Friday, April 15, 2005

Wandering Thoughts

This thought started here, but it was getting too long for a comment, and it was mostly about me. Beck's blog is not about me.

I think I burned myself out reading Dave Hunt's book. I started reading it again, and realized that the reason I had lost the will to continue reading was that it had gotten inane, and so I cut my losses, returned the book to its owner, and tore through a good Science Fiction novel.

I hate quitting halfway through something, but it had to be done, and I'm not sorry. I'm not sorry that I started reading it, and I'm not sorry that I stopped when I did.

Good books are a great way to get my mind in a thinking mood. I think this is mostly because I like the kind of books that make you think, and so I consider them good. I hope at least that I am not alone in this.

When I read the article that beck linked to, I thought about Ephesians 4:14, where those who do not mature are tossed about by every wind of doctrine. I've actually been thinking a lot about Eph 4:11-16 ever since my trip to Canada, and more recently it came up when we went through Ephesians in BSF, but even further back to a missions conference I went to in San Jose, and a talk that a friend of mine gave at a youth camp.

I've heard a lot of well-meaning teachers say, especially to young people, that they need to be out preaching the gospel to everyone they meet, because that's how you fulfill the "Great Commission" (Matthew 28:18-20). It has led to some good, but for many of those young people I think they were doing it out of guilt, and not love. Guilt is fear. There is no fear in love.

Jesus commands us to go and "make disciples of all the nations," but does that just mean preach at them until they convert? Preaching is good, but if that's all we do, we will have lots of very shallow Christians, who will fall easy prey to the next fad: Gnosticism, Humanism, Yoga, Atkins, Islam, whatever. My point is that that's not all that Jesus said to do, in fact, it's just the beginning, referred to as evangelism or 'planting.' He also said, "teaching them to observe all that I commanded you." Plants need to be watered. Making diciples goes far beyond "fire insurance" salvation. Diciples are Mini-Me's of Christ. Little copies. Exactly like Him in every way: one eighth His size (except for that last part).

We are fulfilling the great commission when we are encouraging one another to increasingly imitate Christ. This is why Ephesians 4 declares emphatically that the spiritual gifts ("Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.") are all for the express purpose of building up every single believer to complete maturity and perfect knowledge0 of the Son of God. I'm not trying to minimize the role of evangelists, I am simply reminding us that there are other, equally important, roles that should not be ignored. A growing church is one in which each member is personally growing in their faith. Do not mistake the effect this will have for the other kind of "growing" church, the kind that merely increases in numbers.

There's a Bible conference this weekend, and I've had this issue nagging me for a while now, so I thought I had better formulate my thoughts a little bit before then. I have this sneaking feeling that since my dad couldn't make it, they would make up for it by asking me to speak. Not that they have, mind you. If they were going to do that (and they weren't sadists) they would have warned me by now. However, I wouldn't put it past them to give me a sing talk or the Sunday School lesson. Don't tell them (and you know who I mean by "them," those of you whom I am addressing) I'm preparing anything, but I will be prepared. The last talk I gave I had twenty minutes notice. Thanks, Todd :-Þ



0 "Knowledge" meaning intimate acquaintance: to know someone, rather than something. "I know Joe Blow" vs. "I know about Joe Blow."

9 comments:

  1. Speaking of books, I'm going to try to read some "intelligent" books this summer, and not just fluff. I'm going through an I-want-to-be-intelligent phase right now. Hopefully it will stay for a good long while. =)
    I agree with your thoughts about the great commission and imitating Christ. Missions are pushed at my school, and I have often wondered if people are going because they are "little copies" of Christ and truly want to shar Him, or if they're going just because they "should."
    Anyway, hopefully that made sense. I'm still waking up...
    =)

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  2. For evangelism, I am starting with praying for people who don't know Christ. I am hoping the Lord will lead me to say things when appropriate/do things if I truly care about people and pray for them. This way I don't stress myself out with guilt about what I should be doing. It's a start . . . sometimes it's hard to know where to start

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  3. Wow don't get to full of yourself. You are a humble servant in God's vineyard. YOU NEED TO SEEK HUMILITY my child.

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  4. Wow Juan Pablo was harsh but perhaps on the right track. You do have an assumption of superiority in your post. I would work on not thinking you were going to be asked to speak at a function. And perhaps pray that God would give a smaller head.

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  5. Have you read, The Weight Of Glory, by C.S. Lewis? good book. And if you like History books, Just let me know, I've got a ton. Congrats on the pope reading your journal, its pretty impressive.

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  6. oh, and I think its smart to be ready in case they ask you. It's not being arrogant, its being ready.

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