I am sitting here writing on a plane headed back to LA. Surprisingly, it seems I have left Denver with a relentless burden for Boulder. I spent an hour in prayer about it last night.
Leah and I went to her church Sunday morning, Littleton Bible Chapel, and I enjoyed the service greatly. An elder spoke emotively about evangelism, and the sermon was insightful and packed with Scripture. The worship was guitar led, and I thought to myself, I wonder if those guys would be willing to come and sit on the ground with their guitars and play those worship songs in Boulder. When the elder spoke about evangelism, I looked over the crowded chapel and thought to myself, I would assume that some of these people would be interested in working with us in ministry in Boulder. I spoke with several people after the service who seemed receptive to the idea, and asked me to stay in touch with them. I spoke with a man named Drew after church and explained, "…It would be a ministry of just talking and reasoning with the people, sort of like what Francis Schaeffer did in L’Abri." He said, "Francis Schaeffer? You like Francis Schaeffer?! I didn’t know this generation even knew of him today." (not that I am that young at 36!) I said, "Yes, I have learned a lot about postmodernism from taking notes on the video series, How Should We Then Live." I agreed that Christians were, for the most part, anti-intellectual in the 21st century, spending hours in front of a mind-numbing TV set instead of reading authors like (some of my favorites on apologetics): Peter Jones (www.cwipp.org)…Ray Yungen (www.lighthousetrails.com), Berit Kjos (www.crossroad.to), Jill Martin Rische (www.waltermartin.com ), Tal Brooke (www.scp-inc.org), Kurt Van Gordon, John MacArthur, Wayne Grudem, Kurt Koch, Walter Martin, Francis Schaeffer…where is our passion for the lost? It is hard to believe that there was a time in church history when people used to work for a week to own just one chapter of the Bible.
Can you imagine? That sort of passion has become antiquated in our culture today. How it must hurt God to see the apathy in our hearts—people too busy, due to schedules packed with TV shows nightly and pleasure on weekends—too busy to study and do street ministry to defend the name of Jesus to the lost. We are asking God to bless us as we are living our lives for ourselves. Evangelism is treated like a "special event", an anomalous day on the calendar, when we should be reading, growing, and defending the Gospel on a daily basis! After all, when we die and see our Savior, is any saga of LA Law really going to matter? How valuable will an episode of Desperate Housewives (which I have never seen I am proud to say!) be in all of eternity? How pathetic that many Christians spend their time watching these shows when they could be investing their hearts and minds for the sake of God’s Kingdom. We should stop and ask, "Lord is this bringing You glory? Is there something more edifying and pleasing to You that I could be doing with my time?" It would surely make the lost world jealous of such joy and zeal, but instead, the Christians are the ones put to shame evangelistically these days by the devotees of religions such as Hare Krishna and Hinduism or New Age cults like the Self-Realization Center out in the streets proselytizing at places like Venice Beach while the Christians are too "busy" for such things. Yet, we are the only ones with the Truth! How it must hurt Jesus.
I used to go to movies, years ago, but I finally gave up on the notion for entertainment (with the exception of watching something for research from a perspective of apologetics). I decided that if something hurt Jesus, knowing He is with me always, it should hurt me, too. I decided to hold myself to the standard of walking out at any moment I felt a movie (or stage presentation) was hurting Jesus. So, when they would take His name in vain and laugh at the sins that nailed Him to the cross, I felt it grievous to the Holy Spirit, and I would get up and leave. God only knows how many movies I walked out of in frustration. I guess it was somewhat of an evangelism endeavor to the movie theater ticket people, because I would always ask for my money back! I would tell them, "I am a Christian, and when they take God’s name in vain, they are cursing my Father." Thinking back, the theater ticket people were always cooperative in giving me the refund, though I don’t recall that it was necessarily ever in appreciation of my movie reviews I freely gave to them! We must remember that, as Christians, we take Jesus with us everywhere we go. He hates the darkness and filth of sin far more than we ever could, and it hurts Him when His temple is defiled by shows that demean His name. We shouldn’t want to hurt Him like that. Meanwhile, the lost are out there groping in the darkness for answers. Yet, Christians are bored for more entertainment. Conversations don’t seem to be enough anymore. Well, it is not the least bit boring to grow and be challenged intellectually for the sake of the Truth!
Speaking of a challenge, back to my Boulder story…
A pastor from The Littleton Bible Chapel said, "Well, it will take someone with your passion to do this ministry. It requires passion." I said, "I know, and I realize I cannot give anyone that passion, but I am hoping the Lord will meet the need for a ministry there–for His glory and for the sake of the lost who are searching, as God is searching after them." (The couple Leah and I had in mind Saturday night for the ministry could not do it, because of health problems). Drew said, "Maybe God wants you to do it." I said, "I can’t do it. He called me to Venice Beach, and I can’t be everywhere that needs a street ministry." I looked off capriciously in the distance and thought, Wouldn’t it be weird, Lord, if you were calling me?
Last night in prayer I spent about fifteen minutes or so telling God all of the reasons why I know He would not call me to Boulder. Then, I got this thought: You should tell Him you would be willing if that is what He wants. I hesitated for a moment, as if I could not say it. I felt ambivalent about it from a fleshly standpoint for a variety of reasons but completely thrilled from a spiritual standpoint, to even feeling as if it would be too good to be true! As I was there praying on my knees, I said, "But, if you want me to do it, Father, I will." I felt the Holy Spirit’s presence to the point of being overcome with emotion as the tears flowed. It reminded me of the way I have felt in the past when He led me in surprising ways from season to season in my life, including when He called me to start the ministry at Venice Beach.
So, here I am headed back to LA with a burden for Boulder, Colorado and the happy thought of a little spot on Pearl Street with Bibles…where the goddess and all of her magic is forced to a dead halt by the glorious light of the gospel of Christ.
There is a popular bumper sticker in CA that reads: The goddess is alive and magic is afoot. How about this one? God is alive, and He is crushing Satan under our feet as we are walking into his territories with the Holy Spirit afoot to set the captives free in the name of Jesus and the power of His blood. (Romans16:20)
Sing, oh sing, of my Redeemer!