As believers…we are not defined by who we are and what we do. We are defined by who Christ is and what He’s done.
Asked to describe what he thinks a “dangerous church” will look like in 2020, Ed Stetzer offered two cautions at the beginning of his list. The second one was that the church should “be more cynical.”
Too many believe the “next big thing” will fix the church. Instead, we need to be more cynical.
The church will not solve all its problems by emerging, having 5 purposes, moving into a house, or announcing itself missional. And, we tend to just be too ready to believe these things contain all the answers.
I agree. We don’t need to be looking for the “next big thing” that will fix any perceived problems with the church. We need to be looking to the thing we already have, the Gospel! That is the answer to not only our problems, but the problems of the entire world. Let’s get the Gospel right, then get it front and center in our thinking, our preaching, our teaching, our community, and our lives.
Pray. Or, more specifically, hurl yourself at God.
That’s step three in a list of five actions Jared Wilson suggests for battling doubt. I love it! I love that imagery. I’ve been thinking about prayer a lot recently. After reading Hudson Taylor’s biography I’ve been moved to get more serious with my own prayer life.
Hurling myself at God full force seems like a good way to think about it. Totally abandoned. My cares, concerns, fears, and requests cast so far into God’s care that I can’t pick them back up again. I’ve heard, “Lay your concerns at Jesus feet and don’t pick them back up again.” If I hurl not only my concerns, but myself, into his arms, I can let him carry me.
Hurl yourself at God!
from Norman Grubb’s God Unlimited up for discussion:
“There is no need to force a person’s will. All the other person need do is attract and captivate our ‘want,’ and then we will love to act in harmony with him….People often ask, How can we conceive of God changing a person’s will if he is free? The answer is that God changes our ‘want,’ and the will follows spontaneously. Once God has captured our wills by drawing us back to Himself through Christ, then it is He in us who ‘wills and does of His good pleasure’ and it is we who naturally, gladly, freely work it out.”
I started to reply in a comment on his post and then realized my comment was going to be longer than his post. Thinking that bad form I decided to just post it here and trackback to him.
In response to this quote, I would agree and disagree.
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”–John 6:44
Charles Spurgeon, possibly my favorite preacher, writes the following regarding our will.
Christ never compelled any man to come to him against his will. If a man be unwilling to be saved, Christ does not save him against his will. How, then, does the Holy Spirit draw him? Why, by making him willing. It is true he does not use “moral suasion;” he knows a nearer method of reaching the heart. He goes to the secret fountain of the heart, and he knows how, by some mysterious operation, to turn the will in an opposite direction, so that, as Ralph Erskine paradoxically puts it, the man is saved “with full consent against his will;” that is, against his old will he is saved. But he is saved with full consent, for he is made willing in the day of God’s power.
Speaking of our want, he says this.
…the affections, which constitute a very great part of man, are depraved. Man, as he is, before he receives the grace of God, loves anything and everything above spiritual things…It is but human nature, fallen human nature, that man should love this present life better than the life to come. It is but the effect of the fall, that man should love sin better than righteousness, and the ways of this world better than the ways of God. And again, we repeat it, until these affections be renewed, and turned into a fresh channel by the gracious drawings of the Father, it is not possible for any man to love the Lord Jesus Christ.
So far this tends to agree with Grubb. The disagreement comes in regards to the last sentence of the Grubb quote. The idea that God merely captures our will by changing our want and then we “work it out” because we want to.
…if all that God the Spirit does for me is to make me willing to do these things for myself, am I not in a great measure a sharer with the Holy Spirit in the glory? and may I not boldly stand up and say, “It is true the Spirit gave me the will to do it, but still I did it myself, and therein will I glory; for if I did these things myself without assistance from on high, I will not cast my crown at his feet; it is my own crown, I earned it, and I will keep it.” Inasmuch as the Holy Spirit is evermore in Scripture set forth as the person who worketh in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure, we hold it to be a legitimate inference that he must do something more for us than the mere making of us willing, and that therefore there must be another thing besides want of will in a sinner–there must be absolute and actual want of power.
Not only does God change our will and want, he also gives us the power to act on the new affections he has given us.
…we have an income tax structure today that is inherently unjust. We almost never hear anybody discuss this injustice…the poor [should not be] allowed to say, “We’re going to pay five percent and the rich are going to pay fifty percent because they can afford it.” What that is ladies and gentlemen is the politics of envy that legalizes theft. Anytime you vote a tax on somebody else that is not a tax on yourself, you’re stealing from your brother. And though the whole world does it and though it’s common practice in the United States of America, a Christian shouldn’t be caught dead voting to fill his own pocketbook at the expense of someone else. Isn’t that plain? Isn’t that clear? And until we get some kind of flat tax, we’re going to have a politicized economy, we’re going to have class warfare, and we’re going to have the whole nation’s rule being determined by the rush for economic advantage at the polls. Don’t do it. Even if that means sacrificing some benefit you might receive from the federal government. Don’t ask other people at the point of a gun to give you from their pockets what you don’t have. That’s sin. – read the whole thing
I would add: If you have the money and want to help others, don’t vote to give that money to the government for them to redistribute, give it to your church or a faith based organization that helps people in need. Or better yet, help people personally so you get to know them and can share the Gospel with them, which is the help they REALLY need.
…the Crucified has conquered, the Nazarene has laughed them to scorn, the dying Son of man has become the death of death and hell’s destruction. – C. H. Spurgeon