Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Monday Morning Leadership Devo

Leading From Darkness Into Light

Last week, our church hosted James Walker as our special guest speaker for both of our morning worship services. James is the president of Watchman Fellowship out of the D/FW region of Texas. Watchman Fellowship is an apologetics ministry specializing in world religions, cults, and the occult. We had booked James back in the summer and I had been looking forward to his coming for many months. I knew it would be good, but man, it was really good. James has such a passion and heart for the gospel and has given his whole life to sharing the Truth of Jesus in a world where people believe any and everything. James is actually a former 4thgeneration Mormon, so he understands more than most what it is like to step from darkness and confusion into the Light.

James’ topic for the Sunday was the prevalence of the occult in mainstream America. If you don’t believe me, just listen to his sermon here. Everything James shared was excellent, but one particular point he made really struck me. He pointed out that around 20 years ago, the experts were decrying the coming demise of Christianity. They postulated that in the next 20 years or so, people in America would become more Atheistic and that there would be this very clear divide of two camps in our country: Christian and Atheist.

But that is not what has happened. America has not become more atheistic, but instead it has become more spiritual than ever. Not more Christian, but more spiritual. People believe all kinds of things today. The variety of belief can be overwhelming at times for the Christian.

I was reminded of my freshmen year at Oklahoma Baptist University. It was the first day in my required Intro to Philosophy class. Philosophy classes are not necessarily the favorite of students and many Christians in general don’t trust philosophy at all. They see it as a waste of time, and some Christians see philosophy as dangerous. They equate philosophy with strange thoughts that lead Christian minds away from Jesus. So I was on my guard when I entered the classroom as a new freshman in college. I’ll never forget how the aging Dr. Wester began the course. As if knowing there was a propensity of distrust in having to take a “philosophy” course, Dr. Wester opened his Bible and read us a verse:

Passage for Reflection:

Colossians 2:8 (NLT)
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.

I will never forget the next words out of Dr. Wester’s mouth, “The Bible tells us to avoid empty philosophies. So let me ask: how are you to avoid them if you don’t know what they are?”

He had me hooked. In fact, I would go on to become a philosophy major, Dr. Wester would become my mentor and advisor, and my senior year, I was awarded the Senior Achievement Award in Christian Philosophy. And it all began with a challenge to study and know the empty philosophies of this world.

Listen, my friend, empty philosophies and spiritualities are everywhere… yes, even in our own hometown. People are looking for answers and they are looking in many, many places. As Christians, we need to be armed with the enemy’s playbook. We must know what others believe so that as we love people, we can also share with them the Truth of Jesus and the error of their worldview.

That is why I love and appreciate Watchman Fellowship. And that is why I was so enthused as James Walker shared with our people last week.

“Lord, may I lead with knowledge and wisdom those who are in darkness to the Light. Amen.”



PS – I highly recommend that every Christian bookmark and frequently visit the Watchman Fellowship website. You will find it an invaluable treasure house of free resources on all the various belief systems in our world.


Dozer said...

I am certainly not a proponent of being ignorant of the world philosophies or religions, but would you clarify and expand your thoughts a little more... I do not believe you would actually mean what you say here. How is it our responsibility as followers of Jesus to point to a man and tell him how wrong his "philosophy" or "religion" is?

That would seem to be a good way to come across as pompus, arrogant, judgemental and would not be well received at all. Or about the same way we Christians in America are being recieved today.

His kindness is what leads men to repentance, not correct apologetics and arguments.

We're supposed to be fishers of men....If we catch them, He will clean them. A whole heap better than we ever could.

In Christ

Jeff Crawford said...

Dozer, I actually meant exactly what I said in the post. AS WE LOVE PEOPLE, we must share with them the truth of Christ and thus the error of their worldview. As with all things there is a right way and a wrong way to do and say what needs to be said. I agree with you that arrogance, judgementalism, and pompusness, only push people away from Jesus. But Jesus himself never shied away from being bold with the Truth. And you can be bold in love. I think the key is relationship. You have to earn the right to be heard. But once the door is open, it is helpful to know where someone is coming from in terms of their own spiritual worldview.

Finally, I agree with you wholeheartedly in your last paragraph. Sanctification is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit after someone has come to Christ. In fact, outside the Holy Spirit, a person cannot even be drawn. We are simply tools of the Spirit to get people to the foot of the Cross.

Thanks for reading!


Dozer said...

Thanks, I enjoy reading...

Also, thanks for expanding your thoughts more. I knew your heart, but thought that "love" needed a little emphasis. (I know... written like a hippie) I'm guilty as most other followers of Christ who have been around for more than ten years. We came up in an American Christian Church culture that was very quick to say what we are against, and pitiful little about who we are for. That is why we are reaping the harvest we are. "Hit and run evangelism" produces bitter fruit.

It would be awesome to see more evangelism like what the apostle Paul did in Acts, specifically in Ephesus, where he stayed for years. He earned the right to speak into their lives. Sadly, it is largely lost in our American Christian culture today.

In Christ

Aaron Decker said...

from my blog
"He (Jesus) apparently never asked if people believe in God, nor did he set out to prove that God existed. We do not validate God's existence by human thought; God validates human existence by being creator, sustainer, and redeemer. Jesus' thinking was from the top down, not from the bottom up. God is primary; we are secondary. If heaven and earth should pass away, God would still remain..." Walter A Elwell

When we try to justify God's existence to an unbelieving world, do we belittle God? Our human words are not enough to convince and describe the awesomeness of God. They fall short. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says 'For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. A lost world has an unbelieving heart. They see the cross as foolish and shameful.

Yet Jesus still commands us to go and make disciples of all nations. The word 'go' is a verb. The Greek translation of 'go' means to 'go' as we you going about your daily lives. Therefore, going should not be a once a year event for Christians to go on a mission trip. Short term missions are fine and biblical, but let us not forget the biggest impact that we can have on earth as Christians: in our own communities.

When witnessing, do not try to apologize for God. Do not speak half-truths of God. When we 'go' we are to teach the full council of God: without Jesus Christ we are dying, with no hope of eternal life. We are dead. We are doomed. But because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ because of God's mercy, he chooses us, and transforms us. Not by anything we do, but by his favor. Yes God IS love. Also, God is just.