Monday, February 12, 2007

Why Do I Quote Erwin McManus?

It was 3:11 am on Sunday morning when one of the many citizens of Los Angeles, CA visited this blog and left an anonymous comment. Really it wasn't a comment, it was a link. No, it wasn't a spam comment, though I treated it as if it was one. The comment was in response to the Erwin McManus quote I shared on January 30. The link took me to a blog set up by former members (supposedly including former staff) of Mosaic, the church that Erwin McManus is the lead pastor of in Los Angeles. Now what this has to do with a guy living in Iowa I have no idea, but this anonymous commenter thought it was important for me to know about this church conflict.

This got me to pondering. The reality is that I don't know the character of Erwin McManus. I wouldn't know if he was a prideful jerk or not. I have no idea how he treats his wife and children or his staff. I don't know what type of person he is, but I quote him an awful lot. Why is that?

It was January 2003 and I was in the midst of the darkest time in my life. I had spent time with my family a few weeks before at Christmas time and I hated it because I thought I was being unfairly judged and that they didn't understand what I was going through, I didn't think I was connecting very well with kids in my youth ministry, and I was beginning to think I wasn't cut out for ministry (but I had no idea what else to do). I was in Joplin, MO for the National Youth Leaders Conference (which is now defunct). The entire week went by and I got absolutely nothing from the conference. I was miserable and I had no idea what I was going to do to get out of it.

The last morning of the conference a guy by the name of Erwin McManus was scheduled to speak. At this point I had no clue who Erwin McManus was, but when he began to preach from one of my favorite Old Testament stories (1 Samuel 14) I became totally engaged in what he was saying. During the course of the sermon he said something that started to penetrate the darkness that I had allowed to surround my heart, it is something I have shared with other people as they sought direction in their lives: If you go for the right reason God will get you to the right place. I began to understand that my feeling had nothing to do with other people and their perceived expectations for my life, but about the condition of my heart. Was I willing to trust God and allow Him to take care of the rest? For whatever reason God chose Erwin McManus to speak to my heart on cold January day so that my life would be put back on the right track.

It was from the event that I began to read Erwin McManus and for whatever reason I have found the I connect with what he has written more than any other author I have read. That is why I quote him so much. I don't know his character, but the Holy Spirit has used his words to provide clarity and direction for my life.

6 comments:

Lon said...

Hey Paul, i too saw the collection of sites about the conflict going on at mosaic. I feel the exact same way, i also don't know him very personally, but the spirit has undoubtedly used him to transform my life over the years. thanks for voicing this amid all the conflict.

Paul said...

Lon,
Thanks for stopping by. Being an outsider I have no idea how you can really know what is going on that is why I had to rely on my experience. I will continue to pray for Erwin every day, but my use of his works might slow down a bit. Thanks again for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Paul, I think it is great that God has used Erwin to impact your life. I am a former member of Mosaic and God used Erwin to impact my life greatly also. I do have some knowledge about what has gone on at Mosaic that has caused many to speak out. It is not really important for people on the outside, like yourself, to know these details. If God continues to use Erwin to bless you, that is great. I would say that it is important to focus on Christ. I know this is not new to you, but I say this because Erwin is the most gifted communicator I have ever met. It is easy to get caught up in the incredible stories he weaves that you may not be aware of the theology behind it. I am not saying he is off, that is for theologians to debate, I am saying that I found myself noding my head during service only to question the concepts later. He is a mesmorising communicator and his writing is inspiring. I just think we need to measure his message by the word of God and prayerfully consider what is being said without being blinded by the delivery. God Bless
SD

Paul said...

SD,

Thanks for the comment. I continue to pray for Erwin every day, but I have lost a lot of respect that I used to have for him. Having witnessed church conflict on a personal level I know how things can get distorted, but I also know those distortions are often based on reality. So while I may not know what the truth is it seems pretty obvious that there is a problem. I have decided to hold off on quoting Erwin until a clearer picture of what is happening there emerges.

Nate said...

Paul--

Thanks for this post. I enjoyed that year at the NYLC as well. In fact, looking back on it, it was an important time for me. I really wanted to quit youth ministry at the time. I had some friends who prayed over me at that convention and a lot of healing in my life started there. Thanks for the memories.

Nate

Anonymous said...

Hi - I just came across your blog doing a google search on Erwin. I also really fancy his writing and quote him often on my blog as well. He's impacted my life as well.

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