Is The Gospel Your Operating System?

Is The Gospel Your Operating System?

Is it possible to get the Gospel right in terms of its facts while not trusting in that same gospel to bring about God’s desires for every aspect of the Church and its mission?

We live in an age that trusts much in techniques for accomplishing important tasks. Too often I think we have succumbed to drinking from the well of scientific methodologies for the accomplishment of spiritual goals and ministry. By this, I mean that we tend to put an inordinate amount of trust in rationalism that trusts in methodologies and techniques more than prayer and proclamation of the gospel in all of its facets.

  • Do we take the needed time to think through and apply the gospel to parenting, leadership, church growth, spiritual development, community, and cultural impact? While I know of some who do, we need to pursue a wholesale gospel orientation to how we do the work of ministry.
  • Do we understand how the gospel should motivate us in terms of how we approach unbelievers and believers who are struggling in many and varied ways?
  • Do we understand how the gospel motivates, frames, and directs us as to how we should pursue those who are the “least of these” and who are truly being oppressed and treated unjustly?
  • How much have we allowed the voices in our culture to direct us rather than the very Word of God?
  •  In what ways has the Church bought into a political motivation for cultural change rather than a Kingdom-of-God motivation?

The Gospel of the Kingdom is not only the Church’s foundational message but that it also provides us with the needed motive for building that Kingdom: the very love of Christ!

Ministry in the Storm

Ministry in the Storm

As I pressed my face against the cold glass, I looked out at the half-melted snow in the back yard.  My eyes fell on the dry dead grass peeking through the snowy patches.  Tears were streaming, sobs were billowing out from deep inside.  I felt like that dry dead grass.

The day started with a young child answering my call to start school with “I hate school, it isn’t fun and I don’t want to do it”. That was followed with an older child telling me about a great awakening they had had in their view of things. It was a good thing, but I guess I was a little distracted helping another child find their book which led to frustration for the older child and an abrupt ending to the conversation.

Just when I was trying to settle down to do grammar with my son, the yell came, “Taylor is having a seizure”. What? My head was spinning, it was only two months since the last one. What is going on? After rushing upstairs, we helped her through. There is always a time of confusion and unrest following a seizure for Taylor. She needs reassurance and answers to the same question multiple times as her mind gets back to normal. She usually feels defeated and wants to hold my hand and ask me to pray for her. It is a sweet request made by a tender heart. The challenge this morning was that I felt like I was in her same place. How could I encourage her when I myself needed encouragement? She tearfully said at times like this she wondered if God even loved her. I wanted her to be assured of His love because I know he loves her. But in the very same thought, I felt exactly as she did! If he loves me, why is this so hard? I was pouring from an empty vessel just like the widow did back with Isaiah.

As I leaned on that glass, looking out at the dead grass, feeling as worn and broken as ever, I thought to myself. “I need to text some friends to pray for me.” Quickly, I banished the thought. “No, I can’t do that, they are all under pressure, just like me… They can’t be troubled.” I waited for my next call from Taylor to ask me again, “what happened?” and could I pray for her?

She did call me in, but only to tell me that there was yet another piece to this challenging situation… something a sibling said to her preceded this seizure and when she told me, it only sent me more into a tail-spin. Now, I needed to confront other people and work through more mud and yuck.

I knew I had to do what I didn’t want to do. I texted three dear friends and asked them to please pray. It was hard, not what I wanted to do, but I knew I had no other options.

The day went on, I noticed that our health insurance had the wrong doctor listed as our PCP which led to a mess of phone calls. I received an email that had news and requests that I didn’t want to hear. It felt like bricks were falling down not only around me, but on me.

I checked my phone and found the sweet message of a faithful friend feeding me with the only bread worth eating: The Word. Psalm 91 to be exact. Words of prayer and love, followed by the others.  In the midst of the storm I had an anchor. I stopped floundering and scurrying, scraping to gain my footing and rested in the words of the Psalm. I took a minute, poured a mug of cold coffee and warmed it in the microwave… moved the dirty dishes and books from the bar in our kitchen and found a place to open my Bible.  I was reminded that all is not lost. God is still on his throne. He has good for us and I have hope and confidence.

We are ministers and we need to be ministered to. We need each other and we need to be willing to be used by God even when we may feel incompetent or unqualified. My sisters were there for me and I hope I can someday be there for them, too. We need each other when we can’t see because the battlefield we are in is too thick with smoke.

Simple action plan:

  • Remember, you are ministers and other powerful truths. Consider downloading our free Identity in Christ from A-Z.
  • Reach out when you need help. Text, email or call a friend.
  • Answer the call when a friend reaches out to you. You don’t have to be a professional, just a fellow beggar who found bread.

Taylor Part 2

In early 2017, we shared about how God has been using Taylor’s health struggles to draw us closer to him. If you haven’t seen that, please feel free to watch it here. Thank you for all of the prayers, gifts and notes of encouragement you have sent our way these past few months. We wanted to give a brief update on where things are with Taylor’s health.