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Faith Imagined: Breakfast with Bono!

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

October 16, 2009

Breakfast with Bono!

Bono singing Amazing Grace

video

I and about one hundred thousand other people packed the Dallas Cowboy Stadium to watch U2 live in concert. I have never seen such a crowd; it was breathtaking, yet overwhelming. The roar of applause when Bono, The Edge, Larry and Adam entered the stadium thundered through the stands. The vibration of energy echoed like a pinball from the metal structures and absorbed back into my skin.

The lights went black just before the stage burst into brilliant colors. Bono's voice consumed the crowd, and I had to remind myself that Bono was just a man. In Bono's charismatic way, he walked along the path that cut through the thousands of standing fans. When he jumped up and down, the ocean of people rippled like choppy waves on a windy day. When he waved his arms, the ocean of people leaped into stormy peaks. Bono had an unmistakable power over the throng around him.

I could tell that even Bono was impressed by the crowd. Several times he took off his earpiece to hear the bellow of the multitude. With one word from Bono's mouth, the blaring sound around us hushed, and the crowd was able to sing a duet with him. I marveled at the sophistication and control of the U2 team.

One lucky boy got chosen from the crowd. He looked about sixteen years old. Bono encouraged the young man to walk the path with him. The boy took a precarious stroll around the stage and Bono proceeded to put his infamous sunglasses on the lad's head. The boy just stood there with a big, goofy smile on his face as the mass of voices screamed in excitement.

That boy will never forget this moment! I thought.

I'll let you in on a little secret. I wanted to pray for Bono that night. Somehow, I wanted to reach him and pray a blessing over him. I wanted to encourage him in Christ and show him that not all Christians were stubbornly self-righteous in their "goodness" and incessantly judgmental in their lack of brokeness to the Holy Spirit. Though I am not perfect, I am sanctified (continuously being set a part and changed by God). I yield control to Him, and He does a good work in me.

As I watched the fortunate boy go back to his seat, I realized how ridiculous my desire was. And rightly so. Bono has way too much on his plate to indulge a moment of his time to me. However, I did pray for him from my seat with all my heart. I prayed that he use his life to touch the world for Christ. I prayed that he allow God to continually sanctify him, which Bono sings about in U2's song Rejoice from their October album:

And what am I to do/Just tell me what am I supposed to say/I can't change the world/But I can change the world in me/If I rejoice (ref)

As U2 continued to perform, Bono did many things that had me praising God. Bono prayed. He told the entire stadium full of people to lift their hands. Then he told them to lift certain people up as he said their names. I noticed the men next to me timidly raising their hands. Bono also thanked many people for helping to save lives around the world, including President Bush and Jeremy Camp. But nothing could top Bono serenading us with Amazing Grace. I wrote about this song here, and I wonder if John Newton could even fathom the influence his song has had.

While contemplating all of this, God confronted me with a struggle that I'm having in my life: my quiet-time or my God-time. It is my goal to do my God-time every day, but it is usually squeezed into a lull in my day's activity. If all else fails, I do it before bed. I know God has been wanting me to spend my "first-fruit" with Him, meaning the first moments of the day I've been blessed with. I can't seem to get up, and I can't justify it. (If you claim busyness, you are out of God's balance for your life because He promises that His yoke is easy and burden light!)

If God has asked me to do something, He has already promised my victory (Psalm 18.35). I have no excuse! Proverbs 6.10-11 rings in my ears whenever I sleep in and allow my kids (5yrs, 2yrs & 7mnths) to wake me up: "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest - and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man."

God, help me to wake up!

God asked me a question right there in the middle of the screams and the flashing lights that convicted me to the core and will forever change my God-time.

What if Bono wanted to talk with you before breakfast?

A hundred thousand people stacked inside the Cowboys Stadium will be testament to my answer. What would I do? You better believe it -- I would be bright eyed and bushy tailed. I would come prepared with a bunch of questions. I'd have my camera ready. My makeup would be perfect and my outfit would be full-on rock n' roll! All my family, friends and even strangers on the street would know that I would be meeting with Bono. I would tell everyone I came into contact with "Oh, by the way, I'm meeting with Bono in the morning!" Nothing could stop my excitement.

But why is it that I can't even muster a fraction of that excitement for God -- the Ultimate Rock Star. The God that even the mountains sing praises to His name. I think sometimes I contemplate only the humble Jesus who washed the feet of His friends, and I forget the rock star Jesus who will come back to this earth in a performance that will make U2's concert look like a tea party.

Then I saw Heaven open wide—and oh! a white horse and its Rider. The Rider, named Faithful and True, judges and makes war in pure righteousness. His eyes are a blaze of fire, on his head many crowns. He has a Name inscribed that's known only to himself. He is dressed in a robe soaked with blood, and he is addressed as "Word of God." The armies of Heaven, mounted on white horses and dressed in dazzling white linen, follow him. A sharp sword comes out of his mouth so he can subdue the nations, then rule them with a rod of iron. He treads the winepress of the raging wrath of God, the Sovereign-Strong. On his robe and thigh is written, King of kings, Lord of lords.

- Revelation 19.11-18 (The Message)

Bono has to walk onto the stage. Jesus splits the skies open and rides on a Pegasus! Bono has a name that is common knowledge (Paul Hewson). Jesus has a name that only He knows! Bono has a road crew. Jesus has the armies of Heaven! Bono is surrounded by lights. Jesus has fire coming from his face! Bono has sunglasses. Jesus has many crowns! Bono has a microphone. Jesus has a sword. I don't know if Bono has any tattoos, but Jesus has King of kings, Lord of lords written on His thigh. Although the writing might be merely symbolic, it still evokes a very cool image!

I could go on and on with the supremacy of Jesus. He existed before there was time. He is God in flesh. He lived the perfect life. He saved all of humanity with His death and promises abundant life with His birth. Jesus is the rock-star of the universe!

Yet. . .

I

STILL

STRUGGLE!

Jesus, You are the most important, beautiful & awesome rock-star that ever lived. Please, help me to understand the gravity of that reality. I want to put You first in everything. I can't do it myself. I yield to You. Do a good work in me. Help me to give You the first-fruit of my day! I want to know You more. When You come down from heaven in all Your glory, I want to be able to say, "Yeah, Jesus and I are tight!" This is my chance! You've singled me out from the crowd. You've brought me onto the stage. You've chosen me to walk along Your path! Help me to man-up and wake up! It is in Your name I ask, Amen.

Dedicated to Jennifer G.

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22 Comments:

Blogger Crissy said...

Very powerful words! And I love U2!

9:24 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Wow...this really spoke to my heart! I still struggle, too...even after knowing all this you have shared...my heart is convicted about the first-fruit of my day...I always say I hit the ground running as soon as my feet touch the floor in the mornings...but I should be running to kneel at His feet instead of just spouting off a quick prayer as I start the day...thank you for putting all this in the right perspective....

My oldest son and some friends from church went to see U2 a few weeks ago when they were in Atlanta...he said it was awesome!

11:30 AM  
Blogger 3 Blessings said...

Beautifully written.
Blessings,
Amy

1:22 PM  
Blogger Precious Gems said...

I have just written a blog you might find interesting. Take a peek. http://tracey-jane.blogspot.com

2:49 PM  
Blogger Canadian Bird said...

Awesome writing, as always... I love U2 too, & this was a great perspective on our daily time with Him & prioritization, nevermind the side-by-side comparison between Christ & Bono... LOVE IT! Thanks for sharing.
R. xo

11:04 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Thanks again Alisa for "keeping it real" and putting it in perspective. :) It's been kind of strange, but over the past couple of weeks I've been having my heart broken over Jesus and what He did for us. I recommitted my life to him over 10 yrs ago, and at that time I had a lot of baggage, and I felt like I really "needed" Jesus and felt much closer to Him. Where I am today I feel like I've dropped a lot of my baggage and that I'm working on "smaller" sins if there is such a thing, and found myself taking Jesus' death on the cross for granted. Faith Hill released a song on her latest Christmas album called "A baby changes everything" - and for some reason I busted out that Christmas CD (yes, in October) and listened to that song - I was in tears by the time it was over. I've really been asking in my prayer time to not ever take Jesus for granted - so thank you for this post as yet another reminder. :)

11:47 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Awesome post, Alisa! I also love U2 - they are my all time favorite band. I did not get to go see them when they were here recently, but would have loved to. I am thrilled to hear they pray and sing Amazing Grace during the new concert. That makes me smile!

Your post could have been written just for me, and it sounds like others can identify as well. I too needed a kick in the rear to put things in perspective, and boy, you found it! There are any number of people and things I would cheerfully get up early for. But (not really being at my best in the morning) I definitely struggle with getting up early to do my quiet time with God. I tend to save it till last, when I actually am more awake (but it often slides these days as hubby and I will watch tv before bed or I'll be working on something else up to bedtime.

Thanks for this reminder, and a new light on this point! I enjoy reading your writings!

Blessings!

8:31 AM  
Blogger Cindy Bultema said...

As always, so very powerful!! Thank you for your words, gentle encouragement, and great reminder. Please keep doing what you are doing. You are making a HUGE difference! Thank you for sharing your gift!!

10:07 AM  
Blogger Bina said...

I love how God can use things like this to influence our hearts for Him! Thank you for sharing. Very powerful!!
Blessings,
Bina

3:15 PM  
Blogger Bernadine said...

I too still struggle at times but this is an awesome reminder to keep trying.

How awesome that you were able to go to a U2 concert. I love Bono! (It's great that you prayed for him right there in your seat)

7:56 PM  
Blogger Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

So very powerful and inspiring, Alisa Hope.

I think many of us struggle, and God continues to woo us back into his presence.

Thankful for His amazing grace, saving a wretch like me.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Pastor Dave said...

Alisa,
Great perspective on the priority we place on people and things. Of all the resources God gives us, the one that is most precious and that we can't get more of is time,,,

That being said, what would the enemy love to steal more than anything else? And he is so good at what he does, he steals by appealing to our human side. Our tiredness brings sleep rather than prayer for strength and energy. Our worry brings doubt and fear rather than joy for Christ's victory in our lives.

Many of us have a difficult time with the tithing principle of giving God the first ten percent of our "first fruits". We struggle with the concept of giving back ten percent of that which we worked so hard to acquire.

But what about that most precious resource God gives us, time? If we look at it in the tithing principle, then we are not being faithfully obedient if we don't give back a portion of that which He so graciously blesses us with each day that we draw breath.

It becomes a daily discipline, just like anything else we do. It's a discipline that gives an incredible start to each day, spending time with the Creator of the Universe. It's a discipline that I feel lost without whenever something happens that keeps me from it. I, we, just need to be sure that what would keep us from it is not ourselves.

Thanks again for your insight and for the blessings you give so many through your devotion to Christ.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Touch of Grace Photography said...

I love it! You are truly an amazing vessel for the Holy Spirit through your writing. I look forward to reading all you past writings. Love ya girl!
Amanda

9:07 AM  
Blogger Triumphant Victorious Reminders Copyright © 2009 said...

I'm weeping as I am so convicted in such great love by the King of kings. Thank you so much for writing this! so powerfully written..so of the Holy Spirit! Alisa...keep it up girl!!! Wow!!! Praise GOD!!! Thank You My Jesus...You are the Rock Star!

3:22 PM  
Blogger Midday Escapades said...

You've put tears in my eyes, Alisa and Hope in my heart. You just have the most wonderful God-given gift to reach others through your everyday life. I am enthused to know how you will reach my readers with your guest post tomorrow!

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jen Keller,
Yet again I am truly amazed by God and He is using you as a vessel to many of us through your writing. I wept as I read your story. I love to watch Creflo Dollar on tv and he spoke of the first fruit being Jesus everyday of our lives. It has been convicting me for a couple of weeks now. Yes, it should not have been taking this long. But now after reading all those comments and story, I am completely taken back on God's glory. I can see it clear as day and we are so blessed to have a God like ours. Tomorrow I will give Jesus my first fruit and I will be praying for all of you!!!!

5:19 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Great post and perspective. I'm glad you prayed for Bono right from your seat. God has no distance and He needed someone to pray at that moment for a reason. Awesome! :O)

7:04 PM  
Blogger Christian Mommy Writer said...

I think this is my favorite post that you have done. There are so many nuggets of truth in here!

First off, U2 was here this past weekend, but I didn't go. A large crowd attended and I knew some people that went.

I love how you made the comparison between Bono and Jesus. I also liked how you prayed for Bono right then. I'm sure he benefited from it.

And yes, I still struggle with being disciplined too. But I'm working on it.

Wonderful post!

9:52 PM  
Blogger ~*Michelle*~ said...

What a amazing and convicting post....I, too am guilty of not giving God my first fruits of time. I love your pure and raw honesty.....how you speak right to the heart.

Thank you for being a sweet messenger for Christ.

xox
*~Michelle~*

5:03 AM  
Blogger Susie said...

I can so agree with you that we often don't give Jesus the honor and position in our lives He alone deserves. If we stop and take the time to reflect, as this post does, we can't help but fall before Him trembling. Yet, many would rather do that to a rockstar with skin (I did that many times at Duran Duran concerts. (The trembling, not the falling part-haha). Love your experiences that lead to such godly wisdom- filled posts Alisa!

7:41 AM  
Blogger Deborah Ann said...

I had no idea Bono was a Christian! I guess that shows how out of the loop I am.

I needed this reminder that God is much better than rock stars and worldly idols. And He doesn't even have to do something, He is something!

2:12 PM  
Blogger Kimberly Dawn said...

Wow. Powerful stuff. I've never pictured Jesus as a powerful 'rock star' before - thanks for that awesome reminder of His Greatness.

I posted a link to this post on my blog. Thanks so much for sharing your heart!

(and - fantastic writing, btw!!)

2:52 PM  

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