9.20.2012

Responding to Jesus

So I was told to watch and respond to a video by a good friend of mine. The video is called "The Shocking Youth Message - Paul Washer," and it's on YouTube if you care to watch it.

As I listened to Paul speak, I can't say that I didn't feel an upset emotion within my soul. I don't want say that it was anger, but it was unsettling. I started to think about all the people in my life that I dearly love, and how I don't know if half of them have made a sincere commitment to Jesus. Then I started to think about myself and if I've even seen transformation of the Holy Spirit in my life. I really don't want to list out what has happened to me, so I'm going to give you all the benefit of the doubt and say that I have truly been changed and am still being transformed by Jesus' love.

That kind of message never settles well with anyone, but I think that it needs to be taught because power is no substitute for character. I can say that I've healed people in the name of Jesus and spoken the word of God into people's lives, but until I have personally been changed by Jesus I have no place in the Kingdom. Ministry is not salvation -- ministry is an out pour of the salvation we receive from Jesus. I think there are groups and churches that can lack one or the other.  Some groups of people are really avid on teaching the gifts of the Spirit and seeing the work of God in tangible ways, but they lack in teaching people about character and humility. In other words, their lives are about ministry and not taking care of the hearts within the body of Christ. Some groups emphasize that it is important to go to church and say the right words of salvation, but their lives are empty and without fruit. All they care about is themselves and the healing and transforming work of God is a distant truth to them. They may feel saved, but their "ministry" says otherwise.

So as I watched Paul speak, I asked myself what the most important aspects of salvation were, and then I remembered what I learned in the summer from a friend of mine:

Salvation in Greek is sozo which can be translated to three words: saved, healed, and delivered. When we are saved, we claim Jesus as truth and put our faith in Him. When we are healed, anything physical that we may be dealing with can now be set free because of the cross. "By His stripes we are healed," says Isaiah 53. When we are delivered, the chains from the sin we have been identifying ourselves in are broken. We no longer have to live in bondage, and we can now repent. This all happens because of the power of the Holy Spirit that was given to the disciples in Acts. The Holy Spirit is the key to our complete salvation -- without it we are destined for hell.

I think what Paul Washer was trying to communicate needed to be communicated but not the way he decided to communicate it.  Personally, that kind of message doesn't necessarily make me want Jesus more, it just makes me feel guilty for who I am and how much I've sinned. Conviction is important, and believe me I become convicted when my sin is brought to my vision. But that type of broad condemnation of where I will go if I don't "get it right", aka bear fruit and repent, makes my relationship with God full of strife. I don't necessarily desire to run to Jesus in that moment because I don't feel good enough. So, I don't really think that that message would have brought me to my knees for the right reasons. The Lord brings me to my knees whenever I can see His tangible love on my life, and I am instantly brought into a form of worship when that occurs.

9.18.2012

Dear brother

A very thoughtful brother wrote a note to me and sent it to me through the mail room today. He wrote:

"Dear Rachel,
   I read part of your blog last night. It is encouraging to know that a sister-in-Christ is trying so hard to live for God, especially in a place like Grove City, where complacency is so prevalent. Perservere and continue to look for the opportunities God will present to you.

1 Peter 4:12-19
1 Timothy 4:9-16
Colossians 3:1-17

In Christ,
A brother"

Not only did I almost fall over in being hit with love, but I also wanted to figure out who you were so I could thank you.  This seriously made my heart soar, so I am replying to you where I know you will read it.

Brother,

Your note means a lot to me, and the verses you put in it edified my soul.  I really love Colossians 3. It's a great reminder to me, especially, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." That statement should reign over Grove City Community. Of course we as Christians find peace in salvation, but do we find peace in our assignments and responsibilities? We usually view those things as tasks to be done, and we don't recognize that they are an allowance to drown in the peace of Christ.  Life is going to throw a lot at us, things that will be a lot worse than what Grove City College assigns to our to do list. Christ desires for us to abide in Him. A good sister of mine has been reminding me of that lately too.

I hope we can talk in person, or you are welcome to remain a mystery. I appreciate you a lot for who you are and what you gave me on a small index card.

Love,
Your sister.