Preparing for a Miracle

One of the first teaching moments for me, after becoming a follower of Jesus, was a chapel service at Taylor University. The speaker that day was Dr. Tony Evans. I can’t remember a single thing he said, but a lady sang a song that has stuck with me. In the song there was a line, “because little becomes much when you place it in the Master’s hands.”

As we walk through Holy Week (the celebration of the last week of Jesus’ life on earth), we are drawn to the single most important reality for a Christian – The Resurrection of Jesus. I know the cross is central to our salvation and the understanding of the nature and character of God and the Gospel. Paul exhorts us to preach Christ and Him crucified (see 1 Corinthians 1:23). For all of us, eternity rests on the Cross and the Resurrection of Christ.

As Paul said, “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection…and to participate in His sufferings” (see Philippians 3:10). He also said that if Christ has not raised from the dead our faith is useless” (see 1 Corinthians 15:14). The resurrection is the single most important miracle in history.

For all of us, eternity rests on the Cross and Resurrection of Christ.

This past week, I woke up with a thought on my mind: The Seduction of Me – The Power of We. As I mediated on what that might mean. I was drawn to the reality that for so many the Christian religion has become a “Me Faith.” Another popular description is Consumer Christianity. Religion at its best seeks to bring human relief and comfort to those who are suffering in the name of God. At its worst religion is about power and control and unfortunately it is done in the name of God as well.

Jesus didn’t come to establish the Christian Religion. He came to establish His Kingdom. He told the Roman Governor that His kingdom is not of this world. The kingdom of God is the reign of Christ, not the “Church.” The Kingdom has a church. That is, it has a community of those who have been sent to fulfill Jesus’ kingdom mission. It is not about us but about God. His love and His will to redeem that which has been broken by sin, to restore His relationship with the human race, and to reign over His kingdom to provide for and protect His people.

People grapple with the tough questions of life. One of the reasons they struggle is because they have bought into Consumer Christianity. And it may not be their fault. The Christian Religion has been teaching us to look at life from a “Me” perspective for some time.

The Seduction of Me is the enemy’s scheme to shift the focus from God’s mission to play into the hands of my sinful nature. The old nature is what separates us from God to begin with. Its appetite is ravenous. It does not want to let go. It has one concern, me. Jesus said to crucify it.

The Christian Religion has been teaching us to look at life from a “Me” perspective for some time. 

The Gospel of Consumer Christianity has been reduced to “believe in Jesus and you will go to heaven.” The problem: we have abandoned the Gospel Jesus preached. The church has rewritten the Gospel from Paul’s letters. I am not saying Paul was wrong. I am saying that Paul was writing to correct errors in the church not correct Jesus’ Gospel. Let me say, I believe we are saved by grace through faith. I know I cannot earn my salvation. And I have assurance of my eternity. My sins are forgiven!

Jesus’ Gospel embraces so much more. It is about exchanging our citizenship now not when we die. It is about entering the Kingdom and experiencing the provision and protection of God’s will. Adam and Eve forfeited all of this when they sinned and were kicked out of the Garden. Jesus’ Gospel is about exchanging the chaos of living by my own leadership to live in the peace of His leadership of my life.

The Seduction of Me is the lie it is about me. That I am able to lead myself effectively through the human experience. That I am good without God. That I am to pursue my needs on my own as best I can. In addition, Consumer Christianity says that God is there to give me what I want.

Jesus’ Gospel says, in the Kingdom of God, He meets all my needs. Jesus’ Gospel says I have an interactive relationship with God – it takes effort on my part. Jesus’ Gospel says God produces the fruit of the Spirit in me and He develops me to fulfill His mission (“I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).

The Power of We could be the Principle of One. Jesus taught that unity is a priority value of His Kingdom. There are three persons in the Godhead and they are One. When a man and a woman are married, the two become One. Jesus prayed for the unity of His church. It should not surprise us the enemy seeks to pollute the Principle of One. He fights against a belief in the living God, through atheism, agnosticism and polytheism. When he finds a people who have faith in God, he disrupts the unity of the church and/or maligns God’s character with lies.

But as I considered the idea, I concluded while the Principle of One is certainly part of, it is not the complete idea. What I discovered is that the Power of We is participation with God to usher in His Kingdom. The Power of We is a partnership with God to join Him in His mission where we are planted and where we are called.

Jesus’ Gospel is about exchanging the chaos of living by my own leadership to experience the peace of living with His leadership of my life. 

When I titled this post “Preparing for a Miracle,” many were probably drawn to the idea that there is a process to see God do a miracle for us. Now maybe you didn’t actually think that, but you probably thought “How do I get a miracle?” Okay, I don’t say that to shame you, I may have been thinking the same. Let me share where God led me as I studied.

Please take the time to read Mark 6:34-43. Seriously, go read it. This is an account of one of Jesus’ most famous miracles, the feeding of the 5,000. Then come back to my post.

I assume you have read it. Let’s go on…

Looking at this passage as if we are Jesus’ disciples, we notice three things:

  1. God wants to grow my faith. Jesus told the disciples, “You feed them!” Like the disciples I may not want to be responsible for others. I may procrastinate on dealing with a growing problem in our community. I may worry about what it’s going to cost me to get involved. And worst of all I may forget that Jesus is here.  Has God ever asked you to do something you thought was impossible? Why would He do that? He wants to grow our faith and demonstrate His faithfulness and power. Now, listen Jesus never did a miracle to show off. Think how many times after healing someone He would say, “Don’t tell anyone.” Jesus was humble. But He wants to teach us that He is faithful and capable.
  2. Little becomes much. When I give God what I have, I can always expect Him to multiply it. Rick Warren says two things I think are important here: 1). God always starts with what I have; and 2). God always knows the answer before I even know there is a problem. We are God’s workmanship prepared for good works. That preparation includes His provision of what we will need to partner with Him to see Him fulfill His mission in someone’s life. Be sure to give willingly, sacrificially, and immediately.
  3. Trust Jesus. Another Kingdom principle is “you reap what you sow.” You sow generosity and you will reap generosity. When you give to God, not only can you expect Him to multiply it, but that there will be a return as well. There where twelve basketfuls of leftovers. This is the stuff God Stories are made of. It isn’t what God gave you, but what God did with what you gave Him. And then how in His grace and generosity, you were blessed too.

If you are looking for the one idea, here it is God wants to do a miracle in someone’s life through you. He desires to include you when He is loving on someone else. What a privilege! Don’t get caught in the trap of The Seduction of Me. Let God include you in The Power of We. 🎤 Because little becomes much when you put it in the Master’s hands. 🎤

 

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