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We are so excited to be serving in Malawi. We invite you to take this journey with us. Keep the beautiful people of Malawi in your prayers, and us too.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I just typed this out with one hand in a cast so I promise you it's worth your time to read...you won't regret it :)

I read this today in the book Radical Together and God really spoke to me through it. Enjoy....you should buy the book.

Losing Our Lives Or Sipping Our Lattes?

"I spent my first few months as a pastor in a steep learning curve. Because I had never pastored before, I devoured books on how to determine and communicate a vision for where a church is going. In order to lead your church anywhere, these books told me, you need a preferred future, a visual destination, for which you are working. Pastors I respect declared, “Decide how big you want your church to be, and go for it, whether that’s five, ten, or twenty thousand members. Envision what you church campus (or multiple campuses) will look like five, ten, or twenty years from now, and start working toward it. Dream about how your worship services can become more innovative. All of this is important, so consider hiring a creative consultant to help you craft your vision. After all, Proverbs 29:18 says that where there is no vision, the people will perish.

At first it seemed to make sense. But over time I found myself getting nauseated by all the vision talk. Setting and reaching goals is important, of course. But were my sights really supposed to be set on bringing a large crowd together in a cool environment where they could hear terrific music, see killer graphics, and then listen to me talk live or via video or maybe even via hologram (if only I had a really innovative vision)? If this was to be the vision of my life and ministry, I decided, then I should perish.

So I sat down with members in our church, and together we asked, “What is our vision? What do we want to see? Where do we want to fasten our attention in the days to come? What do we want to work toward with all our hearts?”

As we prayed together, the answer became obvious. The only possible vision for the church of Jesus Christ is to make known the glory of God in all nations. This preferred future or visual destination must drive us because this is what drives God. Far more than we want stuff for the church, crowds at the church, or activities in the church, we want to know, love, honor, and praise God. And we want all people to do the same. We want to see God glorified by people everywhere because God wants to see himself glorified by people everywhere.

Vision affects everything. That’s what visions do. If the focus of the church is on having a large crowd in a big place where people can come and feel warm and welcomed, then you and I will plan accordingly. We will prioritize a nice church campus for people to drive to and where they can find a convenient parking space. We’ll give them a latte when they walk in the door, and then we’ll provide state-of-the-art entertainment for their children while treating them to a great show that leaves them feeling good when they drive away in a timely fashion. Variations of this vision engineered for the savvy Christian consumer are multiplied across the landscape of our country today, and they work well. The crowds come, and the vision is realized.

But what happens when our vision changes? What happens when our primary aim is not to make the crowds feel comfortable but to exalt God in all His glory? Suddenly our priorities begin to change. More than you and I want people to be impressed by the stuff we can manufacture, we want them to be amazed by the God they cannot fathom. More than we want to dazzle them with our production, we want to direct them to His praise. And the last thing we want to do is raise up people who are casual in the worship of God as they sit back and enjoy their lattes. Instead, we want to raise up people who are so awed, so captivated, so mesmerized by the glory of God that they will gladly lose their lattes—and their lives—to make His greatness know in the world.

“But what’s so wrong with the lattes?” someone might ask. “Isn’t it good to cater creatively to people who don’t know God? Don’t we want to be sensitive to those who are seeking God?”

Great questions. As you and I think about all the people who are without Christ in our communities, we long to see as many of them as possible come to Christ. Without question, we want to do everything we can to see people saved.

But let me remind you of a startling reality that the Bible makes clear: “There is…no one who seeks God.” So if the church is sensitive to seekers, and if no one is seeking God, then that means the church is sensitive to no one. That’s radical, but probably not the kind of radical we’re looking for.

Instead, Jesus tells us that the Father is pursuing worshippers for His praise. He is the one doing the seeking! He has been seeking sinners for thousands of years, and He is pretty good at it—far better than all the attractions and allurements we can assemble. So since you and I want to see people come to Christ in the church, let’s do everything we can to put the wonders of God’s glory, holiness, wrath, justice, kindness, jealousy, grace, and character on display in His church. Let’s show people the most biblical, holistic, clear, and captivating vision of God that we possibly can and then trust Him to take care of the seeking.

I think about Eric, who came to our church one Sunday at the request of his parents. He was addicted to drugs and had almost lost his life as a result. At the end of himself, he walked into our worship gathering, where we sang songs about God’s greatness and studied Scripture about God’s glory. In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul tells what will happen when an unbeliever comes into a worship gathering of the church: “He will be convinced by all {he is hearing} that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!” Well, Eric had a 1 Corinthians 14 moment that day. As he was captivated by the greatness of God in the church, he began to cry out for the grace of God in his life. Eric was saved from his sins that Sunday, not because he came seeking after God, but because God came seeking after him.

So let’s be radically seeker sensitive in our churches. But let’s make sure we are being sensitive to the right Seeker."

-(Pages 105-109) taken from the book Radical Together by David Platt

Love you guys,

Luke

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing...I'm reading Radical right now and looking forward to this one next.
    -Erin

    ReplyDelete