"Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:4-5

Monday, March 15, 2010

Why Evangelize?

As I think about the emphasis on evangelism in the church I have come to ask myself some questions. If evangelism is so important to our Christian faith then why is it so hard to talk to others about Him? Why is it that as Christian we have such a difficult time talking to heathens about the cross and God’s overwhelming love for mankind? Whether its fear of getting into an unwanted argument with someone, or losing a friendship with a co-worker, or maybe feeling like you don’t know enough to defend the gospel properly, there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed in all of us. That is the lack of intimacy we have with our Savior.
John Piper says that evangelism exists because worship doesn’t. We evangelize because we desire for the world to experience Gods love and Glory the same as we have experienced. If we haven’t experienced that love and Glory then it makes perfect sense not to talk about Jesus. I don’t expect a cat to bark or a dog to meow. However, if you are a man or woman who believes on the name of Jesus, but still has hesitancy about revealing Christ to a lost and dying world, I understand. I can remember the deep breath right before I started talking about Jesus to a heathen, like I was about to jump off a cliff into cold water. I remember when God spoke to me and asked me the same question I am asking you, “Why is it so hard to tell people about Me?” Why is it that I break out in a cold sweat every time I feel that I need to say something about my faith? I didn’t know how or what it meant to worship Him.
David says in Psalm 63:2, “So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.” It was in that place or worship and praise where God’s power and glory was revealed to the psalmist. David learned how to worship God by being in His presence. It is why David could say, “In Your presence is fullness of joy…” That is what evangelism truly is. It is us telling an ignorant world that all joy, all love, and all purity is found in God’s presence. His presence is found through Jesus Christ, His cross and His resurrection. If we are having a difficult time conveying this, whether by our own fears or insecurities, I suggest this: stop trying to evangelize and learn to worship Him. We try to put the cart before the horse by trying to evangelize without knowing, truly knowing God through Jesus. Worship should always precede evangelism. When we do things in this order we will not have to try to evangelize, but it will be an instinctual part of our everyday lives.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Misconception of Biblical Proportions

We’ve all seen it: the radiant painting of Jesus with the glowing halo of sunshine and bubblegum. He stands glorious among the beggars, thieves, prostitutes and blue-eyed Italian children, with arms outstretched promising a life filled with hope, joy, money, love, more money, peace, and twenty-four hour confidence that you are AWESOME! YES, LORD, HALLELUUUUJAH! If you’ve never seen that painting, just Google “images of Jesus,” and you’ll most likely find something quite similar. So, if a picture can speak a thousand words then there’s no need to crack open the Bible, right. Well, let’s crack that baby open anyways and see if “Disco Jesus” is an accurate depiction of Jesus, or just another misconception of biblical proportions.
James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” I always think its really cool how God works in opposites. Like when Jesus says to His twelve disciples, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” So in order for you to be lifted up you have to make yourself humble, but if you try and make yourself great you’ll be humbled. I guess everybody’s knee will bow eventually, but your success is found in your desire for humility. Let me explain by painting a picture of Jesus that won’t make the front page of “People” or sell out arenas, but will and does change lives.
In John chapter 13, when Jesus and the twelve were at the last supper, Jesus washes the disciple’s feet. This act is so unique because of the attitude of Jesus before going into this action of servant-hood. John says about Jesus that, “Jesus knew that the Father had put Him in complete charge of everything, that He came from God and was on His way back to God. So He got up from the supper table, set aside His robe, and put on an apron. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples” (John 13:3-5a, The Message). This action of humility was manifested and birthed out of a reality that Jesus had about Himself: that He was God! Out of that recognition of His Lordship, He did what any manifest creator of all things would do, He made himself the lowest, most abased being at the last supper, and took on the role of a slave by washing the dirty feet of mere men. The apostle Paul describes Jesus like this, “And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). It is the character of God to be humble and take on the form of a servant.
There is nothing more glorious to God than the lowly form of a nobody who serves only because they take joy in it. Look at the story in John 12 when Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with expensive oils and then she wipes it with her hair. You can see the portrait of a woman who took on the lowest position in the house so she could bless the heart of her Savior. And there’s the bottom line, the point of it all. To bless the heart of the Savior.
Oh God, that we would be a church that serves the lowest of the low and desires no applause, no credit, no appreciation or promotion. That we would serve only to bless the heart of our Savior.

Monday, January 4, 2010

"...a prophet to the nations..." -God is Calling to Us

Hope was lost; the dungeon of our sin was dark and damp. The air was stale. The smell of death and waste hung in the air. The barred window overhead had been boarded up. No light, no life, just stale, dark air. Then God in His mercy saw fit not just to blow a hole in the wall, but completely obliterate the prison. Light that we haven't seen since we were children blinded us and as our pupils dilate we see glory that has only been explained to us in legend and hearsay. It's the mystery of God's glory and love revealed to us, lowly prisoners, by His cross. No bars, no guards, no stale bread, no stagnant water, but freedom, true freedom.

Off in the distance, there's a cold, black cylinder, eight feet high bent and warped at the top from extreme heat. A remnant of our broken prison. A reminder of torment's past. A reminder of slavery. A reminder of crimes committed in another life, resurrected by a thought. It's funny how sin has a smell and that ragged odor can break our hearts and stagger our breath, but there is a call, a siren behind our view. There is a pulling like a rope around our heart, tugging our gaze away from that rugged, rusted, burnt piece of cylindrical pain.

What is His calling to us?
It is an ordination God has set on us. An almond branch sprouting in our lives, revealing the coming spring.

What has He called you to?
A holy calling, pulling us into His bosom and pushing us out to reveal His glory and love. Pushing and pulling us, as the almond branch grows.

What is He calling us to?
Eternal life, starting at the beginning. Now we live. Now we move. Now we have our being in Him.

Who has He called you?
A priest. A king. An heir. A prophet to the nations. His mouthpiece revealing an almond branch blooming and growing. Now He will perform His word and spring is fully singing His glory.

Speak prophets and watch His word manifest His glory. An explosion. A thrill of hope.

"I have ordained you a prophet to the nations."