I love sharing convictions. This blog is a deep conviction I've been having for a couple of months now. This will be challenging, and it may offend. And I'll go so far as to say, good. I'm glad someone else can share in this discomforting conviction.
So the conviction began one day last Fall. I was speaking on stage in the youth ministry at my church and I just love how I feel when I'm on the stage. I come alive when I'm preaching. It's my form of worship, I love to proclaim the gospel. And one night, God convicted me with the question,
Why do you only like to proclaim it from the stage?
"Ummm..I don't know."
But this question got me thinking. One of my goals about ministry and living my life is that I do not want to be a pretender. Like I don't want to be some hype man for Jesus, constantly screaming and preaching and sharing about Jesus but I don't know Him. I don't want to be preaching things that I'm not willing to apply to my own life. So back to the question. Why do I only like to proclaim it from the stage? If this is teaching scripture thing and preaching thing is my calling, then it's part of my identity, it's part of who I am. So I should be proclaiming....everywhere. Not just in certain situations or certain venues. But everywhere. Proclaiming the gospel should be who I am. So this began to challenge me to consider some things. I started to pray how I can begin to proclaim the gospel everywhere. This isn't so much about evangelizing than it is just imitating Jesus, being the gospel for people. Living with the gospel lenses. Speaking with gospel centered grace and truth speech. All these things.
Now for the issue. My fellow friends and many fellow believers can easily fall into the category of being spiritual consumers. We are so easily trapped into being spoon feeding sippy cup drinking Christians. We love messages. We have apps for that. We love churches and conferences and small groups and we are constantly encouraging each other---guys please don't miss hear me, these are great things----but we can get easily content with our Christian bubbles. And we start using language like "I have a heart for missions and we instantly associate mission work to overseas mission. And I've noticed that people who go on mission trips have beautiful hearts and intentions to reach the lost, but prior and post these mission trips they lose their hearts for the lost. What happens to us? Our hearts get so stirred for the missions trips. This overseas nation doesn't know Jesus, let's go minister and share and be lights to a dark nation, but we don't proclaim the gospel to our own friends?
What happens? What is going on in our hearts? We assume our friends know? We assume the Western Culture is better off so they don't need Jesus? Maybe we're resentful because we're so saturated with Christianity that we just assume people know they're just choosing to reject? Or are we scared? Are we afraid of something? What's the fear? What's the hangup?
It's easy for us to be geographically missional. I can be passionate to seek and save the lost, overseas. I love that Passion 2013 had an end sex trafficking focus, and I love that people's hearts were stirred for the cause. But what I'm also praying for---is they DO SOMETHING. 4 days of consuming information from great speakers, great worship leaders pouring and leading college students into the presence of God, and I'm praying that many of them do not get back to the routines of college and lose the fine tuned focus of what broke their hearts at Passion. I pray the comfort zones doesn't cause them to lose sight of the mission that was laid on their hearts. When their hearts grieved for the ones trapped in slavery---that the frustration of tests and studying and boy issues and girl issues and leggings doesn't cause us to lose sight of the mission.
What happens to us? Are our hearts really being transformed? What happens to women when they go on mission trips and they wear little to no make up and dress extremely modest? What happens to our hearts? When we go into these nations and cities and regions and we are here to serve and love but when we return to the states it's back to the normal frustrations of terrible customer service and road rage?
What happens to us? Do we not know we are called to be ministers of the gospel where ever we are at. Yes, some of you are called to be passionate about overseas missions. But I bet if you're reading this, you're more than likely not there yet. So what's keeping you from proclaiming the gospel where you're at right now? If you're in Auburn, Alabama, or Detroit, Michigan----your mission field is right in front of you. The same heart and motivation that gets you on that plane to travel miles to these regions should be the same heart and motivation that gets you to walk onto your job or in your class and serve and the love the people you come into direct contact with.
I am challenging myself in this. I do not have it down people, so this is not in anyway pointing the fingers and telling you that you're not doing enough. Even though you're not, lol, I'm not here to condemn you. Here's some scripture.
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:11
You are a minister of the gospel where you are at. This does not say only in Africa and Haiti. This implies that you do it where you are at. if you're reading this in a public place, turn to your right. The first person you see, realize that this person could be going to Hell if they died tomorrow because they may not know Jesus. Just think about it. I'm not pushing you to go say anything, but just think about it. If you're alone, next time you leave your house, look at the car next to you at the red light. That person could be going to Hell because maybe no one has shared the gospel with them. I'm not saying get out of the car and do anything, just think about it. This 'exercise' or reality check is just a process to begin to transform your heart into thinking missionally all the time.
Love you. More than you know. Thanks for reading.