Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Alpha at Corinth

A funny old game sometimes evangelism, often times when i go into an alpha setting i feel ready and confident. Sometimes, sinfully because of me, sometimes genuinely because i have confidence in the Lord. Sometimes, however, it's a bit different. Today for example at Verizon, i don't think i've ever felt worse. Sick to my stomach with nerves as the hour to proclaim the Gospel approached, by heart aflame with despair as one by one people filed in. The Muslim convert, the people searching, the people treating the Gospel as just another way, the people just looking for something to do on their lunch hour.

I'm so thankful that we've got a weapon, a sword to wield to our own hearts in this situation, so thankful that the Lord reminded me of two great passages to douse the flames and calm my heart.

Not Wisdom. God's power.

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

I love these verese, they are exhilerating. It feels good, it feels right, at the moment that salvation is not about wise sounding arguments, but rather about God's power. The Gospel needs to be proclaimed, fully, reasonably, gently, and then God's power is at work. Sometimes it'll feel like we're retreating, like we're on the back foot, like it did today at the end of Alpha, but i guess thats what Christ looked like on the cross. These verese thrill my heart, and fill me with evangelistic confidence. if it was up to my skills, no one would be saved, but praise God, it's not.

Not persuasion, God's light.

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

I really need to remember these verses are true! I need to cling to the command, the logic, that since this ministry comes from God's mercy, to not lose heart. I need to not get frustrated when a Christian gives one of the clearest presentations of the Gospel ever, and someone can still turn around and say 'i don't understand'. I need to cling to the truth that all we need to do is proclaim, to preach, the present, and God, who created the universe will shine light in hearts. Again, evangelism liberation. Again, freedom from feelings of fear and inadequacy. Again, God gets all the glory and i get none. Yes! Thats how it should be. Preach the Gospel, realkly present it clearly, and pray. Thats all we can do.

I'm so thankful for a sword.

1 comment:

Tom said...

"Not Wisdom. God's power."

Sorry, Ed I think you've misinterpreted 1 Cor 1.

It is wisdom, God's wisdom. Look at verse 24. The message of the cross IS the power and wisdom of God to those who are neither seduced by Jewish or Greek false "wisdom".

Q: Who are those people, who will see the message of the cross as a revelation of God's wisdom and power?

A: Those who are not seduced by Greek and Jewish perceived "wisdom", but who respond to the message of the cross. So, they are us, Christians. And we should be able to see the wisdom and power of the cross.

So, no need to retreat into anything that sounds like gnosticism or anti-intellectualism.

Good post though. Alpha is a great tool.