Saturday, December 22, 2012

Gone Fishin

I became a fishing pole last night.

Allow me to explain what I mean.

In Matthew 4:19 Jesus says, "Follow Me...and I will make you fish for people!" However, notice I said I was the fishing pole, not the fisherman. Speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said in John 16:8: "He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment:"

I went to the Mission Inn in Riverside last night and evangelized to the people there. Did I catch anyone? I didn’t. Did the Holy Spirit? Very possibly. You see, the Holy Spirit is the One Who’s truly fishing. I’m just the pole, and the Gospel tracts I hand out are the bait.

A lot more bait got out than clearly hooked anyone, but as I said to several people, “There’s a message on the back. If you read it and believe it, it could change your life.” I don’t believe that that is a misleading lie. In fact, the Gospel has all the power it needs. Romans 10:14 says, “But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher?” The Gospel message on the back of the tracts is plenty to convict a person of sin if the Spirit so wills that they be saved. I’d prefer to explain it myself, but if they “don’t have time” or “need to be somewhere” I pray that the message on the back is read and embraced by them.

Something I noticed is that while I hold out these $1,000,000 bill tracts, adults will stare at them longingly, but children will come ask for one or even grab one from my hand. I think it goes to emphasize what Jesus said in Mark 10:15. “I assure you: whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” You have to be willing to take a step of faith. For the kids, it’s grabbing the tracts. For the adults, it’s following their child’s example.

Something I have to mention is that if I know I’m going to be out witnessing to people I always wear the same shirt. It’s bright yellow and it reads, “ON MY 11Six.” It’s put out by Reach Records—Lecrae, Trip Lee, Andy Mineo—and it’s based off of Romans 1:16, being unashamed of the Gospel. I wear it for two reasons. One, if I get lost, the yellow color will help anyone find me. Two, there are a lot more verses in the Bible than Romans 1:16, that contain 1:16 in the reference. You can get a decent theology just by looking at these verses. I will be releasing a song—hopefully in the near future—about this very topic.

I’m blessed that God would save me so that I can spread His glorious message to others who need it just as badly as I need it.

Anyways, I pray that if you read this you would become bold and share the Gospel yourself. If you aren’t doing it, why are you still alive? The goal of a Christian is to be in the world, not of it, so we can share the Gospel with the lost world.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Church Membership = Necessary?

     As of January 6th, I will be switching church membership from a large, well established church in my town to a small, relatively new church in the next town. I told this to some family friends about a week ago and the response I got was surprising. “You don’t have to switch membership. Membership doesn’t really mean anything anyways.”
     I must say that I do agree with that statement as far as the larger church goes, but based on the book, “9 Marks of a Healthy Church” by Mark Dever, membership is important and I see it as such at the church I will be moving to. At my current church the only thing being a member does for you is allows you to be on their payroll (as a custodian, office worker, childcare person, or coffee shop employee), but according to Dever—and what I see at my future home church—membership helps assure ourselves of salvation, helps evangelize the world, helps expose false gospels, helps edify the church, and glorifies God.
     I want to focus on the edify section. No, there is nowhere a perfect church, until the whole church of Jesus is safely in heaven, but some are definitely healthier than others. I will leave that statement at that and move on to the fact that all I have to offer a church is my sinful, grace saved self. Dever wrote, “Whenever you join a church, you will bring problems into that church! But don’t let that stop you—they’ve got problems already! That’s why they’re in a church. I’ve got problems; you’ve got problems. But we know that Jesus is Lord, and that His Spirit has already begun to work on those problems.” If you say your church is perfect, you’re drastically confused, because that would imply that you think you are perfect too. It’s not the case. Dever goes on to write that “church membership is our ability to…make it known that we are the responsibility of this local church.”
     This is where I want to land this thing. I attended the larger church for 18 years of my life, and have never been truly disciple by anyone. I’ve attended (“secretly”) my future church for the past year and a half and the pastors have already told me that they see me as their responsibility even though I’m not even a member yet. I need this kind of care. Jesus is the good shepherd; pastors are His undershepherds. I need to be cared for the way shepherds care for their sheep, and this is not happening at my current church, so i need to leave. Is your church providing for your spiritual needs?
     To close, I leave you a challenge. Dever wrote, “Jesus said, ‘I will build my church’ (Matt. 16:18). If Jesus is committed to the church, should we be any less committed to it?” (pg. 159). I fully agree with this statement. If you are not a member of a local church, why aren’t you? We need to be committed to Christ and we show this externally by committing to a church.