Moving Where The Spirit Invites

I think I am nearly done shifting the Holy Spirit’s guidance into the American dream and ready to do the opposite. To be used for the glory of Christ. To go where he sends, empowered as he equips. Sure it will be costly, but only as the world sees it. It is the most worthwhile endeavor.

This from Jim Eliot who gave his life to bring the gospel to the unreached.

“Surely those who know the great passionate heart of Jehovah must deny their own loves to share in the expression of His. Consider the call from the Throne above, “Go ye,” and from round about, “Come over and help us,” and even the call from the damned souls below, “Send Lazarus to my brothers, that they come not to this place.” Impelled, then, by these voices, I dare not stay home while Quichuas perish. So what if the well-fed church in the homeland needs stirring? They have the Scriptures, Moses, and the Prophets, and a whole lot more. Their condemnation is written on their bank books and in the dust on their Bible covers. American believers have sold their lives to the service of Mammon, and God has His rightful way of dealing with those who succumb to the spirit of Laodicea.”

And this from Jesus to our weary hearts.

“And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”  But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Matthew 19:23–30 (ESV)

Comitting Success to God

“Moreover, the example of the apostle teaches us what we should do after we have done our duty. Let us commit all the success of it to God, by whose providence we know all things are governed. This is the only means by which we can moderate and quiet our devices, wherein those so who are ignorant are marvelously troubled and often times abandon their duty, supposing to bring matters to pass through their own wisdom and devices. For, standing between hope and dread, they can find no resting place for their devise. But those who know that trust and diligence is required of them in doing their duty and that all success thereof depends on God, when they see they have done their duty, they ignore all dangers that come to them; no fear of danger can prevent them from doing their duty.” – Rudolf Gwalther

It is a great reminder each day that in ministry, and life, trust and diligence are required and all success depends on God.

Luther on Applying the Gospel

“Here I must take counsel of the gospel. I must hearken to the gospel, which teacheth me, not what I ought to do, (for that is the proper office of the law), but what Jesus Christ the Son of God hath done for me: to wit, that He suffered and died to deliver me from sin and death. The gospel willeth me to receive this and to believe it. And this is the truth of the gospel. It is also the principal article of all Christian doctrine, wherein the knowledge of all godliness consisteth. Most necessary it is, therefore, that we should know this article well, teach it unto others, and beat it into their heads continually.”

Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians

At the Base of the Mountain

I am thankful for a group of resilient and faithful friends that stay ever connected in the digital world and speak honest and caring words to a couple of pastors and missionaries in training. Four of us, from coast to coast and the frozen middle. We challenge, refine and attempt occasionally to encourage one another. We often talk about our heroes and our failings and how it is sad that so much of life and posturing plays out in social media. One of us is poetic in nature and anonymous in desire. He prefers no platform and just quiet places far from famous to share Jesus with those you would least expect. We shall call him Matt Pilgrim. After a stirring week of conversation, he penned this piece that is honest and challenging to our modus operandi in the church.

 

“At the base of the mountain: confusion.

Sacred truths seem to slide toward delusion.

Unwilling to trust the Good Creator,

Weak faith cries out to see something greater.

Hoping in vain I might better my odds,

Here at the mountain I make pastors gods.

 

And knowing the grip sin has on us all

I demand perfect, ignoring the Fall.

I ask of you what I’d never agree

Is fair, right, or just for “little old me.”

I raise up that bar so high for a few

Because way up there I can worship you.

Entrusting to you what no man could bare

I cast upon you each worry and care

 

“Oh please save me, Pastor” becomes my cry,

Give me comfort even if you must lie:

Tell me my politics will set me free

Tell me how comfort can still by gutsy

Tell me “for family all else neglect!”

Tell me nice half-truths that Christ would reject

Tell me fetuses, guns, and flags are all

Tell me which Senator that I should call.

Tell me about race and immigration

But make sure you don’t offend anyone.

Tell me the virtues of war or of peace,

Tell me my blessings ought never to cease.

Tell me my wealth is my share of the pie,

Tell me this camel will fit through that eye

Tell me you’re sinful but not too much, please

Tell me the things that will put me at ease

 

Pastor, idol, my religious plaything

I’ve wound you up, I expect you to sing.

So speak up and shut up, you know the drill

Make sure every word aligns with my will.

Don’t forget, Pastor, you’re here to serve me,

To feed my soul while I sit here carefree.

 

Counsel, comfort, challenge, and all on cue.

Father, brother, mother, and savior too.

Cash your check, Reverend, and just play along

Bang the same old drums and you can’t go wrong.

Disrupt my system? No worse could you do.

Cross this old saint and I’ll crucify you.

Your pulpit, back to your pedestal flee,

Yes, faith this small needs a god it can see.

 

At the base of the mountain the mobs rule,

Impatience reveals that I am a fool.

Lacking great faith I’m quite simply old chaff,

I mold you into my own golden calf.

Keep lifting up Jesus it’s all so nice,

I’ll keep filing it under “good advice”


What a great weight I ask you to carry

Leaning on shovel, ready to bury

Your memory and your reputation

The moment I’ve finished having my fun.

Maybe that’s where Christ has something to teach

To Pastors, especially, because each

Can know the deep wounds of loving a flock

That one day adores and the next day mock.”