Many of you may remember the movie “Jerry Maquire” starring Tom Cruise. In the beginning of the movie Tom’s character “Jerry” has what I would call an epiphany and from that he writes about his realizations and feelings which lead him to the demise of his career as he knew it. It was the result of his courage to write about the truth. The consequences? Bitter-sweet. To some he was respected for speaking the truth and yet others wanted no part of it.
Of course this particular story is fiction, but in real life the same is often true. When one begins to speak the truth in any setting, there will be those who receive and those who oppose.
Let’s take a look at Jesus life during his ministry. When you read his teachings and his interaction with people he always spoke the truth. For the most part His words were very well received. In fact those who chose to listen and believe, their lives were transformed: miraculously and eternally. But the religious people of his day wanted nothing to do with him, so much so their hatred toward Jesus led them to his crucifixion.
Today, our generation is no different for those who choose to stand on the front lines of life and speak what they believe is the truth. Our boldness attracts the cheerleaders and the naysayers, and there is no way around it. This reminds me of the parable Jesus taught regarding the wheat and weeds (tares) growing together: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’” Mathew 13:24-29.
Nearly 14 years ago the Lord spoke to my husband urging him to open his Bible to Mathew 25, specifically verses 31-46. When he did, Jesus said to him, “This is not a story, this is not a parable, this will happen one day.” To date, we have not strayed from the truths Jesus revealed to my husband and ultimately to our entire family. As founders and pastors of the first church in the history of our town we have done our best to not only teach these truths but encourage and equip others to do the same: To obey His command to love our neighbor with action.
For many years I thought, “Are we the only followers of Jesus that understand these truths?” I later found that we are not alone. The following is an excerpt from an increasing famous author that to me depicts the condition of the “church” today, and the direction Jesus desires to take his followers; to finish His Kingdom mission. It is a truth that some will grasp and sadly others will ignore:
The first disciples had fought the good fight, run the good race and passed the baton to the next generation and that generation to the next. Two thousand years later we now hold the baton. But the passion and vision seem to have faded. In large swaths of the church, the fire has died down…it should be disturbing to us that somehow this central mission of Christ, this compelling vision of God’s Kingdom breaking through…this call to discipleship has become tamed, domesticated, and polite. In the 21st century the revolution has dissipated because we have deserted the front lines and retreated to the safety of our careers, our families, and our one hour Sunday services. What if Peter and Andrew returned to their fishing? Mathew to his tax collecting, Paul to his prestigious role as a Pharisee? Many of our churches are no longer the boot camps established to equip us for battle; they’re spiritual spas designed to enhance our well-being and give us a glow at the beginning of the week. We sing a few songs… And listen to a pleasant homily. The call of Jesus to lay down our lives…seldom echoes from our pulpits. We as followers of Jesus have failed to do the one thing He’s commanded us to do…to obey Christ’s commands to live radically different lives, to build and establish the kingdom of God, to make disciples of all nations and to demonstrate His love to a hurting world…Christ did not call us to retreat from the world’s pain, but to enter it. He called us to go. The 21st century church has everything required to finish the job…but the great mission given to us by Christ lies unfinished. It is time to launch. By Richard Stearns – Author of the book “Unfinished” and President of World Vision U.S. and Author of the National Bestseller, ” The Hole in our Gospel.
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