I felt convicted. It was the kind of conviction that inspired me to act.
I attended the Exponential Church Conference this week at Yellow Box. Church planters and multi-site church leaders from across the nation were brought together for a holy infusion and for a good kick in the pants with regards to getting the gospel message out to those who are in need of it. A question was asked during one of the morning sessions that gripped my heart.
Who are the top five people you are praying to receive Christ as their personal Lord and Savior?
I currently have a list of prayer requests I receive from dedicated prayer warriors at Wheatland. I pray for the people and needs on the list. I pray for our church. I pray to and with God throughout my day. I talk with him like he’s sitting right next to me. Sometimes I argue, kick him in the shin and run away to the laundry room to get him to stop talking. But, truthfully, I haven’t prayed diligently for anyone to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior in a long time.
Paul’s letter to the Galatians is always great salt in my wound when it comes to feeling God’s pain, especially when it comes to lost people. The Galatian church had been set free to receive an amazing gift in the gospel of Jesus Christ but they had been lured away by interesting informational things of this world like great theological debates, rational thinking and fitting into society. Like Paul, I don’t believe Jesus came to inform us. I believe Jesus came to transform us. Paul’s words always cut through the gristle of my mental acuity and linguistic gymnastics. Read this passage but hear the message as one hears a plea from a passenger in your car as you head the wrong way down a one way street:
“How can you be so foolish! You began by God’s Spirit; do you now want to to finish the work in your own power?” Galatians 3:3
The same danger lurks in our hearts and in our churches today as it did in Galatia. Charles Kraft states is this way: We are imitators of the Galatians in the American church. We practice a form of Christianity so strongly influenced by our Western Enlightenment world view that we know little else but to turn to naturalistic, human-technique-centered methods for problem solving, healing or direction. Kraft suggests that our Enlightenment progress, serving a better society and the quest of discovering underlying truth in rational order replaced the awe inspiring work of the Holy Spirit. We traded supernatural experiences for being in control. Reason became king instead of the risen Son of God.
So what does this have to do with our Faith Promise series or our Wheatland value of Missions?
Everything. We send people and resources all over the world every year. We do that because Jesus Christ calls us to do so. Without a robust mission ministry we would be tempted to go the way of other declining denominational churches that have little or no influence in the world. As for me, and my household, we will serve the Lord! Joshua may have coined the phrase but I want to live it out every day of my life.
Leading people to the salvation knowledge of Jesus Christ has to be the main thing. We cannot fall victim to the 'gods of the age' or begin to feel like there are other things that are more important than the gospel. Discipleship is crucial for each follower of Christ. We work very hard to help Christians grow up in the gospel at Wheatland. That also means staying in vital relationships with people outside our Christian circle of influence and with people who are far from Jesus.
So, during the Advent season, I plan to help us stay focused on the main thing: the gospel of Christ. But, you don’t have to wait for me. Write down the top five names of people that are close to you but far from God. Pray for them daily and when God prompts you to do something like invite them to church or lead them into the full knowledge of Jesus as their Savior, do it! Do not let one more day go by without adjusting your Christian perspective—that lost people matter to God and are the main thing.
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9 NIV
See you Sunday,