Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Jesus and Me (and Prayer)

Too many leaders in the church are trying to do what Jesus didn't do - what Jesus wouldn't do.

What an incredible thing to try to be stronger than Jesus! As His disciple that is really quite disrespectful. Jesus said in His own teachings:

A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
- Luke 6:40

Some of us would think no one who follows Jesus would have to be told they are not greater than Him, yet Jesus had to say it to drive the point home to His disciples. More than surprising, this astounding statement has to be reiterated yet today to the leaders of the church. Not just the Pastors, but everyone who does the teaching, training, working and ministering among and on behalf of the body of Christ.

You may be wondering in what way today's leaders are acting like they are greater than Jesus. What are we doing that Jesus wouldn't do?

The answer lies back in Luke:

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
- Luke 5:15-16

Way too many leaders in the church are trying to minister the word of God, serve in the love of Christ, avoid temptation and evil desires, without getting away from everything and praying...OFTEN.

Too busy, too tired, too hurried...I know all the excuses. I battle with them myself. But here is the issue we have to wrap our minds around: If Jesus needed that time in prayer, and Jesus is God; then we must need it, even more so! We are not greater than Him; if we are fully trained, we might get to be like Him, but never greater.

Whether you are a Sunday School teacher, a Youth Sponsor or a Pastor, you need that time of prayer, often. If the church is going to see God's power displayed among us, her leaders need to be praying.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (emphasis mine)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Billy Graham School of Evangelism

Just a personal review of the event I was blessed to be a part of at the end of August...

1. A great reminder of the priority evangelism should play in the life and intent of the church. It is easy to get comfortable dealing with the "stuff" the church deals with every day, and just be glad to get everything done. Evangelism is never done, nor should it be put on the back-burner for any extended amount of time.
2. A lot of people would disagree what the "gospel" is, even in the church. We need a steady input of the message that saves people for eternity...how would you explain it to someone who is lost?
What does it say to our world, today?
Why does it matter of we tell people or not?
Is it okay to be "exclusive" in our theology - Only Jesus can save?
Can you "know" you are going to heaven?
Why do people fight our message so adamantly?
3. I've said it myself before, but it was confirmed for me again at the SOE: Kids must be told the gospel message often, and commit themselves to the Lord. Statistically, most believers choose to do so by age 15! Kids and Middle School ministries are vital to evangelizing the world!
I want to use the questions raised in point two to direct the conversation of this post for the next few weeks.