Tag Archives: speaking
The Lord has been teaching me quite a bit lately, particularly in regards as to what it means to live for Christ in more than just a Sunday Wednesday kind of faith. I am being blessed with what I believe are some insightful questions that will hopefully shake the norm of youth ministry. I know that we too often don’t like to focus on the fact that we are in a battle, a spiritual battle that is raging in not just our students families, or schools but in their churches. In our churches. As youth pastors/workers we are constantly sending young and men and women out into that world and my first question is have we equipped them to take the land? Do they realize that they are at war? Do they know there is more to our faith than church attendance? Has God really changed their lives through His gift of salvation or did they merely walk an aisle and pray a prayer then continue life as normal? If not where did we miss it? And perhaps more importantly how do we fix it? I am committed to finding answers to these and questions and others that we’d rather not face and I think it starts here.
“1 The Lord said to Moses,2 “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.” – Numbers 13:1,2
So God grants the peoples request and has them send a cross section of His nation, into the land “which I am giving to the Israelites.”It is important for us to realize that God has given them this land regardless of their forty day espionage and at the end of their forty day recon the spies return to report to the people.
“26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land.27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.28 But…” – Numbers 13:26-28
Whoa! Did you catch that? They came back and told Moses and the whole nation “we went into the land… and it does flow with milk and honey!” Basically we saw the land and its exactly like the Lord told us. But… Wait a second, but? but what? Either God is a liar or He’s not! He said that the land was exceedingly good, and it was! Let’s step back and look at this rationally, God told them the land is good, and it was. Therefore we can be assured that God is not lying. Being assured that God is not lying we can therefore trust the rest of what he says which is that He is giving us the land. Which should cause us to draw the conclusion that the land is ours, therefore all we have to do is take it.
I believe that many of us and our churches are at the point of this decision in our own lives. Do we take the land or do we doubt God and retreat to the wilderness? Over the remainder of this year I am committed to walking down the avenue that will alert us to what that means in our own lives and the lives of our ministries.
I often find myself in awe of great pastors that we find in the main stream media Christian media; Steven Furtick, David Platt, and Francis Chan to name a few. As a communicator I often stop and wonder, aside from just God wants them to be his messengers, what it is that makes them them and me well me. I’ve even asked the question to my pastor and several others and their replies, while varying slightly, were simply opportunity. These men were in the right place at the right time and God used them. It sounded good to me, made complete sense, and as I found out is true, well partly true. I watched David Platt’s message “Outside the Camp” to the SBC in 2009
and like fifteen seconds into it I realized why he’s the man. Sure he was blessed with an opportunity, but if he wasn’t who he is the opportunity would have meant nothing. The truth is David Platt & the lot of “great” pastors/speakers are who they are for the same reason that Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world.
Tiger Woods is awesome at golf for several reasons. First he has a passion for the game. I read in a magazine today that he just purchased a huge new “pad” complete with a four hole putting green in it. He genuinely still enjoys golf, even to the point where its fun enough to do even in his down time. He hasn’t let the fact that golf is his profession strip the joy and love for his sport away. In the same way David Platt (and these other men) have a passion for God and His word. Their role as pastor has not diminished the hunger for the presence of God’s word in their lives.
Tiger Woods Daddy had introduced him to golf before the age of two, and he’s been working on shaping his craft and skills, his knowledge and his understanding of the game. He like Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis and other great athletes constantly strive to improve. They continue to spend time practicing so they may deliver to the best of their ability. In those first fifteen seconds I watched David Platt passionately recite scripture from memory, there stood a young man who had clearly spent many many hours in the Word. Studying God’s divine book was obviously something that he did on a very regular basis, with great intensity and discipline. His commitment to take the call of God’s messenger very seriously was evident and he delivered God’s message with the type of confidence that comes when you’re completely confident of the results of your efforts in study.
The application for me today is a humbling one, and my friend summed it up best when he said regarding Tiger, Peyton and Dr. Platt, “it’s there obsession.” They are obsessed with the Lord and His Word, and in light of that thought all I can do is repent.
That’s been my teaching philosophy for the past 7 years. I was in my office frantically trying to figure out what message I was going to share that would highlight my creativity and provoke an emotional response from a student one Wednesday afternoon, you know an hour or two before the service kicked off, and I had an encounter with God. He basically told me, “Matt quit trying to push your stories of my Son and teach His.” I am happy to report that I shifted, and as a result God began changing lives. First of all know that its not our responsibility to convert someone, just to share with someone. I started in the book of John cause its my favorite gospel, now I feel like I should pause here and let you know that our weekly Wednesday night service is our seeker/evangelistic service so its purpose is to lead teens into a realtionship with Jesus, and I went at it verse by verse story by story and I told those students all about the life of Jesus. And it worked!!! We saw the number of students who were coming to Jesus increase to nearly eight times what it had been the previous year. Jesus tells us “that when I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto myself.” Let me tell you if you will make it all about Him (whether you walk through the gospel or not), He will deliver. I mean thats why Jesus came in the first place was to change lives. So my strategy let Him. Takes the pressure off, I seriously recommend it.