This is just a brief note to self. I got my holidays mixed up on my last blog. I have corrected it now. Note to self: Drink at least two cups of coffee before sitting down to write. I feel some heavy writing coming on so stay tuned.
Having taken a vacation from posting on this blog, it is time to blog again. As Labor Day weekend approaches my mind is on the age old battle for truth. The truth is powerful and effective, but it must engage those who walk in darkness. We cannot sit safely in our churches and expect to win the battle for truth. Paul wrote about the “weapons of our warfare” in 2 Corinthians ten and verses four and five. He made clear that these weapons are WML, weapons of mass life. Weapons are no good if they never leave the arsenal. They are also not effective if we only sit and clean them. Our enemy is not people. Our enemy is the devil who has taken the souls of men prisoner and would like nothing more than to chain them in darkness forever. Jesus came to set people free. He has commissioned us to be his freedom fighters. He does not ask us to provide the power. The power is already in the gospel. He simply asks us to get out of the barracks, arm ourselves from the arsenal, and enter the fields of conflict. Don’t be afraid. He said he would be with us always.
According to a news report, there was an exam given at Ohio State University containing a question which indicated that Christians just are not as smart as atheists. Only a case of severe ignorance or amnesia could cause one to fail to note that the very discipline of scientific discovery arose from a Christian worldview. The deeply held conviction of Christians that the world was created by God in an orderly and designed fashion led naturally to the exploration of that design. An actual study was done to learn about the people with the highest registered I.Q. in the world and the results fly in the face of the current notion that “atheists are just smarter.” Of the ten highest ranking people whose intelligence has been measured, eight of them are theists, and six of the eight are Christians. How’s that for a statistic? Without meaning to do so the close minded professor has raised another question. Why are atheist so self absorbed? One of the more interesting observations that I have ever heard is that Christianity actually opens the mind. The Christian faith invites exploration and testing. God challenges us in the Scriptures to test and prove him. Believers didn’t bring this subject up, but don’t fall for the drivel that you cannot be intelligent and Christian. The facts just don’t even come close to suggesting such a thing.
This summer we have the largest number of people engaging in mission trips in our history. The largest group is going to Oregon. There will be forty three in that group. They leave this weekend. Another group of eighteen leaves for Myanmar today. Our Moldova team was the second largest group that we have sent to Eastern Europe. They had a great experience and shared the gospel with thousands by children’s ministry and bible distribution. All of this activity and more raises a question among some as to why this is important.
1. It is important because of the command of Jesus. Jesus said we would be witnesses where we are and also to the uttermost parts of the earth. (Acts 1:8) You will never realize the true magnitude of the church and her task if you never engage in missions.
2. It is important because of how lost the world is. In many parts of the world the church is weak and outnumbered and struggles to even get the attention of the population around them. Just the presence of groups of committed Christians who have come a distance to touch lives raises the visibility and importance of those believers who live in the midst of a host of unbelievers. They suddenly are seen as valuable people to those around who marvel at the guests who have come to work with them.
3. It is important because of the opportunity for spiritual growth. Most people who have engaged in missions will tell you that their sense of their spiritual gifts and abilities have been greatly expanded while serving in one of these adventures. They truly are spiritual adventures in which you can sense the presence of the Lord and his pleasure at the efforts you are making to touch a lost and dying world. You have the opportunity to witness the power of the gospel and the impact the message of Jesus can make in the lives of people. This is life changing for you as well as those you touch.
I could go on of course. There are many other reasons. Let me close with this. Why is Crestview Baptist Church such a unique church? I submit to you that it is directly related to the way so many of our people have moved from being spectators to participants in ministry. There is nothing so transformational as making the choice to truly be the Body of Christ doing the things he did to change the world. “UNTO HIM BE GLORY IN THE CHURCH THROUGHOUT ALL AGES, WORLD WITHOUT END.” (EPHESIANS 3:21)
I had no sooner posted on the need for awakening in America until I received an email which extensively quoted Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham who was calling for urgent prayer in the first seven days of July for revival in our nation. She shares the same convictions that the Lord has impressed upon me. I urge all who read this to commit to special prayer for national awakening beginning tomorrow. She also calls for a seven hour fast on the seventh of July. I will plan to participate in this emphasis each day and in the fast on the seventh day. As if this statement by Mrs. Graham Lotz was not enough, this afternoon, I took my first look at Joel Rosenburg’s book IMPLOSION. Joel shares his personal insight that we will either have revival or ruin in America. I have been having the same sense of alarm in my own heart. I spoke this in one of my two sermons on Sunday and noticed the surprise on the faces of many in the room. Many of us are asleep aboard the Titanic. It is time to awaken!