I have long disliked the concept of a “call” in Christian ministry. Let me explain.
In my current work with charities (ideaPraxy) it is amazing to see how God is working through various organizations partnering together over the years and presently. There is one church with many parts. May we constantly be reminded of the impact of using our gifts as diligently as we can to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
I must do what I say and believe most deeply, at least as much as I say it, I must do it. I must repent and turn from the dark, I must understand and live the light….I must do…..
I could talk about several things that I think are generally wrong in most churches today. I could talk about leadership, a lack of excellence or vision, but these are well documented issues. I do not think these are the root of the problem. The mission of the church is to “preach” or share the gospel, but do we? What is the gospel?
I would suggest the gospel in its purest form is this: Mark 1:15 14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” This of course echoes John the Baptist in Matthew 3:2.
Do you hear that in your church often? Ever? Accepting that Jesus was a real historic figure is not accepting the gospel. Accepting Jesus in your heart, whatever that means, is not the gospel. We must realize that we are sinners. We are imperfect, and that to be in relationship with God requires us to actually feel and acknowledge we are wrong. We don’t hear that often or ever because the real meaning of repentance is harsh. It feels so 1950’s hell fire and brimstone. The word repent rubs us wrong. It requires is to humble ourselves, to turn from our wicked ways.
But we don’t see ourselves as wicked do we. News flash, we are. I am. You are. So what is really wrong? People outside the church look at us and see wicked people. Proud people, who think they don’t need to repent. A few of them might even feel they need God so they check out the church and hear, well, self-help sermons. Feel good sermons. The problem with that of course, is that they need a remedy. They need to deal with the wickedness they are feeling. They need to hear the good news, that they can repent, turn from their wicked ways, and know God.
How will they hear, if we don’t tell them? Who else is going to proclaim the glorious and difficult message, The kingdom of God is coming, repent and believe the good news! Just saying…..
I have been consistently working out for a few years now, around four years. One of the things I discovered was that I can take one week and not work out and not lose my motivation. I can take two weeks and workout only two or three times per week, and again that would not knock me off my game, but if I hit a third week of inconsistent exercise, it feels like starting over. I lose the best part of my forward progress, and I start to move backward.
I believe this is true of the human condition. If we don’t move forward purposefully, our best case is we stay status quo, but more often than not we move backward. Notice I did not say aggressively. Life is a marathon, and “sprinting” takes too much effort for the gains that you will get. Purposeful, reflective, forward movement will garner great results. The enemy to this kind of movement is no movement at all.