Had an incredible weekend at our home church this past Sunday. Dr. George O. Wood, shared an incredible message about the richness of life in Christ, and our close friend Mark Schoolmeesters led as the new worship leader at Emmanuel.
In the middle of the worship service, I began thinking of several friends who I had been praying for earlier in the week, who had incredible speaking opportunities that weekend. Dr. Bob Bakke, friend and mentor serves as the Lead Pastor of Bloomington Baptist Church and is the co-founder of the Global Day of Prayer, a worldwide prayer movement that in 2008 saw participation from over 300 million believers in every nation of the earth. He was preaching this past weekend for a church in Bolivia with 18,000 people. Friend and fellow evangelist Sammy Wanyonyi has spent over a month ministering in several nations in Africa - Rwanda, Malawi and now Kenya in conjunction with Mission Africa and the Lausanne Movement. He spoke in a church in Kenya this past weekend with 12,000 people. Both of these friends spoke to massive audiences this past weekend. Michelle and I have ministered to large audiences like this in the past, and God willing will continue to do so.
... But there I am at my home church. Not preaching. Not leading. Just in the crowd. And my heart cried out how happy I was to simply be a worshiper in God's Presence. To worship Him in the midst of the congregation, without needing to be in front. In that moment, I sensed God's smile.
God has put such a ridiculous passion in my heart for lost souls. I long to preach the Good News to as many as possible. I can say with Paul "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!" (1 Cor. 9:16, NIV) and Jeremiah "His Word is burning in my heart like a fire, a fire in my bones. I am weary of holding it in. Indeed I cannot!" (Jeremiah 20:9, NIV). But even in this passion, there subsists a holy sense of assignment.
I am not addicted to the crowd. I am addicted to obedience to the Word of God. My dream is to fulfill my assignment in this generation. I move forward with unbridled passion and urgency for the lost, yet at the beckoning of the Holy Spirit of God. I follow the example of my Master:
Jesus showed us the importance of our assignment when he said: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does." (John 5:19, NLT). Jesus, the Son of God, came to us as a man, yet he only traveled around Israel. Why did He not go to the ends of the earth? Jesus explains this sense of Divine assignment when he nearly does not heal a non-Israeli woman, "I was sent only to help God's lost sheep - the people of Israel." (Matthew 15:24, NLT). Not to mention Jesus did not start his ministry until age 30, where it seems his mother pushed him into doing his first miracle! The calling and power of God was within him, ready to work, yet waiting on the Divine movement of the Father first. Even Jesus did not try to do everything, be everywhere.
And how can we be sure of our unique assignment? There is literally no other way than remaining close to the Lord through regular study of the Word and prayer and fellowship with God's people. We must couple an unbridled passion with an entrenched contentment in our assignment.
"Godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment." (1 Timothy 6:6, NASB).