Wednesday, November 18, 2009

We Expect Too Little

I have been reading Max Lucado’s No Wonder They Call Him The Savior as part of my devotional reading in the morning. Max Lucado is not a scholar, but he does a very good job at pointing people to Christ Jesus. What I read this morning got me thinking. This is what he wrote:
We make the same mistake that Thomas made: we forget that “impossible” is one of God’s favorite words.

How about you? When was the las time you let some of your dreams elbow our your logic? When was the last time you imagined the unimaginable? When was the last time you dared to dream of the day when every mouth will be fed and every nation dwell in peace? When was the last time you dreamed about every creature on earth hearing about the Messiah? Has it been awhile since you claimed God’s promise to do “more than all we ask or imagine?” (p. 99)



My dreams tend to be “realistic”. I have shared before about the condition of the church family I work with, that our numbers are dwindling and there is nothing about us that would attract people to attend. My dream for this congregation is that God would send one or two families willing to do the hard work of ministry, but perhaps I should be dreaming and praying for something grander.

I know of church families that have partnered with church families in Africa to bring the gospel, food, and medicine to the dirty slums there. Why shouldn’t I pray that God would enable this church family to have a similar impact?

I know of church families that have their own free medical clinics. That is something which is truly needed, and so perhaps I should pray that God make it possible for us to minister to the hurt and sick.

Here is my point: I think too many of us have a small vision of God and His Kingdom. We are satisfied if God increases the attendance at church, and so that is where all our focus is at and we miss out on the masses of hurt and lonely people that are in the world.

The gospel is more than that our sins are forgiven and we get to go to heaven when we die. It includes that to be sure, but the Gospel also includes the Good News that God’s Kingdom is breaking into this world. The Gospel is the proclamation that Jesus Christ in Lord, and the days of Satan, sin, and death are numbered. The Gospel is the call to people of faith to pray for and work towards the day when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. The Gospel contains both salvation and mission; hope and purpose.

Instead of focusing on “realistic” things like growing our church attendances, I think we need to start thinking and praying about how we can bring the whole Gospel to the communities that we live in.

Max Lucado mentioned quotes part of Ephesians 3:20. This is what the apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:20-21; Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen (ESV).

We are not going to out think or out imagine God. He has the power to accomplish our greatest hopes, and so maybe it is time for us to unleash those hopes. Let us dreams great dreams about ushering God’s Kingdom into the lives of people, and than ask God to help us make it happen.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of the several churches that I have attended and served with, the one of which I am a member has come the closest to "letting it all hang out." The reason so many churches die is because the leadership is stale, self-serving and does not trust God. Having worked with a church in similar circumstances you have a choice, continuing to minister to the faithful, which there are some, or to leave them to their logical conclusion and find another ministry with dynamic leadership.

I also wonder if we do the faithful a service by allowing the church to go on as is--wouldn't that be disspiriting? Perhaps they can find more of the Spirit of God in some other churches in the community than one of our own that has failed leadership.

Blessings to you ministry,
--Husker Red

Neill said...

Paul,

Our church was much like your state when I first came here. Then we opened up a food bank (and partnered with 2nd Harvest and the USDA), and our church has been growing ever since. The funny thing is that even since this time of opening the food bank, we've run into other problems based on small dreaming. The only thing to do is lean on the Lord.

Our Identity

{Philippians 1:1-2; NLT}   This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God's holy people i...