Time To Rethink
Just recently the Lord has been causing me to rethink many of the things that I thought were normal Christianity. There have been several books that have been instrumental in this shift, Deitrich Bonheoffer’s “ The Cost of Discipleship”, Francis Chan’s “Crazy Love”, Brother Yun’s “Heavenly Man”, Marie Monsen’s “The Awakening Revival in China 1927-1937, Jonathan Go forth’s “When The Spirit’s Fire Swept Korea”, E.Stanley Jones’”The Christ of the Mount”, David Platt’s “Radical”, and Shane Claiborne‘s “The Irresistible Revolution, which might even be just a bit too radical for me, but taught me a lot about what love looks like.
I have come to understand why there is so little power and fruit coming forth from our labors, if we even really labor is questionable in itself here in the good ol’ USA. Most of us have become a group of believers that pamper ourselves and enjoy our societies. We spend very little time working to fulfill the great commission. We are too busy enjoying life as others are swept into a burning hell. We have to upkeep our lifestyles, and that takes time and money, doesn’t it. Well I am convinced, and convicted, that God is calling us to something really radical.
In Bonhoeffer’s book I read how the call we receive calls us to forsake all and follow Him. Every call He gave while walking this earth was the same, leave all and follow me. Lest we misunderstand, here are the verses:
Luke 14:26 If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Mar 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
Mar 10:28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
Mar 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
Mar 10:30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
You might say, hey wait a minute God doesn’t call us to forsake all, what about our families? They are free to follow as well. Peter and others had families and he undoubtedly continued to take care of them, but they followed Jesus with him.
What God began to show me is that we believers have cut ourselves off from the bleeding and dying and cloistered ourselves in our safe havens. We wonder why many of our children go astray, and get irritated at the black holes that suck the life out of us. Why is this happening? Do we invite to our dinners the ones Jesus told us to?
Luk 14:12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor [thy] rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee.
Luk 14:13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
Luk 14:14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
Well we are afraid that bringing in this type of strangers might be dangerous, they might steal our stuff. Well there are groups of Christians around the world who are doing just that. Why don’t we? We want to see people changed for Christ, but want the nice guys, the easy to deal with that won’t mess up our lives. So we have chosen to live cloistered peaceful, dull lives that don’t turn the world upside-down.
We admire the missionaries that sacrifice their lives at the tip of a savage native’s spear, for the gospels sake, but we fear the homeless and insane that are right outside our door. It is dangerous, yes, but who is our keeper? Do we really care that these folks are perishing without Jesus? How much do we care?
The Lord led me to the book by David Platt and I saw how my children are not serving the Lord because I kept them in a greenhouse. I thought I was doing right. I was protecting my kids from enemy. Now I see I should have taken them out on the streets and into the homeless shelters, hospitals and allowed them to minister with me and they would have caught the fire. Shame on me. In his book he shares how God has led his church to forsake all an follow Him. It looks different individual to individual, because God doesn’t require the same thing from each of us because we have different calling. But these folks are selling their excess and tightening up their lives, smaller homes, more practical cars, etc and using that money for the furtherance of the gospel. Not to build bigger church buildings, but to win the poor and beggarly to the Lord, to equip poor pastors in other countries to win their nations for Jesus. To supply water and housing to the homeless. Love looks like something. I would suggest you read “Radical”. It will mess you up in a good way. You are called. We all are.
David Platt also shares how we are called to go and make disciples of all nations and shares how Jesus made His disciples, He walked with them. He had the inner 12 that really became His family, He poured into them all He was as they walked together. We can only mentor someone by being with them. They have to be with us in all walks of life. Time must be invested and that means it is time to re-think “me time”. “Me” time is well, all about “me”. Where in the word are we told to have “me” time? Thanks PJ for that insight. We are called to go into our closet and have “Him” time, but “me” time is just selfish wasted time. You might say that is pretty strong. Well just read about the revival in Korea and even about the church these days in other countries and you will see the urgency they place upon the great commission. They believe that no cost is too great. But most of us don’t want to be too radical, just reasonably radical. After all we have to live in this world. Sorry it is on it’s way out to be replaced by a new one. Time to be eternally minded.
The world is perishing all around us. Do we really believe the sermon on the mount is for real? If we have an extra coat do we give it someone who has none. Do we visit those in prison? I saw an example recently at church. Jamie & Cameron took several young men with them to visit prisoners in a very dangerous prison. It was a fearful place but those young men who accompanied those who were mentoring them, were transformed and touched by God’s love expressed there. They were impacted and came back excited to share what God was doing. Was it dangerous? Yes, so what. What can they threaten us with? Eternal life? Seeing Jesus’ face sooner. Hmmmm. I also saw those doing the who were leading becoming much more excited about their own walk because of pouring their lives into others. Hallelujah. Rivers of living water flowing freely one to another.
Reading of the revivals in Korea and China caused me to see that these folks had no “me” time, but poured out their lives for the lost. No spa days or manicures. Weeping snotty noses replaced external beauty and pampering. Their hearts bled over the condition of the lost. The went to great ends and dangers to bring in the harvest. One lost soul was too much. Men like Bro. Yun were in prison numerous times, receiving vicious torture for being bold enough to proclaim the gospel where forbidden, but they felt the cost was worth forsaking all to follow Him. Their lives were not their own. They were bought with a price and they were willing to give all in return. It is time we heed the call. We are all called. Will our fathers, mothers and the rest of the family hate us? many will. But it has always been thus. However they are free to follow us as we follow Christ.
I am convinced we are in the final hours. Jesus is drawing nigh and we need to be without spot or wrinkle. How do we do that? By fulfilling His calling on our lives. Obedience. Love looks like something. We need to open up our lives and homes to those who need it. Why do we have spare rooms and not share them with visiting ministers of the gospel. Why do we send them to impersonal hotels. Why can’t they join in our family and eat at our tables. Maybe we don’t want them to see us in our unguarded, un-groomed moments. Maybe we have something to hide? We are cloistered. How about the others we say we love. Do we really. Or do we only love them on our time, and occasionally when the don’t interrupt our lives. Folks it’s time for change. We are called the family of God. What does a family look like in the natural. Do we love each other as much as our own family members? Do our hearts break for every member of our spiritual family?
Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Mat 25:35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Mat 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Mat 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed [thee]? or thirsty, and gave [thee] drink?
Mat 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? or naked, and clothed [thee]?
Mat 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.
Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Mat 25:42 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Mat 25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Mat 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me.
t 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
In that day He will not bring up how great we worshipped, prayed, preached, or prophesied, but how we loved. Love looks like something. Come on church this is our watch. The things of this world are passing away. The only thing we can take with us is souls. We are ambassadors for Christ. We are not of this world. We are a called out people, so why are our roots so deep in the earth? Why do we turn a blind eye and deaf ear? Why do we act like this world is not passing away? Now is the time. Look up our redemption draweth nigh. Let’s be about our Father’s business before it’s too late.
I would say that when we are frustrated or discouraged because those we thought were walking in the Lord fail to do so, we should look and see if we really walked beside them and did as Cameron & Jamie did, setting an example. Did we bring them with us to the nursing homes, prisons, tent cities, homeless shelters, etc. or just expect they would be content to come to church and not really impact the world around them. Jesus said, take up your cross and follow Me. Hey that means He leads and we followed. We impact those around us by walking the walk. If you are wondering why everybody around you is so dry and selfish, check “your” degree of excitement over spreading the gospel. I am. I can’t point the finger at anyone else if I am sitting on my rear end expecting someone else to do it. We inspire by doing, just as our Jesus did. He loved unto death, even the death of the cross. So must we. It isn’t about us, it’s about Him, and them. Get up and teach by example. It you see no fire, ignite some. Go into all the world and make “disciples” of all nations. The great commission hasn’t change, we have. The good news is we can change again and impact or world and those we are mentoring by example. We just might find ourselves changed in the process. Amen?
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