It’s early Monday morning and I can’t sleep due to a sore throat and an annoying cough – but at least it hit today and not yesterday. That said, I may be brief today (he says to the sound of distant applause and cheers!).
If my ministry was to be categorized in any particular way, if someone were to ask me my one passion, it would have to be the hope of seeing the church impact the world in a greater way. I don’t mean with ministries that help people, though I love the Methodist Church for the ministries we have that do those thing – Nothing But Nets, UMCOR disaster relief teams, etc. My hope is to see the hearts of people impacted by the love and grace of God. My hope is that others will discover that the life they’re pursuing is nothing compared to the life they find in Jesus Christ.
The reality is that the political and social forces in our country and around the world have the idea that we can make this world a better place by our own wisdom and ingenuity. We figure all it takes is the right people in power and our troubles can be overcome. “It’s okay if you want to believe in God, just don’t let your belief get in the way of our agenda to save the world.” We tilt at windmills and believe we have the power to overcome our struggles. We deceive ourselves. Our only hope is found in Jesus Christ. Only the power of God made known in the Holy Spirit at work within the hearts and in the community of the faithful followers of Jesus can bring peace – but the peace is not an overcoming of the evil in this world, but the evil within each of us. Until Jesus comes back, this turmoil will continue. The best we can hope for is to manage our way through it with the power of God that comes to all who would believe.
So how do we begin to change the hearts of people in our communities and in the world? We share our stories about how God as changed our lives – we share our stories of faith and thereby share our faith by naming God as the power that impacted our existence and our joy and peace. Someone once said (don’t remember who, but I heard them say it), our faith is meant to be personal but not private. Our faith journey is one that should be a very personal and deep connection to God in Jesus – but it must not be private and kept to ourselves. Oh, the world will tell you otherwise. As they take God out of schools and possibly out of pledges and remove him from money they will declare that faith is private. But, brothers and sisters in Christ, let it never be so in our minds. The enemy would love to see our faith hidden behind closed doors. We must not let that happen.
Well, so much for being brief.
Holy high five to you, Mike.