Last night I had a couple brothers from my faith family over to eat some pizza and watch some preaching. Pizza and preaching, what a fantastic combination! As I sat in my living room watching the simulcast with these men of God I was struck by how counter cultural the whole situation was. Here were three dudes all spending their Friday night sitting next to one another on the same couch staring at a computer screen listening to preaching from the Word of God. It was a much deeper moving and spiritually motivating way to spend the night than most of the other ways I have used my time.
The two men preaching talked about being connected to the vine and the importance of looking and listening for the work of God in the world, and then joining in with that work. I was encouraged by this because my tendency is to try and do God's work on my own strength instead of following his guidance. The beauty of looking and listening for God is that it puts all the success or failure on Jesus and not me. I am no better or worse when I share the Gospel. I am simply a submitted follower of Jesus, trusting in the power of the simple Gospel and power of the Holy Spirit living in me. This is a liberating and life giving truth!
Apart from the vine I can bear no fruit, but joined to the vine I am able to do great things, things immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine. When I try to be fancy and doctor up the Gospel to make it more appealing to men, what I am really doing is emptying the cross of its power and exposing my own disbelief in the power of the Gospel, which itself alone is the good news that brings salvation to all men.
Thank you Jesus for men who will challenge me to live, and move, and have my being in you alone. Help my disbelief Jesus so that all I say and do will be a response of faith to the great strength of your Spirit who is at work within me. Grant me courage to speak the truth and faith to know that your Spirit will quicken, or deafen, the ears of those who listen to me.