Monday, September 22, 2008

"Yes, Jesus is My Savior, but. . .: Why worshipping ‘God’ makes all the difference - Part I

“Houston, we have a problem.” No, I’m not going to write about our space program. The next three days I want to write about a theme that I need to keep in the forefront of my own life. I’ll need your patience because I’ll develop it slowly. I hope you stay with me and come back all three days. First, I want to start with a most joyful event in most people’s life: engagement. Do you remember when you got engaged? Do you remember the details of the occasion? I do. I proposed to my wife while walking through the beautiful courtyard of the Don Shula hotel and restaurant in Miami Lakes (a city in South Florida). It was an unforgettable evening for which I had meticulously planned for a long time. You too probably remember your engagement.

What does this have to do with sharing the gospel? Well, consider these questions: Why don’t more Christians share their faith in Christ with others? Why does it seem as if those who profess Christ are not living worthy of their call as followers of Jesus? Do we really understand what our highest calling is? In the following days I want to consider one important reason for which many Christians do not live their lives yielded to God and why often sharing Christ is more a duty or an obligation than a joy.

Back to my engagement illustration. I think that we can find many correlations between a love relationship between two people and our commitment and love for God. Take for example when you realized that God loved you so much that he paid the ultimate sacrifice for your salvation. Do you remember when you felt your eyes opening to the reality of God in your life? All of a sudden there was a deep love that filled your heart for him. Something great had happened. Engagement is the step that shows that two people are serious enough about their relationship that they plan to spend the rest of their lives together. The wedding ceremony is finally the last symbolic event in which the couple promises their love for each other before God and people as their witness.

Now, if you are married you know that the high levels of emotional euphoria are at best inconsistent throughout the years of marriage. They are replaced by a settled commitment to one another which with God’s help and our resolve to make the relationship work, the marriage continues to grow and be strengthened. Yet, for other couples, their experience is nothing like this. In a similar way, for many believers their fellowship with the Lord wanes, and slowly the intensity and desire to share his love with others dies down. This shouldn't’t be, but often this is the case. Living for God and sharing the good news of Christ seems to fizzle down. Why? What has changed?

Could it be that we begin to focus on the activities of faith instead of God? Could this be the reason why it becomes burdensome to live for God? Why do many believers seem to live selfish lives and forfeit the joy of living and serving God? Why is having fellowship and congregating with other believers often looked at like a chore? Look around. Start with your life. Sadly, the lives of many Christians become like a lot of folks who are married and who slowly begin taking their spouses for granted? The passion, enjoyment and awe of marriage have subsided.

In this series of blogspots I want to share with you some of the thoughts of well known pastor and theologian, John Piper. Years ago he wrote a book entitled, Let the Nations be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions. Here’s one of his opening thoughts from the book, but I have to caution you. Piper is a deep thinker. This is what he says: “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. . . . Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal in missions” (11). For Piper being involved in missions or sharing the good news of Christ becomes confused when we begin to think about the process (missions or evangelism) as the goal instead of focusing our attention on the ultimate object (God) as the true purpose of all of life.

Tomorrow we will begin to think through how settling the most important issue in life will give clarity to our highest calling. As we understand this better it will provide the motivation for us to live life missionally and share Christ with others more often.
Por Su Gracia y Poder (Continued on Tuesday)
(By His Grace and Power)

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