Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Passion For The Lost: An Open Letter

This was going to start very different.  I would have started this with an anecdote that was funny (and you wouldn't have laughed because it wasn't that funny), or a cultural reference about some television show or sporting event.  Instead I post this as an open letter.

Brother,

I have known you in some way shape or form since you were seven.  I was around you in those years as a leader even when you were in youth group and I would fix pizza bites, tacos (we still laugh about you eating eight in one shot), or other foods.  I remember that the perfect mix of pizza and laser tag when added to heat and humidity and multiplied by soda will make you sick.  I was the leader, but I had a lot more to learn.

I moved away and after a couple of years I was forced to going to church on Saturday for a special service.  See I lost my job and I would have been gone that weekend because of the work I did, but when I thought that I was getting the shaft because of losing my job, God was working.  People that I don't know to this day underwrote the entire service that Saturday.  They thought they were doing this in order to raise up an army within the Church, what they didn't know is that they were going to make sure the "fat kid" got a one-way ticket out of hell and into a life he NEVER expected.

I stayed out of church for a good period of time.  I didn't feel like I got burned by the church, I felt like I got slow-roasted.  I watched people close to me get denied the opportunity to serve and I watched leaders who once had passion begin to turn to their traditions just as they were getting close to what the Spirit had shown them.  It wasn't until much later that I would see that begin in me and I had no desire to stay where I was.  Now hear me.  I don't think I am or was better than these men.  I was given the fast lane in instruction while they, who are still light years in front of me, are happy leaving on the blinker in the slow lane.  Don't get me wrong sometimes we need the slow lane, but that is not the place to stay.

Once I became a Christian God began showing me the darkness inside of those who didn't know God.  I began to grow confused as I sat in a great church, with great music, tons of programs, and incredible teaching only to see people have no reaction to the things they were being taught.  At once the darkness of the people in that church was shown to me.  We left service early that day (sometime between tithing and "Just As I Am.").  I could not handle what I felt.

This is when I absolutely changed.  Once I became a Christian I was passionate about reaching those who didn't know God, but when that happened God spoke in my spirit, "See how I feel?"  Make no mistake our churches, as much as we want to believe it is filled with "God's Army" are weak.  Remember the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:1-23.  There are four soils that represent four people, and you are the sower.  Your job is to sow the seed.  Three of those groups will not take it to heart, but one will and that one will change the world.  How many of us are actually sowing though?  How many of us know how?

It is amazing that Jesus just before he leaves this world says (NESV - New Eric Standard Version) in Acts 1:7-8...Before I jet remember this, Go Everywhere, Tell Everyone, Do It Now!  So we can have big faith to call out money for buildings and provision for sustenance.  We have huge faith to speak words of healing and to agree with the vision of the house we are apart of, but when we go to tell someone about Jesus we are petrified that we will get it wrong and summarily send someone to hell.   Does that makes sense?  Not to me.  I think that we are looking for cheap excuses.

Remember back to the parable of the sower how many places the seed was getting spread to?  Now how many of those non believers do you think have infiltrated our churches.  A church as forward-thinking and spirit led as is our church still has several people that are active in the church but they are as lost as they can be.  Lets not fool ourselves.  This is a way Satan gains footholds into our churches.  As much as I care for you, you would have been better off not having me around as a leader in those formative years.  So here is where the rubber really meats the road.

We should have passion for the lost because:
1.  God does.  He did to such an extent that He came to earth.  Left behind His comforts and suffered a death without dignity.  So, yeah, He really cares about the lost.
2.  We are helping people avert certain doom.  If someone was going to get in a car to drive and they were drunk and without brakes, I would physically restrain them from driving because I know that they are going to kill themselves and/or someone else.  I refuse to send people to their death (even though it is their fault) without a fight.
3.  It is easier to fight when you have an army.  The more of us that are actively sharing our faith will bring about additional believers.  This will continue to replicate.

These are three of my big reasons in order without saying God said so.

When you get passionate find others who are too.  Early on I would get frustrated because others didn't share my passion.  I would hear the lazy tell me how busy their week was.  I would be told by the unwilling that this isn't how you do it.  The "holy" would tell me it wasn't their spiritual gift (show me in the Bible where sharing your faith is a spiritual gift).  I got angry because of the cowardice I saw by those who claimed they had "Big Faith."  This effected how I ministered.  It bred an attitude of  "I will save the entire damn world if you won't help, then I will show you."  Probably not what God was looking for either.

The fact that you are asking God to give you that passion is BEYOND encouraging.  The fact that you are asking shows that your spirit has the passion and you just have a slight disconnect when it gets to the brain.  You will have this passion soon, and there will always be one person you can talk to that understands that passion.  When we talk it will no longer be as a learner and a leader, but it will be as contemporaries that are ready to change the world.

Your Brother,

Eric

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