Wednesday, August 26, 2015

God Doesn't Need You

by Dan Jones

I was recently wandering around on the internet when I came across Mark Hall’s full testimony.

For those of you thinking, “Mark Hall…that sounds familiar…who is that?”

Mark Hall is the lead singer and songwriter for Casting Crowns. I have made no secret of the fact that Casting Crowns is my favorite Contemporary Christian Music group. (Thank you, Beth Crosby and Kinship Christian Radio for introducing them.)

Their songs have touched me in many ways, made me think and explore my relationship with Jesus and just generally blessed me. (Thank you, Mark Hall and all.)

Anyway, Hall tells of a time in his life when it was very, very clear he wasn’t good enough to be who he thought he was going to be.

For goodness sake, the man went to music college and did not even know how to read music.

Plus, he is dyslexic and he has ADD.

On the first day of college, they put a two-hour test in front of him to see where he should begin in his major or whether he even should major in music. 
As Hall says, “The word “test” does to me what the blue lights in your mirror do to you.”

He looked at the test and realized he did not know the answer to one question on that test.

Not one.

So, after eight minutes, he wrote his name on the paper, walked to the front and put that test face down on the professor’s desk and walked out.

He was going home.

His primary concern was trying to figure out a way to tell his new wife, who had just started a job that same day to pay for his education, that he couldn’t do it.

His apartment was straight across from the music building, “But God,” Hall says, “In His sovereignty, a hundred years before that day, planted this big chapel between me and my house. And the sidewalk just lead straight in.”

Hall went in and sat down.

“And I got mad,” he says. “Because, I mean, you know, when you finally do something for God isn’t the sun supposed to shine? When you’re finally obedient, when you finally take the big step, I mean, don’t the birds sing and the little baby angels fall around and sing songs to you? I mean isn’t that what’s supposed to happen? People start giving you cars and houses and everything because you’re obedient now.”

While Hall was sitting there brewing, the chapel filled up with 500 people. And the choir came out and a man came out and sang and played music and they were all much better than he was.

And he sat there.

Even after the service was over, Hall still sat there.

And, when everybody was gone, he went up to the front and he sat down at this enormous piano. And he played the only four chords he knew. Those chords used to sound cool when he played them in his home church, but they didn’t sound cool anymore.

And Mark Hall felt very, very small and useless and unworthy.

“And I sat there at that piano, in that empty chapel, and I had my first fight with God… My church gives me this big send-off service because Mark was going to do this great thing for God. And my parents are probably still on the phone, calling all the relatives to talk about how proud they are—and I am about to come home because I am not good enough for this.”

“God started teaching me a lesson that day—a lesson that He’s still teaching me. I think it’s the reason there even is a Casting Crowns. That morning, He started to say to me, ‘Mark, I don’t need you. I want you."

"Mark. I - don’t – need - you."

"I want you.’”

“Do you think that all of these fears and limitations and all these things that make you feel so small are worrying me? Do you think that all these little initials that you got from all these little tests that you got when you were a kid are weighing me down?”

“Mark. I am going to do something in the world. I just want to know if you want to come.”

Hall says, “Well, I went back to school the next day. And I went back the next day, and the next day, and six years later I graduated. (Four year college.)”

Today, Casting Crowns sells more albums and has more top hits than any other Christian band. Their songs have ministered to countless throngs and brought the message of the gospel far and wide.

Despite the success of the band, Hall says, “And now I’m a youth pastor for about 400 teenagers, and I have no idea what I’m doing.” And on those days when it looks like things are going down, Hall says God still talks to him. 

"He says, 'You get up there dyslexic boy. You show the world what I’ll do through somebody that’ll let me.'

"And I have spent 13 years. Listen to me. I have spent 13 years saying things I’m not sharp enough to say. I write songs I’m not good enough to write. I’m a part of things constantly that are so above me. I am swimmin’ in the deep end because God doesn’t need me. He wants me.”

Today’s Praise

If you ask me to leap
Out of my boat on the crashing waves
If You ask me to go
Preach to the lost world that Jesus saves

I'll go, but I cannot go alone
Cause I know I'm nothing on my own
But the power of Christ in me makes me strong
Makes me strong

Cause when I'm weak, You make me strong
When I'm blind, You shine Your light on me
Cause I'll never get by living on my own ability
How refreshing to know You don't need me
How amazing to find that you want me
So I'll stand on Your truth, and I'll fight with Your strength
Until You bring the victory, by the power of Christ in me

If You ask me to run
And carry Your light into foreign land
If You ask me to fight
Deliver Your people from Satan's hand

To reach out with Your hands
To learn through Your eyes
To love with the love of a savior
To feel with Your heart
And to think with Your mind
I'd give my last breath for Your glory

“In Me” by Casting Crowns

Note: Earlier this year, Mark Hall was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Through a series of miracles, he is currently in good health and continues to serve the LORD --who still wants him.

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