Thursday, June 14, 2007

Taking Jesus with Us

Disclaimer- I have been exceptionally ill last night and today but I have been thinking about these things so I thought I would write them down. If I read this tomorrow and realize I was delirious then I will remove it.

I think that we can do ministry without Jesus. Don't get me wrong here, I don't think we should, I just think we often do. Now, why would we do that? I may have a partial answer here. The other day we had some guests from the West and I was, as usual, telling my stories. I told them about Kili and Fili and their wives down in Anfalas accepting Christ and starting a Church. One of the guests broke in and ask, 'Wait, if Anfalas is three and a half hours away then who will pastor and lead the new Church?' 'Exactly,' I answered. Who will? If not me, the seminary trained experienced pastor then who could possibly keep this group in line? Who could protect it? Who could guide it? After some discussion I told them, 'Jesus is building his Church. It isn't my job. His Spirit will gift the people and raise up the leaders they will need with the giftings they need when they need them.' It was a bold statement. As I have been thinking about this I have been challenged by others who have had great struggles in raising up mature leaders. Many have poured years of their lives into men and women who are shallow and immature. Many still struggle with weak faith and total dependence on the foreigners. One year since the baptisms Kili and Fili are as fiery a gospel witness as you could hope to find. These men and their wives are dynamic, growing, faithful, and utterly transformed. I thank God for them and well I might. It was Him. It was Jesus all along who has been in control and has transformed these families.

Many times I have had big discussions with Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pipen. They would love for me to just give them a blank check to go out and solve all of the problems that the people around them have. I continually remind them that we must serve people but we are not to be God to people. They must look to Him. We can not, must not solve all of their problems. I believe that God is using the brokenness of this world to bring people to Himself. When we solve the problems ourselves- apart from His guidance and direction- then we short-circuit the process. We end up making disciples of us instead of disciples of Him. I have instructed the team not to refer to anyone as 'their' disciple. We are to make disciples but not of us, of Him. When we do that, when we take Jesus out and set Him loose in the lives of people we love then we can expect to see the radically transformed lives that we have been waiting to see.

I know a group who a few years ago went to a town up north. Through a dynamic prison ministry which reached out to the prisoner's families they saw fifteen house groups start. It was a great time and we all praised God for it. Today none of those house groups exist anymore. A few of the families go to the mother church but the house groups did not continue. Why? Well, they would not say this but I will. The mother Church never let go of control. All decisions were made down here in Minas Tirith. They were only allowed to have the Lord's Supper when an ordained someone from Minas Tirith was up there to give it to them. The groups were completely dependant on the leaders of the mother Church and eventually they died. They died because no matter how good you are you can not change a heart. You can not change a life. You can not raise the dead. But the dead must be raised. It is our calling. So, I must take the only one who can raise the dead with me and let Him get to work. He is eager to do such work in the lives of men and women. The question is are you going to let him? Can we trust Him to be in control and not us?

12 comments:

Marie said...

Wow! Jesus really does work if we just get out of the way! This is an important testimony to the awesome power of our LORD Jesus Christ. He actually does what He told us He would do. Go figure! :)

Thank you for posting this. I get in His way so much, thinking I can help the King of the universe.

Hope you're feeling much better! The LORD be with you and bless you abundantly!

BTW, still wanting to bless the "M" in Gondor...

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said...
I'm a first time reader. Your writing is not sick...it is wonderful.

The trouble with authority is it wants to stay in control instead of letting the Holy Spirit have control and in the long run, authority is known what it really is--pride; and people run away.

Your words on Wade's blog today were really needed. I'm afraid 'doctrine' has become the god of many.

Strider said...

Marie, I will try and write you tomorrow. Thanks as always for the kind words.

Rex Ray, welcome to Middle Earth. Thanks for reading.

marie said...

Strider, if it is risky to put that info out into the airwaves, I certainly understand. Please don't do anything that would cause you or your family concern.

I can always pray for you, and will!! :)

Anonymous said...

Strider First of all I hope this finds you feeling better!!!! I sooo agree with you and if only we could live up to the saying let go and LET GOD we would be better off. Take Care and God Bless, Angie. :)

BKC said...

But that is the challenge. We can't really just get out of the way, can we? Strider, you would be really, really out of Jesus' way if you stayed in the US. Why are you in Middle Earth?

This is the challenge. God has made it so that sinful, imperfect, prideful people must be involved in spreading His kingdom. So we have to work, be involved, and engage but do it in a way that honors Him. That is what makes it hard. If it was either "do everything ourselves" OR "get out of the way", it would be easy. But it isn't. We have to know, by the Holy Spirit when to press on and when to hold back. We have to know when to advise and when to let people figure things out. It is a tall order.

I think the one verse that has challenged and guided me in this is Col 1:29. Paul writes, "For [proclaiming Christ] I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me."

He TOILS but he does it by God's power. That is the goal.

marie said...

I would have to comment that "getting out of the way" to me means getting "me, me, I, I, myself, etc.," out of the way so that Jesus can do His work through me. Yes, He needs this vessel, but as long as I think I can do something in my own strength, I am interfering with the LORD's work and robbing Him of His glory. It must be He, Himself that performs the service through me or it is done in vain.

Strider said...

Marie- you are reading me right.

BKC- Col 1:29 is one of my favorite verses and is often found in my prayers. Getting out of the way does not mean staying home and watching TV, you are right. But it is all about control. Can we just love people and present Jesus to them and trust Him to change them. Or do we have to get out the laundry list of do's and don't's. It must be Him who transforms. It must be Him in control. I am just a vessel to love unconditionally. This is a role that requires most of us to 'toil' indeed.

bryan riley said...

Getting out of the way, however, BKC, does mean getting organizations out of the way, getting anything unbiblical that creates barriers to worshiping God and God alone out of the way. We must be getting believers the tools to follow Him (God's word, crucifixion of self, prayer), teach them to use those tools, and then let the Holy Spirit guide them.

Great post, Strider

Anonymous said...

Happy belated Father's Day Strider: ) Angie.

Cyle said...

Just read your post (June 20th), but wanted you to know I prayed for your physical strength.

Strider said...

Thanks Cyle, and others who have prayed for me. I was very ill indeed but God has completely restored my health and I am very grateful.