Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Great Commission.11

"Be warned: there will be those who will attempt to silence your witness of me. You will be summoned to court, and dealt with unfairly, and imprisoned on behalf of me. Because of my words, you will be asked to testify before those who do not believe, before rulers, governors, and kings."

   Follower of Jesus do you consider your witness of the Master a thing so potent that you must be a target of aggression?  Better yet, is not this a good measure of our witness?  If we are feeble and barely make a ripple on the waters of the conscience of those around us, should we not be more alarmed at that then the possibility of persecution for a bold and steady call to repentance?  Recall the scene in "Saving Private Ryan" when Corporal Upham sat paralyzed in fear heedless of the dying cries of his comrade in the room next to him.  Having completed his death match, the Nazi walked on past with sneering disregard for the miserable mass of cowardice sniveling on the steps. 

    The silence is deafening as the world casts a deaf ear to the influence of Christianity -- from removing prayer in schools, to Roe v Wade, to the sterile world of leftism's love affair with science and reason marginalizing people of faith.
By definition a summons is to call or notify to appear at a specified place, especially before a court.  It is usually followed by apprehension, dread or fear by the summoned.  But as Jesus' followers it ought to be seen as our commission by the One who chooses and strategically appoints us to our tasks for the Kingdom.  In my day job I have been chosen to train new field reps.  I recently was "summoned" to go on a training mission.  Not only did I represent my company but also my King as the rep and I had memorable conversations about the perfecting love of God in Jesus.
Dealt With Unfairly
   If we ever need to be reminded that we are not yet in the Kingdom whose King is love, it is only to have to deal with this world's system.  Daily we are reminded by news stories that this world is not our home and we ought to carefully guard our hearts from expecting true justice and "fairness" in our dealings.

    I had dream that I went to prison for opting out of social security for my work as a pastor.  I was greatly troubled by the dream.  Not for going to prison as much as the reason.  The founder's of our faith, the apostles, considered it a privilege to suffer for the King.  But they also warned that our persecution should rest on righteousness not bumbling badness.

    If we are the followers of God's Logos and trust Him daily to teach us the meaning of His words by living in obedience to his great heart, then surely we can trust him to give us His words, full of His meaning, at the right time!  Notice the progression:

  • those who don't believe
  • rulers
  • governors
  • Kings
What a thrill that His words--lived out in our lives--are so full of potency that we must give an account to and potentially change the hearts of people in power who, themselves, will one day give an account to the King of Kings!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Great Commission.10

"Do not hesitate to accept hospitality, yet remain purposeful. Resist aimless wandering. Enjoy whatever food and drink is offered you, for the person who labors is worthy of just wages.
Those who accept you, accept me also, and they that accept me welcome also the Father who has sent me."

Remain Purposeful.

Have you been on a mission trip at anytime in your Christian experience?  Remember the excitement of being prayed over and the sense of really "doing something for Jesus?

Most of us who've grown up in the church have been brought up on a steady diet of spiritual dualism, the notion that there are certain activities that are more important to God like "bible studies" and career choices, like "missionary", than the mundane endeavors we find ourselves in and wonder if He cares much about.  After all did not Jesus call Peter and the boys from the tediousness of fishing to a far more glorious work of "fishing" for men?

Aware of this tendency in the holy huddle of the Christian community, as a pastor I tried to avoid this dualism by celebrating "secular" accomplishments in school, work or home-life by focusing on the evidence of  God's pleasure and power in those things as well..  But the real challenge is to instill in every follower of Jesus to "remain purposeful" in all the activities of life by living with an awareness that He is always leading us triumphantly to overcome sin in our own lives and helping others in their struggles as well.

Resist Aimless Wandering.

In my "secular" work of sales I catch myself "aimlessly wandering" from time to time.  Although I try to start each day with a plan I am aware that a set back, a broken promise, a rejection, or geographical lost-ness can throw me off target.  Even a significant success can lull me into a sense of self-satisfaction that slows my mission.

As a follower of Jesus we do, indeed, live with a sort of dualism in that we have confidence that whatever the work we are doing, when we are doing it with a whole heart for his glory and excellence, brings Him pleasure.  And confidence that along the journey there are precious moments of ministry when we surely are His eyes, ears, hands and mouth to bring blessing to those he's led us to.

Not infrequently do I have those moments as I do my work.  One favorite moment was while talking to a lady about our organization, she seemed distant and distracted.  She apologized and told me she'd just found out that her married son and father of her three grandchildren had just learned he had cancer.  Her own battle with cancer gave her hope that it could be won, but not without great pain and sacrifice.  I asked her if we could pray together.  As we bowed our heads, Jesus surely showed up to minister to that lady!

Worthy of Wages

If we love God and his Son, Jesus, with all our heart, soul and strength.  If we demonstrate that love by loving others with all our heart, soul and strength.  Then we taste the reward in small portions of his joy in precious moments of ministry like that.  No matter what the sum in the wage box shows on our check...we know we have a down payment on eternal joy waiting in oneness with Him!