church. Nothing wrong there, except it would be years before I could find a Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven; years before I knew it was all right to hunger for a supernatural reality of the Spirit of God in every man; and nearly four decades of preaching about the greatest of all commands--to love God and love man--before I knew anything about "agape."

Now my time had come to speak. And I could only speak from the heart of the man I was now and becoming after thirty-nine years of somewhat misguided Christianity. I wasn't sure how to start or where to end but I began to tell them how my life had been painfully, yet wonderfully, interrupted and re-centered on God and His supernatural, relational love. I told them that if it is God, it has to be relational and it has to be supernatural. I asked them if they were God would they create a Kingdom that was based on anything other than love? And could there be anything more important than learning to love your neighbor, even your enemy? And if they were God and were bringing their Kingdom to earth would they bring anything that was merely natural? Or would it be paranormal, supernatural?

"So, what do you do now?"

When I finished, a girl came over with great interest and amazement. "You really believe in the supernatural. You really believe in the relationship stuff with God," she said. I liked that she got it, but then she asked the dreaded question: "So, what do you do now?

I wanted to answer with something that sounded good but I decided to tell her the painful, simple truth. "I'm waiting." I'm waiting because God said He would not be mocked. He said He would change me. He would start by teaching me love and faith. He would re-center me on His Kingdom, the unshakeable Kingdom of God. He is recreating my identity in Him, and not in what I do, even for Him.

I'm waiting, as many of you are, because He's causing me to become one who loves and uses the gifts He has given me to do good for others and not use them to build something for myself called "my vision" or "my ministry." He is teaching me how to show love to the losers of life who have been disgraced, despised, shamed, and shunned, yet still hope and believe there is something more to this God, His Son, His Kingdom on earth than what is being expressed today.

I do know that He is continuing to re-center me on and within this relational, supernatural Kingdom of His. I know my presuppositions are deep and are a stronghold. But I am a fast learner if I can see and if I can embrace a deep, deep change within my very spiritual DNA. And I am going to continue to learn what He promised to teach me: love and faith. And then...then, we will see. I just know He has proven Himself to be unfathomably faithful with impeccable timing.

I am often reminded of a quote from G. Campbell Morgan, the great pastor of Westminster Chapel in London, England. He said,  "It's possible to be biblically correct, doctrinally pure, theologically sound, morally impeccable...and spiritually useless." Change is inevitable if we want to be spiritually useful in our world. Kingdoms are clashing, and there is only one Kingdom that is unshakeable. And it is founded on Love.

David VanCronkhite


  1. Thank you! Excellent!

  2. Thank you. This is a good word that not only speaks my heart but will resonate with many and minister to many Kinjgdom souls. I will probably try to put a link on our blogsite to this article. Blessings.

    kerry crain

  3. Thank you, David....I am so at this point in my own life and needed to hear this! Blessings!

  4. Wow... the timing of reading this was, as you said, "impeccable."
    Thank You Lord for speaking through David!
    The most relevant people on the earth will always be those who are no longer self-aware, because of their security and identity in God. Gosh, I needed this reminder so badly!

  5. Thank you, David, have been having the same journey and thinking the same thoughts...thanks for encouraging me at a time when I am waiting!!

    Jeanette Johnson

  6. Thank you for this sharing... I'm on this very same path. And I'm waiting.

    Etienne, a French brother.

  7. Wow what a timely word this one is! I had to laugh when I read that you were waiting, because I am also waiting too! I'm waiting on God for I know that there really is nothing else left for me to do! I also know that the Lord has things to show me and a whole load of wonderful reasons for this time. It's like the building of a foundation which can not be erected quickly, cheaply or frivoulously. This time is a time of going deeper with the Lord, and He can work out the rest of all those little details in life!
    I certainly know that this foundational time with Him is in preparation for the future and so it is extremely important. These are the only details that I know now, but I am quite sure that He will fill us all in on everything as we go along together with Him!
    Kate Harris

  8. Anonymous said...

    We have the same postal carrier and you've been reading our mail.

    April 20, 2010 12:20 PM

  9. "Kingdoms are clashing, and there is only one Kingdom that is unshakeable. And it is founded on Love".

    That is what is so true!

    - Telly Savalas Lattimore


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