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What Union With God Really Looks Like

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I want to talk to you today about Isaiah 40:30-31 where it says:

Though youths grow weary and tired,

And vigorous young men stumble badly,

Yet those who wait for the Lord

Will gain new strength;

They will mount up with wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired,

They will walk and not become weary.

“Even the vigorous young men stumble and fall.” By the way, “vigorous young men” is the word for athlete in the Hebrew, so the average person trekking around in this world is definitely going to fall! Now notice the contrast with the next part, there’s another reality we need to understand. Those who rest in Him—“those who wait for the Lord” is what it says. I would translate it differently. I would translate it “Those who abide with Him, those who are in union with Him, those who depend upon Him.” When we’re walking through this world and we find ourselves in trouble, we don’t need to be sitting around waiting for God and God doesn’t sit around. He’s ready to move on our behalf. We are in union with Him. That’s what He’s talking about here.

Then the verse says, “shall gain new strength.” That’s not a good translation either. Go check it out for yourself! In the Hebrew, it literally means “exchange.” So as we abide with God, we will exchange our strength for His strength, our mercy for His mercy, our patience for His patience. That’s why we “mount up with wings like eagles and run and not grow weary” because we have exchanged our strength for His strength. That’s the new covenant.

What a glorious new covenant it is! I pray you would know this great exchange. That’s why Hudson Taylor first called it “The Exchanged Life,” and it’s a glorious life. We have become partakers of the divine nature. It doesn’t mean we become God, but it does mean we’re in union with God. 1 Corinthians 6:17 says that “the one who joins himself with the Lord is one spirit with Him.” Which means that we can experience all that He is, all that we need, in the moment of faith. That is a glorious covenant.

Bless you, in Jesus’ name.

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When God Says Wait

When life is at its hardest, and we desperately need answers, it is hard to hear God say, “Wait.” In this short clip, Frank reveals the promise of God that every one of His children need to know as they wait. May you hold on tightly to Father today, knowing that He IS at work on your behalf.


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When God Says “Wait”

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Wait. Did you hear that word? I really don’t like that word. To me it’s kind of a four letter word in the Bible. When my heart gets set on something I’m going to bring into my life or maybe there’s news of a bad thing coming “wait” is a very difficult word. And that’s not only true for us, it was a difficult word for Ruth in the Bible too. In Ruth 3:18 she has expressed her desire to marry Prince Boaz and he has affirmed his desire to marry her. Romance is in the air. There’s only one problem, as so often happens with fairy tale romances, there’s somebody in the way. With Cinderella it was the wicked stepsisters and in the Princess Bride it was that deceitful Prince Humperdinck. Well here there is a kinsman redeemer who’s closer to Ruth than Boaz is and he has the right in the law of God to redeem her first.

So Naomi tells Ruth, “Wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out; for the man will not rest until he has settled it today” (Ruth 3:18). But here’s the other thing I want you to notice. She tells Ruth to wait because another is working to bring about an appointed end. Boaz, as you remember, was a mighty man of valor, a mighty man of influence. My friends, do you see where we’re going with this? I don’t know what you’re having to wait for—maybe it’s a job, maybe it’s a decision to move, maybe you’re single and you’re waiting for a spouse, or you’ve got a sick child and you’re waiting for a diagnosis. Waiting can be very, very difficult. But remember, there is One who is greater than we are who is not going to rest. He is going to settle this matter and as Jeremiah says, “bring us to an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11). While you wait, my friends, rest in the knowledge that there’s a greater One who is working on your behalf.

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The Only Resolution You Need to Make This Year

You weren’t called to make resolutions! In this freeing short video, Frank explains that there’s only one resolve you need to make this year, and it can radically change your life. Beloved, the self-control you are seeking can be yours without making resolutions. May 2019 be the year you discover freedom like never before!

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The Freeing Truth Every Christian With Anxiety Needs to Know

Friends, this is a video you don’t want want to miss! May freedom be yours today as you hear Frank share truth that every Christian needs to know!

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The Freeing Truth Every Christian With Anxiety Needs to Know

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Friends, I want you to hear this, it’s very important for humanity!

I want to take you to the book of Psalms, where David says some very important words. He starts by saying to God, “When I remember you on my bed…” What do those words reveal to us? They tell us that he's not sleeping. He's not sleeping, gang! He's laying on his bed and he can't sleep. How do we know this? Look at the next phrase, “I meditate on you in the night watches.”

By the way, Israel had three late night watches, dusk to ten o’clock, ten o’clock to two, and two until dawn. So what does this tell us? It tells us that he's not sleeping ALL night long. Have you ever been in a wilderness, in a time of trauma, where you’re exhausted from what you're going through, and your head hits the pillow, but you still can't sleep?

Don’t you just love that this is in the Bible? Because this is exactly where we find ourselves in life. Let me tell you friend, when you’re in turmoil, when you’re in the pressure cooker of life, one of the most difficult problems you will face is the lack of being able to sleep. And sometimes if we share this with others, we will have Christian’s who tell us that it means that we must not be trusting God. Don’t you want to just slap them in Jesus' name?!

You see, they have failed to come to understand that our spirits can be at perfect rest, while our souls are all over the map. The proof of this is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said “Not my will, but thine be done. I'm going to the cross.” A spirit of perfect rest. But what’s he doing? He's sweating blood! That's a soul that's all over the map friends. If Jesus can have the freedom to be human and have anxiety in his soul while he's trusting God, why can't we have the same freedom?

I want to share something with you, and it’s very important; David’s spirit was at rest while his soul was going crazy, he was unable to sleep, but David did not allow his mind to take him where it wanted to go and beat him mercilessly. Look at the language he uses as he tells God, “I am remembering you, I am meditating on you, I'm not letting my mind fixate on the horizontal, which is beating the daylights out of me. I've taken my mind where I want it to go, which is vertical.” And it tells us in verse 7 that he specifically set his mind on remembering that God had been his help. He remembered, past tense. David sets his mind on how God has delivered him in previous times and connected the dots of God's faithfulness.


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Receivers Instead of Achievers

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A paradox is defined as something that sounds contradictory but is actually true. We find such a paradox in the first letter Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. There he told them to make it their ambition, to be zealous and to strive eagerly - but let’s not complete that sentence just yet...

When I see a phrase that calls me to STRIVE or to be AMBITIOUS, I instantly think of the culture of the world we live in, and conclude that I need to "strive" to be a “mover-and-a-shaker,” or have "ambitions" to become an influencer or motivator; a heart charger who yearns for impact in this world. That is what I would expect would follow a call to "strive" or "be ambitious."

Paul, however, had no such conclusion to that phrase. Instead, he said that we should strive to be quiet; that we should be ambitious to mind our own business and take care of our own work. Pretty strange command, isn’t it? Not really though, when you think about it. We are made by God as human beings, called on the first full day of our existence in Genesis 2 to REST! Oh, we went out to work on the 8th day, but we worked from a position of rest. We labored, but not to achieve, because we had already been given everything by God. WONDERFUL!

Man sinned, however, and we bought the lie that we should eat from the tree of right and wrong, and in that instant we went from a human being who received all that they needed from the hand of God, to become human doings, achieving for themselves. This became our new normal, our default mode – to perform. To do.

The glory of the New Covenant placed us back into relationship with God and provided the potential for us to once again become receivers instead of achievers. To rest instead of LABOR. To simply be significant in Christ instead of trying to achieve significance. This is not easy for anyone, because we have been conditioned to achieve instead of receive. That is why the author of Hebrews said, “Labor to enter into the rest.” In other words, it is hard work to rest. And that is why Paul here in Thessalonians said that we should make it our ambition to lead quiet lives.

We have been made some kind of special in God’s eyes. It is time for us to really believe that and let it dramatically influence the way we live.

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There's No Place Like Home

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Psalm 90 says "God is our dwelling place".

He is the place where we are home. Home is a wonderful place. A place of security, comfort, and peace. A place where we are accepted. A place where we belong. A place where we can kick up our feet and just be.

This is what God wants to be for us... He wants to be our home, He wants to be the place of our rest, the place where we can learn to just be.

So like that great theologian of the early 1900's said---
Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz...
"THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!"
"THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE GOD!!!"

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Thoughts on Rest

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Have you ever thought about this?

"It was God's idea that we enter into rest?"

WOW!!!

Isn’t that just so cool? So many people think that when it comes to the things of God, we absolutely, by necessity, have to PERFORM! Somehow, someway, we are supposed to DO SOMETHING that puts a smile on His face! 

A friend of mine told me that he had a wonderful conversation with a skid row bum as he sat down with him on the street. They talked sports, politics, economics, and weather. He said it was a wonderful conversation. After about 45 minutes, the bum asked my friend what he did for a living, to which my friend said, “I am a Bible teacher.” Instantly, the bum said and I quote verbatim, “Well, I want you to know that I share my whiskey with the other drunks!”

Isn’t that fascinating? A wonderful conversation between two men about so many diverse topics, but as soon as the conversation turned to God, “PERFORMING” entered into the conversation.

Isn't that sad?

Have you ever pondered this incredible thought, that it puts a smile on God’s face when we take Him at His Word and “rest?"

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What Can Fill The Human Spirit?

As an old saint said so well...  "The human spirit, created by God, will only rest when it rests in God."

As an old saint said so well... "The human spirit, created by God, will only rest when it rests in God."

WE KNOW THIS!!! We really do...
But oh if we could only live it out on a consistent basis!

A spiritual hunger CANNOT be met by a physical entity!

or...

As an old saint said so well...
"The human spirit, created by God, will only rest
when it rests in God."

There is much in this world that will satisfy the human soul and there is nothing wrong with that; time with a good friend, romping with a puppy, sitting on the shore of a beautiful lake. But sadly, there is much in this world that can empty a human soul.

HOWEVER,

And here lies the glory --> there is nothing, NOTHING, that can fill the human spirit but the Spirit of God Himself.

... and there is nothing in this world that can empty what He has filled!!!

GLORY~~~

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Maintain A Spirit Of Quietness

Paul appears to say that we are going to have to stay focused and work hard to maintain a spirit of quietness.

Paul appears to say that we are going to have to stay focused and work hard to maintain a spirit of quietness.

I have had a verse from the Thessalonian letters heavy on my mind of late.

"Make it your AMBITION to lead a quiet life..."

That is a very hard thing to do in a complex world that places so much demand on us from all directions! Paul appears to say that we are going to have to stay focused and work hard to maintain a spirit of quietness.

Interestingly, Hebrews says much the same thing. "Labor to enter into rest." When all our lives have been lived under the law and performing to achieve, it is going to be hard work indeed to change the direction of our lives toward quietness.

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We All Have Control Issues

God is all those things. He knows all things, He is everywhere, He is all things to people, He is strong, and HE IS IN CONTROL!

God is all those things. He knows all things, He is everywhere, He is all things to people, He is strong, and HE IS IN CONTROL!

I once had a "not so happy" woman come up to me and declare with no small amount of intensity, "Frank Friedmann! You are a controller!"

To which I replied, "Yes maam, but you know what the difference is between us? I am willing to admit it!"

We ALL struggle with control issues.

We want to control our circumstances, control our kids, control our spouse, control our congregation, and control the pastor. Control! Control! Control!... but dig deeper!

Why? Why do we want to control?

Because the desire (need) to control is deeply rooted in the lie that ALL of us were birthed into with the help of our brother Adam, that "we shall be as God". By the way, that is why we struggle with wanting to know it all, cannot admit that we do not know all, find it difficult to admit we are wrong, feel the need to be strong, and have this crazy thought that we are supposed to be the source of life for others.

God is all those things. He knows all things, He is everywhere,
He is all things to people, He is strong, and HE IS IN CONTROL!

We are not because we are not God.

Herein lies the glory... we were never designed to be strong, or have it all together, or know all things, or be in control.  We were created to be dependent on the One Who is all those things and offers to be all that He is to us in the moment of faith!

I do not believe there is a man alive who really comprehends how "BLITZED" we were by the lie of the garden and how it continues to effect all of us as we "labor to rest" in the finished work of Christ.

So, let's move further on in the journey and begin admitting the truth...
... that all of us are "recovering god's"
... that all of us struggle with control issues
... that all of us think we know more than we know
... that all of us find it hard to embrace and live in our weakness
... that ours is really a "vision problem"
... that we see ourselves as bigger than we really are
... that we see God as a lot smaller than He really is

Let's start running the church like an A.A. meeting!!!

"Hello, I am Frank and I am a recovering god wannabe"

And all the other "recovering god's" say: "Hello Frank"

AWESOME!!! Now we can take off the fig leaves, that were never designed for us in the first place, put on the righteousness of Christ, and start being who we really are... weak and frail people who have an opportunity to live FROM a REALLY BIG GOD WHO is crazy in love with them. WOW!!!

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Trusting Instead of Trying

Jesus longs for us to live the life of trusting instead of trying.

Jesus longs for us to live the life of trusting instead of trying.

In the church, the man who labors for God with the goal of being like God is highly valued! The work is great and the workers so few that the highly disciplined and sacrificial man or woman is in high demand. The church calls such a man or woman – “A man of God” or “a woman of God” but do you know what God calls such a one? He calls them a rebel! What? How can that be? Because that man or woman who is trying to be like God is living out of the wrong economy.

God established an economy whereby man would live FROM God by faith.

This is the economy man was intended to live in. It is the same economy that Jesus did live in. He said on numerous occasions that without His Father, He could do nothing. He said unequivocally that it was only as He heard, that He Himself spoke. He blatantly declared that the works that He did, were actually the works of the Father in Him and through Him. That’s right, Jesus walked on the water, but it was the Father walking on the water through Him. This is the economy that man was designed for and intended by God to live in. But in the garden man chose to not live out of this economy, instead he/she chose to live out of the economy of “being like God”. Man would function independent of God and do life His own way with his own resources.

Jesus longs for us to live the life of trusting instead of trying.

Jesus made it very clear in John 15, that just He could do nothing without the Father, so we can do nothing without Him. He is the Vine of true life and only when we branches connect to Him can He bear His vine life through us and produce fruit in us.

Man was never intended to be like God in the way he lived, he was intended to trust God to be God in and through Him by faith! That is why a man who tries to be like God, though he may look good and labor much, is actually a rebel in God’s eyes!

Safe Harbor

That all of us who name the name of Jesus would offer to others a “safe-place.”

That all of us who name the name of Jesus would offer to others a “safe-place.”

If I had to pick my favorite attribute of the Lord Jesus, it would be that he was “SAFE"! Think about it! No one was ever afraid to come into His presence. The sick approached him readily, and even His enemies who often got slammed by His words, did not hesitate to approach Him. And what about “the sinners,” those wayward ones who had committed such horrible acts of sin? Well, they too knew that they were able to approach Him.  And I believe it is noteworthy, that when He approached them, though they might be uncomfortable – they did not run or shrink back from Him.

I am thinking of the hated tax collector Zaccheus, and how Jesus had dinner in his home. I am thinking of the sinful Samaritan, whom He engaged in a theological discussion, using that as a platform to cut through the “theology” to her most deeply felt needs, which He in turn offered to meet. And what about the adulterous woman, you know, the one that the “religious community” was ready to stone for her adultery? Well, He stood as a buffer between them, humiliating them for their hypocrisy and offering her forgiveness and restoration! 
I love Him for extending the “safe harbor” that He offered to people who were experiencing the storms of life inwhich a sin cursed world hurled at them. It did not matter who they were, where they were from, what they had done, how many times they had done it, nor who they had done it with… the only issue for them was that now they were standing, kneeling, or face down in the presence of His safety that He was offering. Their only failure now, would be if they rejected the safety He offered, and yet, even then, He would continue to present Himself to them if only they would take advantage of His offer to receive them.

Oh, if only the church could function in such a way as to offer such a safe harbor for the people of this world. Oh, if the church could only be that place where it mattered not where men and women had been, so much as where they are now – resting in Him! My prayer, is that it would start with me. But I hope it doesn’t end there. My prayer is that it would continue with you, as well. That all of us who name the name of Jesus would offer to others a “safe-place.”

How are you doing in this pursuit? I would challenge you to go to those around you and ask them? “Do you feel safe around me? Can you let your hair down and be yourself around me? Or do you feel like you have to be on your best game when you are around me? Do you feel like you have to guard your words and actions around me?” The answers to those questions are going to reveal the bottom line – whether or not you just preach grace or also practice it as well! I never want to be a teacher of grace, without also being one who practices grace. I want to offer to all who need it, a safe place in a world that can be and feel so unsafe. I want people who experience my presence, when they leave my presence, to know that they were and are loved! That simple…

GOOD NEWS!!

Hear the Good News, my friend. Jesus has been crucified for your sins. He has risen from the dead to new life. He has ascended because His Work is now done – He has declared it so.

Hear the Good News, my friend. Jesus has been crucified for your sins. He has risen from the dead to new life. He has ascended because His Work is now done – He has declared it so.

Evangellion = Good News!

In the realm of humanity, we very often use words with such familiarity that we fail to embrace the depth of the meaning of our words. Take for example the word Gospel. I fear that it has been so often on our lips that the impact of the word has been greatly minimized. The Greek word is evangellion and it means “Good News!” Now ponder that for just a minute… Good News! What is the news? The news is the reporting of something has happened. It is definitely NOT something to do or be done! It is an announcement, a heralding or declaring of something worthy of being on the front page headlines of the newspaper!

Hear the Good News, my friend. Jesus has been crucified for your sins. He has risen from the dead to new life. He has ascended because His Work is now done – He has declared it so. From the cross, He said, “It is finished!” In the Greek, that means it is finished! He has returned to the Father and sat down at the right hand of the throne. The Holy Spirit has now been sent to complete the work in all who put their faith in Him. Faithful is He Who began the work to finish the work He has completed. This is the Good News! 

Please understand, there is NOT more work to be done. All too often, this is how the “good news” is proclaimed – God has done His part, now go do your part! That is NOT good news. The good news is that God has done it all and offers to do it all in and through you. Your only responsibility is to lay hold of Him by faith. This is called abiding. Abiding means you are living in Him until you make the conscious choice to live from other than Him. In other words, abiding is just like breathing. It is NOT something you choose to do, it is something you are doing already until you choose not to. 

And ponder that my friend, why would we choose to find “LIFE” in something or someone that can only provide us with “life” – and that a counterfeit and temporary satisfaction. Augustine said it so well so very long ago, “The human spirit designed by God, will only rest when it rests in God!” Jesus came to bring us that rest because He offers to dwell in that place that only God can fill.

This is Good News indeed! Enough of a man-centered Gospel that is NOT good news at all.

Extending Grace to Others: A Difficult Task!

GRACE! It is more than a doctrine that we learn in our mind. It is an economy for living… and even more than that: it is a Person that provides that economy.

In Titus 2, we are told that “the grace of God appeared, bringing salvation to all men.” So grace, though a doctrine to be sure, is a doctrine about a Person who brought us forgiveness and most important of all – LIFE! He brought us His LIFE, to be experienced by us, and to be expressed through us. Those are the two key elements for which we have received grace, to experience it for ourselves and live in freedom, and to express it to others so that they can live in and experience freedom. 

I define grace as: “Being delivered from the economy of performing in Adam, and being placed instead into an economy of receiving, all that God is to all that we need at the moment of faith.”

So grace is trusting God, to be “our everything” in the moment in which we find ourselves. That to be sure, is no easy task. It is hard to trust a God we cannot see against all that we can see. That is why Hebrews tells us to “labor to rest.” It is hard work to deny the fleshly resources that are all too easy to live out of and trust God instead. Again, this is no easy task. 

An even more difficult task is extending grace to others. I am finding in the movement of grace that we as a people are much better at receiving grace than we are extending it to others. Yet, to fail to extend grace is to live in incomplete grace. So, let me help you out.

If you want to know if you are not only experiencing grace but expressing grace as well, go to those closest to you and ask them these questions. “Are you able to relax around me? Are you able to let your hair down and be yourself around me, or do you have to be on guard with what you say and what you do when you are in my presence?” Please tell them to answer honestly, because you really need to know the status of your own walk of grace. 

Hear me on this! No one, not even the enemies of Jesus, was ever afraid to be in His presence, and He is the epitome of grace. I do not want people to be fearful or on guard in my presence. I want to be such an expression of grace, that people will want to be able to relax and be themselves when they are around me.

How about you?

We Are Heading Home - to Enjoy Relationship!

HOME! It is a great word, isn’t it? Far much better than the word “house”… for a house is just wood, brick, and shingles, but a “home”? Well, that is a place where there is safety, acceptance, a safe harbor from the world. Home is a place where you can put your feet up and be yourself, and shake off all those social niceties that the world requires and just “be”…

But what is it that transforms a house, into a home. It is people. It is relationship. Hollywood understood this. Remember the “Wizard of Oz?” Dorothy, was willing to travel down that dangerous yellow brick road full of lions and tigers and bears, oh my! She traveled that road even though there was a desperately evil arch enemy known as the Wicked Witch of the West. Why was she willing to take so much risk? Because the yellow brick road led to Oz, and Oz led to “HOME”… and home was where Auntie Em and Uncle Henry were!

The Bible stresses this too. Remember the Prodigal Son? He was living in the far country, embracing a life that was wretched and empty, that is, until he had thoughts of home! And what was it that made home so special? There was a Father waiting there, Who was good and kind. And so he risked heralding the shame of how he had been living to go “HOME”.

As believers, we have a home, and it is not here on planet earth. Here, we are travelers, sojourners, sometimes called ambassadors. While here, we have business to do, but soon our business will be done and we will be called “HOME”… not so much to a place, but to a Person. That is what makes heaven home. Far too many people reduce heaven to thoughts of gold streets, tiaras with jewels on them, and big fancy houses. NO! NO! NO! To believe that heaven is about crowns, and gold, and mansions is trivialize the work of Jesus Christ! None of those things make heaven home...

When we go home, we are going home to enjoy a relationship, with an incredibly kind and gracious Father, and that is what makes heaven, our home! This is what the work of Jesus was really about… He restored us to a relationship with Himself… the Three Persons of God!

Get Off the Treadmill of Having to Be Like God!

I once had a young minister in my office that I was seeking to lead into the LIFE that Jesus wants us all to experience... I asked him to turn to a particular passage, and he could not find it. As he searched frantically, he blamed the Bible I had handed him, saying he was not used to that Bible. Hmmmm.... What was the issue here? He was embarrassed that he as a pastor could not find the passage quick enough.

Naturally, I sought to lead him into an understanding that God was trying to reveal to Him in that moment how "blitzed" he was by the fall of man into rebellion against God. His thought process was that he should be able to find it quicker --- HE SHOULD KNOW WHERE THAT PASSAGE WAS!!!

Remember what the lie was that we were all birthed under? "You shall be as God!" Oh, what a horrid thing... I have to be strong! I have to be in control! I have to know all things! Oh my goodness, do you realize the burden that is on us because of that lie? We have to be like God, when we lack the resources to be God!

NO! That is a lie! We were never created to be strong, we were created to be dependent on the One Who is strong! We were not designed to be in control, we were designed to be dependent on the One Who is in control. And we were never supposed to know everything, we were supposed to be dependent on the One Who knows all things. We were designed to be children, who have a really great Father!

Take yourself off the treadmill of having to be like God, that is way too much pressure for anyone to live under. Decide to be what you were created to be... a weak human being, who doesn't know very much at all, but oh what a God you have... He offers to be all that He is, to all that you need at the moment of faith... 

In other words, relax! Do not take yourself too seriously. God has built His church just fine without you for 2,000 years. I have a feeling He will continue to build it just fine long after we are gone.