Sunday, August 14, 2011

Admirer or Follower?

Ecclesiastes 4:6  Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.

1 Timothy 6:6  But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Those verses were the foundation for Sunday morning’s message at my home church.  And, it seems, for the weekend, coast to coast.  But we’ll start with how I originally began this post and work or way toward it.

It’s awesome when your “childhood” heroes go on to   higher levels of success.  The childhood was when I was a brand new Christian, more than halfway through my life.  There were several Christian radio stations in the area where I lived.  The one I listened to most was WWDJ.  And one of the people I listened to as often as possible was a youth minister and evangelist named Greg Laurie.  He was doctrinally sound, he often used humor to highlight Biblical principles.  That helped get lots of good stuff into my soul.

Fast forward to today..  And it’s Pastor Greg Laurie, head pastor of multiple west coast churches  of Harvest Ministries.  He’s still an evangelist, periodically holding evangelistic rallies in various places around the country.  This weekend, he was close to home at Angel stadium in Anaheim, California.  Friday night saw 32.000 attendees and over 3,000 professions.  When he preached, there were a number of interesting statements.  But there were a couple of highlights that I wanted to mention here.

Pastor Laurie mentioned Howard Stern.  At this point, Howard has a contract for $80,000,000 per year.  Yet, he admits to not having peace in his life.  Even after trying some forms of eastern meditation.  Pastor Greg said what he really needed was a relationship with Jesus.  He shared some interesting statistics to go with that thought.  Over 70% of the US population says they are Christian, according a 2001 poll and Jesus is the most admired hero.  Pastor Greg’s response to that? “But Jesus did not say ‘admire me’.  Jesus said, ‘follow me’.”  What does that tell us?

  1. As several lotteries put it, “You can’t win it if you’re not in it.”  Howard (and  anyone like Howard, having it all but feeling empty), get to know Jesus.  You don’t know the joy and the peace you’re missing.  Ecclesiastes 4:6 says it well.
  2. Those who call themselves Christians, but you’re not seeing the joy, “Come on in, the water’s fine.”  If Christianity seems dull and boring, you’re not experiencing its fullness because you’re sitting on the sidelines.
  3. It’s said, “Be a leader not a follower.”  But, in order to lead properly, you have to know how to follow.  Every great leader followed something beyond themselves.  Even Jesus followed the leading of our heavenly Father.
  4. Sure, it’s OK to admire Jesus.  But that admiration doesn’t mean much if it’s not a call to action, a call to follow Him.  You become just a bystander, missing out on the satisfaction, joy and fun of active Christianity.

The result is the contentment mentioned in 1 Timothy 6:6.  There’s a certain satisfaction in doing something right.  But you don’t get that “great gain” until you not only do it right, but it’s right because it’s God’s way.  Since I’ve stolen a few ad slogans, let’s go for one more.  “Try it.  You’ll like it.”  When you do, the Spirit can work in your life as intended.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”, according to Galatians 5:22-23.

What do you think?

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