I would be honored if you would let him know just how much you're glad that he's joined our blog community today!
So without further adieu.... Pastor John Franklin!
In a day of pursuit, ambition, and self-determinant glory-centered living, we have embraced an Almighty God, with supposedly unconditional surrender, into a life the Bible calls voluntary slavery, giving up the right of free will in the pursuit of salvation from the deserved consequences of our own sin.
And that, from a slightly differently angle, is Christianity.
Have you ever stopped to consider that our world is not that vastly different from the world in the time of Christ?
“What?!” you may think as you spew out your coffee and hope you didn’t just fry your computer.
Think about it for a moment. We live in a dominantly Hellenist (Greek) society, following a Jewish paradigm of relationship with the One True God. Oh yes, we have computers… “woo-pee!” The ancient Egyptians built the pyramids and we just scratch our heads and think, “Man, how’d they do that?!”
We communicate in the flash of electrons across a computer screen; they actually still had decent penmanship. They read books… we read books. Ok, they wore togas… but so do most folks at the common fraternity party (woops, maybe we shouldn’t talk about that one… just kidding)!
The point is this, that often times we dismiss the parts of the Bible that we don’t like under so many headings of exception like, “Well, they didn’t have corporate pressures!” or “They didn’t have to deal with school systems and modern secular humanism!” or “They just weren’t as enlightened as we are!”
These and so many other arguments of avoidance I’ve heard and tried over the years have at least one common denominator… none of them hold water.
A brother in Christ once asked me why I wouldn’t drop out of ministry for a while and get a sweet paying job in the energy industry back when we were serving in Texas. It made no sense to him that I would be educated to the level I am and only make what a pastor makes. I laughed to myself, thought “no stinkin’ doubt!” and then thanked him for the compliment but explained that my life is not a result of my choice, but of God’s calling… and that my assignment is that of a pastor.
In that moment, and even as I type it again here, it is both freeing and it kind of stings a little. My role has been set since Mrs. Smith’s fifth grade classroom, writing the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” paper, when the Holy Spirit told me to “Preach the Gospel.”
The die was cast when I was a six year old little boy on the swing set with my father, and traded my life for the salvation of Jesus Christ… seeking His forgiveness, and committing to, as my Dad put it, let Him be the boss; oddly similar to how the Apostle Paul describes himself as the bond-slave of Christ.
Even this morning, as I talked with my children, I realize that the God Who saved me has known all these things were coming and all that is to come. I know that He saw me coming knowing I would choose His grace, that He set my life in order, even working my messes to my good, so that I would be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-30), that He called me to Himself, brought me to the forgiveness of my sins, and will complete the whole process when I reach the end of this race someday.
The role of a lifetime is not my choice… it’s His.
Oh, there are roads in life that would have made it my choice, but none of those roads lead to Jesus.
In II Corinthians 4:17, Paul says, “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (ESV)
Whatever the God-given role of your lifetime might be… dive into it today!
Don’t let the modern mumbo-jumbo of pseudo enlightenment (aka self-serving prideful ego-centric exaltation) rob you of the joy of serving the God of All Creation.
Run the race. Turn not to one side or the other.
Fix your eyes on Christ and breathe the clean air of living in the purposes of God.
For me, that has made the difference between fulfillment and frustration. I hope it might for you as well as we run in the path of so many who have come before us!
May the peace of Christ engulf you as run!
John Franklin is the Senior Pastor of Journey Christian Church in New Orleans where he serves with his bride, Penny, as they have through many miles of pastoring and planting churches.
You can subscribe to Pastor John's blog at www.arevsblog.blogspot.com