I’ve always been interested in music and I’ve always found it truly fascinating how musicians can pluck an abstract concept from their psyche and express it through some lyrics with a melody and in less than three minutes say exactly what millions of people are thinking and feeling. I once heard Don Henley of the Eagles remark that the song he was about to perform only took him 15 minutes to write, but that it took him 25yr’s to live. Another interview I heard with a different artist impressed me in a similar way, When he was asked about his musics meteoric rise to popularity he remarked that he resented the label of “Overnight sensation” because it sold short the years and years he had spent working towards his success. All of his patience and persistence, his belief in himself against what seemed to be insurmountable odds, his determination and commitment to see his efforts come to fruition…
“Overnight sensation?” yeah right…
Are you beginning to sense a concept here or starting to get the “big picture”? No? that’s good because I’ve still got a lot more to say and the last thing I want to do is bore anyone.
Our relationship with Jesus may seem like an overnight or “instant” sensation to some people. I’ve heard the expression, “yeah, Billy Bob went and got religion” like it was maybe a terrible disease or perhaps something he might’ve picked up at a convenience store. Even when they witness a glorious infilling of the Holy Spirit or see a sinner who after being so moved by Gods loving kindness and unending forgiveness falls to his knees at an altar in repentance think of it as having mostly to do with the words spoken during the service…but it’s so much more than that!
It is “sensational” to know the Lord, it just doesn’t happen overnight!
I suspect that the Holy Spirit might in some ways feel like the musician did who was asked about his success…
They say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. In the entertainment industry it doesn’t matter if what you’ve done is good or bad, or if it’s right or wrong as long as people are talking about you. Any decent agent/promoter knows that a percentage of those people will like you and patronize your endeavors and that some, no matter what you do, will not. So success is a numbers game, like in sales the old adage is that we throw a sticky substance against the wall… some will stick, some will fall…no salesman can predict that outcome 100% of the time, but God knows who will accept His son and who will not. He knew it before the foundations of the earth were laid,
WOW! talk about your pre-qualified sales leads!
(the very elect of God,those who would choose Him)
The whole impetus for this blog came from something I read about a teen ministry group who were involved in something called “power evangelism”. In the short video that I watched I saw a young man experience a dramatic increase in the mobility of his shoulder and relief of pain after being prayed for. Another group of young girls enthusiastically requested prayer after witnessing it and remarked that they felt “goose bumps” and were visibly moved. The writer was critical of what they were doing for a couple of reasons, primarily because he felt that because none of the teens who were being ministered to in the video were being brought to repentance that the gospel had been “fumbled” or in some way mishandled by them. The writer was also upset that one of the teens had used the term “jacked up” in anticipation of what he was hopeful the Holy Spirit’s effect would be on the group he was about to witness to. The broader subject of the blog was the church’s seeming lack of preparation of young people to be effective ambassadors of Christ which while I might agree with in some respects I’m somewhat at odds with the writers conclusion’s as to the cause or remedy of such. His suggestions of the cause and the cure were one in the same, they included intensive study of something he called “the catechisms”, and scriptural grillings by older members of the church until teens memorize the proper answers and that the lack of these things in our church’s approach constituted poor discipleship training. I want to be fair here, having Gods word stored in your heart is always a good thing…No exception to that, and you can absolutely use the stories in the scriptures to illustrate the everyday relevance of Gods plan for our lives and His great love for us. However you do it, effective evangelism is about touching peoples hearts with the love of Christ! Unfortunately, many people will quickly resist Gods word out of a conditioned reflex but you’ll hardly ever see anyone turn away love that’s offered to them. It’s my strong contention that when it comes to reaching people for Christ nobody cares how much you know until they first know how much you care! And yes, Gods word is our complete instruction manual for this, but as I see it all of those words convey the same wonderful message of love to us, what it is, our need for it, how to receive it, and how to share it with others. Once we get that, the challenge becomes the same as the songwriters, to put it into terms that as many individual’s as possible will receive and be touched by…To be inspired, which is a manifestation of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Our job is to love! love! love! people, to “minister” to them but not to preach at people. Given the scope of the human ego I suppose the temptation to believe that it’s us who’re responsible for changing peoples hearts instead of the Holy Spirit is understandable but it’s His work to deal with peoples hearts…not ours!
Some plant, others nurture, still others work the harvest, but it is God who gives the increase.
I understand that as Christians we are to “test the spirits” and that we’re to be “fruit inspectors” but I guess I consider it to be perhaps above my pay grade to (in the absence of any obvious heresy) be critical of how the Spirit accomplishes His work. Naturally, I have to scratch my head and make a pained expression when I see other people trying to.
I’ve mentioned before that I accepted Christ initially as a nine year old boy. However, I then went on to my discipleship with Satan who had a pretty free rein of influence over my life for about the next thirty years. So it’s personal to me when I feel that people are discounting anything or anyway that the Spirit might be trying to use to save someone from the misery that I was subjected to.
My “Overnight Sensation” did happen in the dark…
But because of Gods patience, His love for me, His perseverance and longsuffering, His sleepless nights watching over me and the hedge of protection He built around me, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I’m unaware of, it was my “Daylight Deliverance” that came from it!
Can you say Praise God?