One step closer or one step further away?

Today I’m re-assessing [deep breath].

I talk so much about the need for revolution. The need to stop perpetuating an institutional commitment apart from its cultural context, and to start living out the Gospel in the culture in which many are lost and facing a Christless eternity.

I have pointed out so many of the things which we (and yes I did say ‘we’) as the church are doing wrong,  it becomes hard for me and others to ever feel part of that insitutional church again. But while I’ve talked the talk of a revolutionary and have tried to walk the walk of the revolution – or as one author has stated ‘the secret message of Jesus’ (which in reality is the plain old Biblical truth of Gospel living), I have not yet shown the results I have so long desired.

So the frustration levels are rising… the pressure is building… and to be honest in this moment I don’t know what to do.

Am I the only one experiencing this? Surely not?

It honestly feels as though God is teasing me. He has shown me what needs to be changed. I believe He has told me to live accordingly with that new paradigm. But now what?

I know in writing this way some of my critics (and I know there are a few because I have read your comments) will probably use my words against me. But the simple truth of the matter is I’ve never wanted anything more than to be part of the bride of Christ living as the bride of Christ should live.

All of these thoughts were brought to the fore when I was present at a meeting of evangelists. One evangelist was not very complementary of the emerging church movement, because in his mind books like ‘Velvet Elvis’ and the like were watering down the Gospel, causing the church to no longer preach the full Gospel. I could see the frustration in his life. Furthermore, clearly he believed and was living as though the only hope for Australian churches is the need to evangelise and particulary the need to raise up the ‘Evangelists’.

I have to tell you I used to think exactely the same! I do see some truth in his passionate discussion. But…..  honestly I don’t think the answer is there… I don’t think the answer to the lack of any real growth in the Australian church is in the abandoning of Evangelists (it is a terrible thing mind you). It is merely another step in the continuing decline of the church.

So there it is, I will pobably have to hand in my badge as an Evangelist at door when I leave. Which is sad because I don’t have many more badges!

My evangelist friends have what they believe to be the remedy. A movement or revolution espousing the ‘Evangelist’.

I have this fear that even if my Evangelist friends got what they are working towards, a renewal of the value of Evangelists, than they too would end up feeling the same way as me.

Disappointed, deflated, and at times depressed.

So what’s the key? What can I do to keep going? How can I continue to fight the good fight even when it would seem I’ve been given the opportunity and yet nothing much has happened?

Strangely enough I think the answer is in the past not neccessarily the future.

Once again I feel drawn to one of my favourite passages 1 Samuel 14:8-14, a story involving Jonathon and his armour bearer. Both men cause me to constantly rethink everything I do! God’s people are literally hiding in ditches and outnumbered and, at the time, without any real leadership.

But Jonathon wakes up his armour bearer and says, ‘Let’s give something a go!’

Maybe I am reading too much into the passage but maybe Jonathon has simply had enough! Maybe he has had enough with being ineffective! Maybe he has had enough with time wasting!

Does this strike a cord with you?

Anyway, Jonathon’s plan is not the most logical plan… Rather than attempting to strike when the enemy is at its weakest or even using the element of surprise he decides to show himself to the enemy outpost! Man the guy is crazy… I am not sure that I would be following that guy? But listen to the recorded conversation of the time;

8 Jonathan said, “Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands.”
11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” 12 The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.”
So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel.”

Do you get the crazy part of the plan? Actually the better question would be do you see any sane part in that conversation? What does Jonathon really hope to achieve? Does he really expect to be able to defeat the enemey?

Don’t forget in the very next verse we read he has to climb up on his hands and feet! He won’t even have his sword ready when he reaches the top! He can expect to be chopped to pieces before he stands up!

But the really insane part is where Jonathon tells his armour bearer, “If they say ‘wait there until we come to you, we will wait’.”  The crazy fool is willing to stand there and die! It’s as though he doesn’t care one bit about the result because it’s all in God’s hands!

Do you see where I am going with this? The results …hmmm… should I be concerned? Yes I should.

But I think the better question is am I willing to die for what I believe God has called me to do? And the answer to that question is far more important.

Am I willing to give up everything I hope for and already have for the sake of the life God is calling me to live?

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