Saturday, March 10, 2007

Pride: In the Name of Love

Pride: In the Name of Love

I was thinking about “revivals”. You know those good ole fashioned “evangelist” comes to town in a tent and preaches on hell and damnation… we all get emotional and hope the person we brought is listening (as we are too often too afraid to actually engage that person ourselves so we use a hired gun)… or that we wished we had brought someone to hear this man and feel guilty for not doin it. We hoot and amen and have a good ole time… but then after he takes his “love offering” he goes out jumps in the Winnebago he came in and scoots off to another town… and….

Nothing else happens…

Oh there is a buzz in the air for a short while… but if you are lucky the person that did go forward (not the ones who always go forward for every little thing) might even start coming once in a while… and that is great.

I saw these “great” prophets/teachers/evangelist/authors/whatever come to town and everyone raves on their ministry… oh people got healed… or thousands went forward and got saved… yet if that is so, why has nothing really changed in our fair city?

I mean if these thousands went forward and received Jesus then there should be a BIG difference I your town right? But, most often than not… we see no change…

So, I remember passing out tracts, I loved the Jack Chick one’s as they had those cartoons. I bought hundreds of them and passed them out here and there… and not one person came to Jesus…

I witnessed on the street. Mostly to JW’s who would be rude to me as I showed them through scripture Jesus was not an “angel” but held the same title as God… both claimed to be the Alpha and Omega… I was great in my presentation for I learned from the master Walter Martin… you know the Bible answer man… I could not afford Kingdom of the Cults but I would go to the Library or bible book store and read it there for hours… I listened to every show I could catch of the “bible answer man”. It was hard as many places I lived did to even broadcast him… but I took notes as I did…and when I did.

Yet, again with all my witnessing I did not see “fruit”. I was busy but not bearing fruit… so I took on a rigorous self discipline schedule… I fasted and prayed and kept a journal… I prayed and kept myself separate and holy… (Notice how I phrased that?) And with all this added work… nothing happened… I began to wonder if I was not saved… or that God hated me… or worse… God was a liar.

My heart was angry and hurt… all I did for God and nothing.

I was Elijah in the cave… “I am the only one”…. And instead of God reassuring me that there were others… There was no answer.

I taught and read and prayed and did all I could… until I heard on the radio a man speaking of the Grace of God… and I hated him… I wanted to show him how wrong he was about all his fluffy gospel… he taught eternal security and twisted scripture all over the place to fit his view… but something began to happen… Like the story of the Grinch…my heart began to grow as I listened…. And joy would appear… but I would stuff it down with hate and anger… for God was a wrathful God and if you did not keep yourself pure He would have no qualms in casting you into Hell… He hated sin…. Yet I knew instinctively that God also loved the sinner… and desired him to turn… and little thinks like “it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance” drove me nuts! I began an earnest study about Grace and eternal security… I read the man’s book… and it made sense… but it was not the Bible… so I read Galatians, and other books… but the one I knew backed me up the most was Hebrews. So I read it… and carefully kept each thought and chapter in context… and found Grace…

I was shocked! How could this be? I prayed and asked God to help me to understand what was happening… for if I accepted this as truth, then I lost everything… my position at church… face with the people around me and what few friends I had? what about my wife? Would she understand? I was the “spiritual leader” in our house… and how could I switch in mid stream my belief system?

I then heard a voice… which personally I hate it when people say that… but I did… and a question was set in my heart as if someone was standing in the room with me…A sheep knows his Sheppard’s voice… and sometimes I get these penetrating questions…

I feel like Peter, “Who do you say I am, Peter?” asked Jesus.

The voice asked… “What is keeping you from accepting what you have just learned?”

I answered… in one word… as if I had no choice… “Pride.”

That was a true revival... it has lasted for over 15 years inside of me... exchanging pride for the Name of Love...

The Truth shall set you free.


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