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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Life of Christ in Me

The change in my faith has truly been a miracle. At one point I believed all the snake oil salesmen preachers who gave lectures on how a church should grow. I admit that I wanted what they had and believed I could have it too if I just did what they did. So, I put my nose to the grindstone and tried it. I think I tried it all. The results didn't work out so well.

I have come to a conclusion that should not surprise any mature believers. God is not so interested in my ministry as He is interested in me. He is not allowing people to go to hell because of me. He has already moved heaven to provide salvation and will not stop because of me.  He is making me a testimony to Himself. I may never see what He has done with me or the lives that were influenced by the ministry I have performed for Him. I am to be His and that alone will require my greatest effort for I must die to myself in order to live the life He has for me. Jesus will never be seen in my flesh.

Thus, I am discovering that I am never truly growing in my faith when all is well with my circumstances. In fact, I am learning that I am never really happy when all of my circumstances are great. It's not that I love adversity. I abhor it. But I also know how it makes me cling to my Savior and allow Him to live in me and through me. This is the time of testimony. This is the time when my faith means something.

I have read that most pastors would follow another profession if they could. I suppose I would do so too. The reason I can't is because I know that God has called me to this. I am realizing that He has also called me to this life of death. I will never be the testimony He wants me to be when I have no testimony of faithfulness when faithfulness makes no sense to the world. Thus, I am knocked down but not knocked out. I am tripped up but I am also helped up. Eventually, His strength is all I have to live on.

Then, it really isn't me who is living if I am living on His strength. He is finally living in me. No, not as I have said when I have proclaimed salvation though this is very much about salvation. He is truly living in me. I stop trying to think for Him and I think through Him. I speak through Him. I am changed through Him. I am empowered through Him.

Will this improve my preaching or my pastoring? I would think so but that does not mean that the results will be different. My church may never grow much. It may always struggle financially. I may never see any significant changes in people's lives while I am on this earth. Who knows; it may be that someone, somehow finds this blog a hundred years from now and is makes a decision to follow Christ even though this faith may mean for them more hardship. It will also be the only true joy they will ever know. Maybe that will start a movement of faithful people who aren't looking for Jesus to give them more money, power or healing.

At this moment I am fully content. My church struggles financially. We have more members than before but only a few of them are showing significant spiritual growth. I have a feeling that Jesus looked out on a crowd one day and saw that they wanted them to feed them food more than they wanted to hear the true message of salvation. Yet, He stayed on course. He finished the mission.

Christ lives in me so that people will be truly changed by Him. Not by me.

2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (ESV) 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.


Anonymous said...

As usual, right on time for me.

Two years ago, my husband and I had to change churches. I was the women's ministry leader which involved speaking at women's events and weekly teaching, among other things. I loved the process of creating the messages and teachings. I loved the results I saw as God moved thru the words He had given me.

The church we moved to is a very nice, loving congregation of believers. And it has a capable women's ministry leader.

At first, I was more than okay with doing the typical service that women do in church. But, lately, I've been missing "the work" to which I have been called. Missing it a lot.

Yesterday, as I mulled over the year, etc, I had a thought. :) (I should have more of those.) That thought was expressed in your post.

What I needed to focus on was becoming more like Christ and letting the evidence of whose I am proclaim God's grace and redemptive power.

You expressed it well. It's a dying to self and submitting to God, letting Him remake me.

With that thought, I started reading Andrew Murray's book on humility. Ha. Yeah. Humility. snicker. I figure I may have to read more than one book.

Happy New Year, Pastor.


Anonymous said...

I thought I should refrain from commenting on this entry, in no position-lah, but I remember a couple of days ago I expressed "how, what to do?" concerning my "little ministry work" to a person I have prayed for, a couple of times in recent months.  Actually, such a person, like many others I ministered to, does look up to me, yet I have talked to her about my "unsure of things".

The divine healing meetings that I conduct once a month, have been with very few people turning up, and the brother who has provided the place for ministry with him having to come for the meetings, has expressed that perhaps I should consider if the meetings should continue. From the meetings, in the slightly more than one year, there have been healings, but no earth-shaking miracles; common that ministees were slain, and there was a salvation. The common lamentation is that sustainability isn't there, and difficult; even the helpers (meeting partners, I called them), one by one, they stopped coming, because of the poor turn-ups!  I was not trying to "do church", all I wanted was to minister to people who would come, not that they must come, meetings after meetings (I don't use the word, "service" for the meeting, although it is complete with praise and worship, message, and lots of ministry-time). 

The person I shared with, posed this question to me, "Do you want to continue despite the poor attendance?" The answer is "yes", although I am thinking I do not want to be imposing on the brother who has been kind and faithful enough to stay by me, for more than one year, using his Company premise.

 The person then encouraged, saying, what is more important is our FAITHFULNESS despite incredible result may be lacking; it was not that there was no fruit at all.  She reminded that there is a scripture text that says, "...good and FAITHFUL servant. You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!"

The scripture was quoted from Matt 25; and when we look that Parable of the talents, we could see that the master's words for both the servants, the one with 5 talents, and the one with 2 talents were the same. Meaning? Meaning there may not be necessarily a difference in the Lord's words to us, when it is a small church rather than a mega-church, a small meeting rather than a huge meeting. Faithfulness counts, doing what we are assigned, counts, and be overcoming, counts.

My long distance friend, Ps Prentis, you are NOT without fruit. Take heart, your faithfulness the Lord notes. Heb 6:10 - "God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them."

Anthony Chia, high.expressions