I used to be a conference junkie thinking that somehow I would find the magic bullet to ministry. I wanted ministry to be easy. I wanted ministry to make an impact. I wanted lives to be changed. I wanted it to be exciting and fun. Often ministry ultimately ended in being disheartened.
After about 15 years of ministry I went on a conference fast. I pledged to not go to another conference until I actually had the influence necessary to do what I was being inspired to do. What began to register over the last five years of that fast is that ultimately my satisfaction in being a minister was intimately tied to my being obedient to God’s call on my life. It had very little to do with the other stuff I was chasing.
It may never happen, but if one day someone asks me to give a talk at one of those conferences or a publisher asks me to write a book about how to go about planting a church I’m sure I’d be able to come up with a list of ten or even 1000 things that had to be in place for Regeneration to be successful. However, ultimately, and I mean essentially, the only thing that really matters is OBEDIENCE.
It doesn’t matter if it is doing ministry, planting a church, raising a family, building a passionate and faithful marriage all comes down to OBEDIENCE.
If God calls and your spouse affirms that calling, then refuse to hesitate to go to the place He has called you and do the thing He has called you to do no matter what anyone else says.
“Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrificesas much as he does in obedience?Certainly, obedience is better than sacrifice;paying attention is better than the fat of rams.” Samuel to Saul (1 Samuel 15:22)
1Once again a message came to me from the Lord: 2“Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. 3When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. 4Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. 5They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. 6But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.’
7“Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. 8If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 9But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself.(Ezekiel 33:1-9, NET)
It’s a sobering passage that preaching, prophesying, and teaching carries with it an extraordinary amount of weight. Once you lose this perception of just how responsible you are as a message bringer you will often chase after the gods of popularity and acceptability and growth by justifiable means will eventually overextend. Ultimately failure of not only the messenger, but the entire nation is on the horizon without supernatural intervention.
My hope for Regeneration is that I set the bar high for those who share the pulpit with me and those who will follow me in this regard. That not only will we expect change from everyone else, but that we will be willing to see the enemies that arise in our own lives and change first.
Feel free to hold me to that.