Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Can We Be Reached?

Those of us who are in full time ministry have been called of God to reach the world in a variety of different ways. Although the ways are vastly different, the cause is the same. That all should come into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives. That all may walk in freedom over sin and bondage of the past. This is our mission. "GO into all the world and tell the good news!"O

The question in twenty first century America is not so much whether or not the lost and huring can be reached, but rather.."Can WE, who have been called of God himself be reached?"

I was in a conference several years ago with Peter J. Daniels as he spoke to a group of over 400 pastors from around the U.S. He told of leaving his home in Australia to speak in the U.S. for a two week series of engagements and leaving a task for his personal assistant to perform. The task was simple. Mr. Daniels had written a check for $250,000 dollars and signed his name at the bottom. The only thing missing from the check was the name of the payee.

Mr. Daniels handed his assistant a list of 200 American churches of various Protestant denominations. Some were small, some medium and some fell in the category of the mega chruch. He told his assistant to begin calling the list while he was away. He then said, "The very first Pastor you actually get to speak to on the phone..tell him you're calling on behalf of Peter J. Daniels in Australia and fill in the Pastor's church name to receive the $250,000.

The asistant, looking perplexed, told Mr Daniels he would be finished with the tast before he ever boarded his plane for the U.S. To which Peter responded, "Don't be so sure."

Upon returning from his two week speaking engagement, Mr. Daniels found his assistant frustrated, and in a state of disbelief at his inability to deliver the funds. The reason? Not one of the churches contacted produced a person to person phone conversation with the Pastor of a church. The assistant explained that he talked to secretaries, assistants, minions, and answering machines. However, not one Pastor answered the phone or returned a phone call.

The assistant confessed that he had actually cheated toward the end and explained to some of the churches that he represented Peter J. Daniels, an Australian billionaire, and simply wanted to deliver a check for $250,000 to their church. All he needed to do was speak to the Pastor himself.

No phone call returned.

Surprised? I'm not. Twenty first century American church religion is not about being reached. It is about being reclusive, important, and protected. It is about being "successful", as determined by the new brand of FEEL GOOD, PROSPERITY gospel.

Don't think this piece is intended to slam Pastors. Quite the contrary. I believe Pastors have one, if not, "THE", most difficult calling unto God. Try walking a mile in their shoes and report back on just how you think it's going for you.

No, this piece is about all of our responsibilities as ministers of the great commission from Christ. It is about caring beyond our small circle of self importance and opening the doors wide enough that those so desperately seeking redemption, healing, and freedom from sin can touch the hem of His garment. It is about taking a moment to remember where the greatest minister who ever walked the face of the earth was found the day before His crucifiction.

On his hands and knees, with a basin of water...washing the feet of his disciples. Refusing to stop until he had washed the very feet of the one who would betray Him. That's leadership. That's our example. That...is our goal!

By the way, Peter Daniels closed that particular message with this comment. He said, "I own forty corportions completely debt free. My net worth exceeds five billion dollars. Today, if you call my office...you will get one or two responses. Either "I" will answer this phone and say that this is Peter J. Daniels, how may I help you?   Or, you will get my answering machine saying that this is Peter J. Daniels, leave a message and "I" will call you back within 24 hours."

He ended by saying, "If I can accomplish this with all I have on my plate, exactly who do you think you are, and what exactly is it you think you have been called to achieve in your ministry?"

It's time we stop spending so many hours cultivating "OUR MINISTRY." When the truth is, we don't have a ministry at all. All we have been called to do is extend "HIS" ministry. It's time to stop worrying so much about our name, and our fame, and spend time tearing down the walls that isolate us from those who need a touch from God the most.

The question today is not, "Can we reach the world?"

The question is..."Can We Be Reached?"

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