THE INTROVERTED EVANGELIST

Seth McBee March 25, 2013

introverted-evangelist
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.’ ”

Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. – Matthew 3:1–6

For most of us this is what we think of when we think of an evangelist: the semi-crazy person that we admire for their zeal. We are impressed with their courage, but we know that if that is what we are called to do, we could never pull it off.

When we train in evangelism, this is the picture most either point to or think of. Which is one of the major reasons evangelism and evangelist have such a negative connotation for both the believer and non-believer. Essentially, we train folks to fit into a specific personality type and call it evangelism training. We are training people to be extrovert evangelists.

THE EXTROVERTED EVANGELIST

Extrovert evangelists are the people we see constantly interacting with strangers. They are the life of the party, and they love being around people in general. We’ve seen them doing everything from street evangelism to getting into gospel conversations with someone while riding in an elevator with them. This is not only a joy for them, but comes very natural to them. These folks are the “evangelists.”

When I felt the call to tell others about Jesus, I thought this is who I was supposed to be so I went out door to door, handing out bibles, went to community events and handed out tracts, etc. thinking that this is how one is deemed an evangelist and “have beautiful feet by preaching good news.”

The issue for me was this never seemed natural for me. It never felt like this is how God made me. I chalked it up as this was what it meant for me to be a living sacrifice. The problem was it didn’t stop at me, but I preached that others should be doing the same, or they didn’t understand the call to be an evangelist.

However, in the body of Christ, not everyone fits this extrovert mold, yet people think this is how all followers of Jesus must be and live. We must stop calling everyone to be an extrovert evangelist and allow people, specifically introverts, to live out the identity of evangelist and missionary in the way God has made them.

ROUND PEG, SQUARE HOLE

I find it interesting that we have looked past how God has made us, and gone directly to our actions to prove who we are. We should always start with who God has made us to be and out of that find direction for our actions. Even biologically this makes sense. We don’t ask a dude to get pregnant. But, sadly, this is as silly as asking an introvert to be a John the Baptist.

We need to go back to see how the Scriptures speak to us, found in Psalm 139:12-15:

For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;

my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.

God has designed each one of us exactly how he wants us. Not only that, but he will use his design of us to reach out and show his glory to the ends of the earth.

Once I realized who God made me, and how he was going to use me, it transformed my thought process on my life and how I lead others on mission.

What I have come to realize is that I am a functional extrovert. Many see me and think I am an extrovert, but in reality, my wife used to call me a hermit because of how much I avoided people.

 What this means for me is that I will force myself into situations to meet new people and share stories, but it is not natural for me. I am basically in the middle of the introvert and the extrovert. Because of this, I think I have a unique perspective on how to lead and be an introverted evangelist.

SOME THINGS TO THINK THROUGH

  • Being an introvert and staying an introvert is not a sin. Many put this on others and in return introverts can feel very alienated and burdened to do what others (read extroverts or functional extroverts) are doing. Allow the introvert to be exactly who God has made them to be, an introvert.
  • Do not try to make an introvert an extrovert. This is not your calling. Your calling is not to make everyone in your church look like you or act like you. If this was the case, everyone else on the planet could die and you could take over as king of the world. God has made his body different on purpose, including introverts and extroverts.
  • Having introverts in your church is not the same as having immature believers or wolves in sheep’s clothing. It seems as though most of us have treated introverts as though they were a disease that needed a cure, instead of image bearers of God created by him for his purpose. Know God’s creation is beautiful, purposeful, and should be celebrated not degraded.
  • Being an introvert does not exclude them from the mission. Do not allow introverts to use their design as a crutch. Instead, shed light into how God is going to use them. Allow them to, and lead them into, what it might look like to be on mission as an introvert.

WHAT DOES MISSION LOOK LIKE AS AN INTROVERTED EVANGELIST?

  • Introverts, by nature, have a tough time being around people they do not know. So, find an extrovert, or functional extrovert, that loves Jesus and understands introverts. Have the extrovert invite the introvert into their daily lives and functions. This will allow the introvert to be with those they know, yet still be with those they don’t know.
  • Allow the introvert to serve at events, parties, activities, etc. in a way in which they are comfortable. We have an introvert in our missional community who started by taking out the garbage, cleaning, and making the food at our BBQs and breakfasts. It was pretty funny because he was like a silent cleaning assassin. People would ask, “who is that?” I’d let them know he was a friend of mine who was here to help, so I could spend more time getting to know my neighbors. Please tell me how that doesn’t speak to kingdom living! After a while, he started to build friendships and started to speak into them and felt very comfortable at our large events, because he knew everyone now. I wasn’t patient at first, but when I started to realize how God had made him and his love for Jesus, I allowed him to live out his identity. When we do this, we become a beautiful picture of the diverse body of Christ.
  • Know that because introverts do not like being around people they don’t know or large groups, they will not be the ones who are planning parties, or are the life of the parties. Allow this; it’s okay! Do not force them to do things that they are not made to be. Of course, there is a balance to the call of mission, but at the same time, be patient. I’ve found that the more you allow the introvert time to be around extroverts, or just strangers in general…the more they get to know them and then desire to be around them.
  • When an introvert speaks, listen. Introverts don’t want to bother people, because they don’t like to be bothered. But, after they get to know people, they will speak into their lives and their wisdom is usually spot on. First, they listen and watch. When they finally feel the need to speak, they usually hit the heart of the issues at hand. Do not gloss over what they say, but listen and encourage. If you ignore or talk over them, they are stubborn buggers and might never talk again.
  • Introverts desire community, they just don’t know it. Most introverts think they want to be by themselves. The fact is, they just don’t want to be around others they don’t know. And it’s not something they need to just “get over”; it’s as real as trying to get an artist to put on a suit and sit behind a desk all day. It just isn’t going to work. So, you can tell when you have an introvert who is an evangelist because they start to gather with those they’ve developed relationships with. My wife is like this. She hates meeting new people; however, once she has developed relationships, she not only makes space for them, they make space for her.
  • What is an evangelist anyways? An evangelist isn’t a personality type or a personality disorder, but an evangelist is one who brings good news, both in the proclamation with the mouth and their actions. If this is the case, where does it say that an evangelist is going to be an extrovert or introvert? What if God’s plan was for everyone to do the work of an evangelist? (2 Tim 4:5). Think of the power of the church if we empower both the extrovert and the introvert to be the representation of the good news in the way that God has made them? How many more people would be reached for the sake of Jesus?

A FINAL WARNING

  1. Don’t let the introvert use their design as a crutch for mission. “God didn’t make me that way” is a crutch. Instead, show them what mission could look like. Find another introvert, or functional extrovert, that can aid them in steps of what mission might look like for them. Don’t just tell them; have someone model it. The introvert is an image bearer and desires to see disciples made; they just don’t know what it looks like for them. It’s not because they’re stupid, but because the church has historically modeled what it looks like to be an extrovert evangelist.
  2. Don’t give up on the introvert. Just because they don’t live out the mission as you might, does not make them any less a child of God, nor does it make them any less of an evangelist. You’ll have to be patient with them, that’s okay, God has been patient with you your entire life and you still suck.
  3. The point of this short article is that the introvert is designed by God, not by the lies of Satan. The lie of Satan is that we need to make other people like us, whomever “us” ends up being.
  4. If you have introverts in your church, empower them in the ways God has made them.
  5. If you are an introvert, live out the mission to make disciples in the way that God calls you based on who you are. Don’t use your design as a crutch, and don’t let anyone else use your design as a crutch.

Start small. Ask the Spirit “what’s next?” and he’ll give you exactly what you need to do in the way that he has designed you. It might be the smallest and dumbest thing you’ve heard of, but it’s a step. It could be to help pick up garbage at the next party–you could be the next cleaning assassin for Jesus.

 

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Cheap Law

TULLIAN TCHIVIDJIAN| In Matthew 5, Jesus shows unambiguously that the greatest obstacle to getting the gospel is not “cheap grace” but “cheap law”–the idea that God accepts anything less than the perfect righteousness of Jesus. (By the way, the proper response to the charge of “cheap grace” is not to make grace expensive by adding a thousand qualifications and footnotes, but rather to declare that grace is free!)

Jesus shows that because God’s demands are unqualified and undiluted, the grace we desperately need must be unqualified and undiluted. In fact, the way of God’s grace becomes absolutely indispensable only when we finally see that the way of God’s law is absolutely inflexible.

John Dink strikes gold again, showing how the great problem in the church today is the same problem Jesus addressed in Matthew 5–cheap law, not cheap grace:

The compassion of our heavenly Father is the gift of his only Son. I am nothing. And in my nothingness, I have come to know that the gift is fearfully and wonderfully near. In the words of Augustine, the Son “is more intimate with us than we are with ourselves.” He tabernacles among the brokenhearted. Without a shred of ignorance, he can call every skeleton in your closet by name. Yet, Jesus is not ashamed to prepare a room for you in his Father’s house. He loves to share his reward with sinners. But, I must warn you. To those who think they deserve a place at my Father’s table… not even a stale crumb is reserved for you. If you trust in some personal display of good fruit to save your seat, you have received your reward and my Christ will not vouch for you. I beg you to listen to the voice of your first love: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” But, there are some who seek to escape their need for grace and deceive us by lowering the cost of God’s righteousness. They preach a cheap law that sells indulgences to those who pay with the appearance of sanctification. But God’s law – costly law – never negotiates with sinners. It is holy and righteous and good – but it is not patient with law-breakers, it is not kind to the ungodly, it keeps every record of wrongdoing. However, we need not fear costly law because Jesus has proclaimed that he will pay our way through the flood of demands with himself. Nor should we fear the liberty of justification, and sanctification, by grace alone through faith alone (the children of the gift work harder because they don’t have to work at all). What we must fear is the baptism of shallow, luke-warm water: “cheap law.”

Cheap law weakens God’s demand for perfection, and in doing so, breaths life into the old creature and his quest for a righteousness of his own making. And what I’m telling you is this: what doesn’t kill him, makes him stronger. Lowering the bar lets the Old Adam peek into the Promised Land. It allows the flesh to survive by rebelling in a form of external piety. And – it’s a perfect hiding place for the Old Being. We don’t think to rebuke such a moral, well-mannered creature. But cheap law offers mercy in the wrong place. It offers mercy to those who are offended by the gift. It creates a people of great zeal, but they lack knowledge concerning the question “What Would Jesus Do?” Here is the costly answer: Jesus would do it all perfectly. And that’s game over for you. The Father is not grooming you to be a replacement for his Beloved Son. He is announcing that there is blessing for those who take shelter in his Beloved Son. Cheap law tells us that we’ve fallen, but there’s good news, you can get back up again. Therein lies the great heresy of cheap law: it is a false gospel. And it cheapens – no – it nullifies grace. It is a sacrifice of God’s law replacing the sacrifice of God’s Son. And when we make sacrifices regarding God’s law, we create something that is not strong enough to stop the mouths of self-sanctifying little sovereigns. It simply teaches us to exchange true godliness for a pursuit of godness. And as long as we cheapen the price of righteousness, the Old Adam will never cease in his bidding war against the freeness of the gift. As time goes on, he may even be willing to accept that “it is God who justifies” if we allow him to change the subject soon after – then, he’ll simply use that as his ticket back to Egypt. In other words, cheap law will always let the flesh pervert sanctification into the process of needing grace less and less. Don’t you see? The Old Being will stop at nothing to get back to the old system. He will not mend his ways – the third time is not the charm! The demands cannot be used to sanctify any more than they could be used to save. They’re meant to reveal your nothingness and corner you before the Christ “who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification.”

Cheap law will never quiet the self-righteous being because it invites him to keep haggling over what he can do apart from Jesus. And that is why law must be costly. It must always get to the heart of the matter. It’s not only murder that deserves death, but hate. It’s not only adultery that condemns, but lust. Not only theft, but coveting. It’s not only what is done with your hands that is judged, but what is done in your heart. And so – it should be clear – this is not “let’s make a deal.” The deals have been cut. The law of Moses is more than you can afford. The Son that God did not spare is priceless. The grace Jesus gives is free. That’s all there is. But cheap law keeps us searching for something to leverage against our poverty. Only costly law will bring that search to an end. It empties our pockets and opens our hands – revealing this: unless the religious expert becomes a beggar, he will not be given the kingdom. Costly law closes in on us and puts this prayer in our mouth: “Be merciful to me, a sinner.” Don’t you know, it’s only those who have been bankrupted by God’s costly law that are eligible for the riches of His grace? Don’t you know, it’s only those who have been silenced by the demands of the law that become hearers of the promise? And so, here we are. Trapped by unmet legal demands on every side. Who will rescue us from this sentence of death? On trembling knees we hear the power of sin accusing us from every angle… until we become still and finally know we aren’t God. The Old Adam is held captive as he waits for the arrival of the master… the master that he expects will be a hard man who reaps, but never sows. His conditional heart races on… “what do I do, what do I do, what do I do.” Then, suddenly – the announcement. And we’re all ears. But the Master – the Last Adam – speaks the unexpected: “There is nothing left for you to do. I’ve done it all for you. It is finished.” Jesus has finished the job and rendered the Old Adam permanently unemployed. And that fact, as Forde says, “is the death of self and the birth of the new creature.” Nothing in our hands we bring and Jesus gives us everything. The Gospel kills us with kindness and raises us anew, to a life of self-forgetful love. And all this, by speaking something the Old Being fears worse than punishment… charity. A hand-out from a nail-pierced hand. A word of surprising grace.

2 Corinthians 3:7-18

The Kind of Revival We Need

IT IS GOOD for us to draw nigh unto God in prayer. Our minds are grieved to see so little attention given to united prayer by many churches.
How can we expect a blessing if we are too idle to ask for it? How can we look for a Pentecost if we never meet with one another, in one place, to wait upon the Lord? Brethren, we shall never see much change for the better in our churches till the prayer meeting occupies a higher place in the esteem of Christians.
But now that we have come together, how shall we pray? Let us not degenerate into formality, or we shall be dead while we think we live. Let us not waiver through unbelief, or we shall pray in vain. Oh, for great faith with which to offer great prayers!
We have been mingling praise and prayer together as a delicious compound of spices, fit to be presented upon the altar of incense through Christ our Lord; may we not at this time offer some special far-reaching petition? It is suggested to me that we pray for a true and genuine revival of religion throughout the world.

 A Real and Lasting Revival

I am glad of any signs of life, even if they should be feverish and transient, and I am slow to judge any well intended movement, but I am very fearful that many so called revivals in the long run wrought more harm than good. A species of religious gambling has fascinated many men, and given them a distaste for the sober business of true godliness.
But if I would nail down counterfeits upon the counter, I do not therefore undervalue true gold. Far from it. It is to be desired beyond measure that the Lord would send a real and lasting revival of spiritual life.
We need a work of the Holy Spirit of a supernatural kind, putting power into the preaching of the Word, inspiring all believers with heavenly energy, and solemnly affecting the hearts of the careless, so that they turn to God and live. We would not be drunk with the wine of carnal excitement, but we would be filled with the Spirit. We would behold the fire descending from heaven in answer to the effectual fervent prayers of righteous men. Can we not entreat the Lord our God to make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the people in this day of declension and vanity?

Old-fashioned Doctrine

We want a revival of old-fashioned doctrine. I know not a single doctrine which is not at this hour studiously undermined by those who ought to be its defenders. There is not a truth that is precious to the soul which is not now denied by those whose profession it is to proclaim it. To me it is clear that we need a revival of old-fashioned gospel preaching like that of Whitefield and Wesley.
The Scriptures must be made the infallible foundation of all teaching; the ruin, redemption and regeneration of mankind must be set forth in unmistakable terms.

Personal Godliness

Urgently do we need a revival of personal godliness. This is, indeed, the secret of church prosperity. When individuals fall from their steadfastness, the church is tossed to and fro; when personal faith is steadfast, the church abides true to her Lord.
It is upon the truly godly and spiritual that the future of religion depends in the hand of God. Oh, for more truly holy men, quickened and filled with the Holy Spirit, consecrated to the Lord and sanctified by His truth.
Brethren, we must each one live if the church is to be alive; we must live unto God if we expect to see the pleasure of the Lord prospering in our hands. Sanctified men are the salt of society and the saviours of the race.

Domestic Religion

We deeply want a revival of domestic religion. The Christian family was the bulwark of godliness in the days of the puritans, but in these evil times hundreds of families of so-called Christians have no family worship, no restraint upon growing sons, and no wholesome instruction or discipline. How can we hope to see the kingdom of our Lord advance when His own disciples do not teach His gospel to their own children?
Oh, Christian men and women, be thorough in what you do and know and teach! Let your families be trained in the fear of God and be yourselves “holiness unto the Lord”; so shall you stand like a rock amid the surging waves of error and ungodliness which rage around us.

Vigorous, Consecrated Strength

We want also a revival of vigorous, consecrated strength. I have pleaded for true piety; I now beg for one of the highest results of it. We need saints. We need gracious minds trained to a high form of spiritual life by much converse with God in solitude.
Saints acquire nobility from their constant resort to the place where the Lord meets with them. There they also acquire that power in prayer which we so greatly need. Oh, that we had more men like John Knox, whose prayers were more terrible to Queen Mary than 10,000 men! Oh, that we had more Elijahs by whose faith the windows of heavens should be shut or opened!
This power comes not by a sudden effort; it is the outcome of a life devoted to the God of Israel! If our life is all in public, it will be a frothy, vapoury ineffectual existence; but if we hold high converse with God in secret, we shall be mighty for good. He that is a prince with God will take high rank with men, after the true measure of nobility.
Beware of being a lean-to; endeavour to rest on your own walls of real faith in the Lord Jesus. May none of us fall into a mean, poverty-stricken dependence on man! We want among us believers like those solid, substantial family mansions which stand from generation to generation as landmarks of the country; no lath-and-plaster fabrics, but edifices solidly constructed to bear all weathers, and defy time itself.
Given a host of men who are steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, the glory of God’s grace will be clearly manifested, not only in them, but in those round about them. The Lord send us a revival of consecrated strength, and heavenly energy!
Preach by your hands if you cannot preach by your tongues. When our church members show the fruits of true godliness, we shall soon have inquiries for the tree which bears such a crop.
Oh the coming together of the saints is the first part of Pentecost, and the ingathering of sinners is the second. It began with “only a prayer meeting”, but it ended with a grand baptism of thousands of converts. Oh that the prayers of believers may act as lode stones to sinners! Oh that every gathering of faithful men might be a lure to attract others to Jesus! May many souls fly to Him because they see others speeding in that direction.
“Lord, we turn from these poor foolish procrastinators to thyself, and we plead for them with thine all-wise and gracious spirit! Lord, turn them and they shall be turned! By their conversion, pray that a true revival has commenced tonight! Let it spread through all our households, and then run from church to church till the whole of christendom shall be ablaze with a heaven-descended fire!”

Let’s Revise the Popular Phrase “In, but Not of”

 

by David Mathis | August 29, 2012/DesiringGod BlogPermalink

In, but not of”— if you’ve spent much time Christian circles, you’re probably familiar with this popular phraseIn the world, but not of the world. It captures a truth about Jesus’s followers. There’s a real sense in which we are “in” this world, but not “of” it.

In, but not of. Yes, yes, of course.

But might this punchy phrase be giving the wrong impression about our (co)mission in this world as Christians? The motto could seem to give the drift, We are in this world, alas, but what we really need to do is make sure that we’re not of it.

In this way of configuring things, the starting place is our unfortunate condition of being “in” this world. Sigh. And our mission, it appears, is to not be “of” it. So the force is moving away from the world. “Rats, we’re frustratingly stuck in this ole world, but let’s marshal our best energies to not be of it.” No doubt, it’s an emphasis that’s sometimes needed, but isn’t something essential being downplayed?

We do well to run stuff like this through biblical texts. And on this one in particular, we do well to turn to John 17, where Jesus uses these precise categories of “in the world” and “not of the world.” Let’s look for Jesus’s perspective on this.

Not of This World

On the eve of his crucifixion, Jesus prays to his Father in John 17:14–19,

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Notice Jesus’ references to his disciples being “not of the world.” Verse 14: “The world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” And there it is again in verse 16: “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

Let’s all agree it’s clear that Jesus does not want his followers to be “of the world.” Amen. He says that he himself is “not of the world,” and his disciples are “not of the world.” Here’s a good impulse in the slogan “in, but not of.”

It’s Going Somewhere

But notice that for Jesus being “not of the world” isn’t the destination in these verses but the starting place. It’s not where things are moving toward, but what they’re moving from. He is not of the world, and he begins by saying that his followers are not of the world. But it’s going somewhere. Jesus is not huddling up the team for another round of kumbaya, but so that we can run the next play and advance the ball down the field.

Enter verse 18: “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” And don’t miss the surprising prayer of verse 15: “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.”

Sent into This World

Jesus is not asking his Father for his disciples to be taken out of the world, but he is praying for them as they are “sent into” the world. He begins with them being “not of the world” and prays for them as they are “sent into” the world.

So maybe it would serve us better — at least in light of John 17 — to revise the popular phrase “in, but not of” in this way: “not of, but sent into.” The beginning place is being “not of the world,” and the movement is toward being “sent into” the world. The accent falls on being sent, with a mission, to the world — not being mainly on a mission to disassociate from this world.

Crucified to the World — And Raised to It

Jesus’s assumption in John 17 is that those who have embraced him, and identified with him, are indeed not of the world. And now his summons is our sending — we are sent into the world on mission for gospel advance through disciplemaking.

Jesus’s true followers have not only been crucified to the world, but also raised to new life and sent back in to free others. We’ve been rescued from the darkness and given the Light not merely to flee the darkness, but to guide our steps as we go back in to rescue others.

So let’s revise the popular phrase “in, but not of.” We Christians are not of this world, but sent into it. Not of, but sent into.

 

Curiosity Kills Your Soul

 

By Matthew Wireman

“Men must not be too curious in prying into the weaknesses of others. We should labour rather to see what they have that is for eternity, to incline our heart to love them, than into that weakness which the Spirit of God will in time consume, to estrange us. Some think it strength of grace to endure nothing in the weaker, whereas the strongest are readiest to bear with the infirmities of the weak” (Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed, 33).

I have been reading Sibbes’ work on the mercy of Christ toward us. The book is an extended meditation on Isaiah 42.1-3. I have been reading it in my personal devotions, and I have been reminded by Christ’s persevering patience with me. How often have I been a smoking flax–a reed that does not give off heat nor light–yet the Lord does not view such paltry devotion as condemnable. Rather, he condescends and fans into flame that smoldering wick so that I can enjoy him more. What may seem like an endless cycle of failed attempts, he views the good.

Sibbes, here, challenges us to reflect the same merciful inclination in our dealings with others. How quick am I to write off someone who rubs me the wrong way. How sure I am that this person is weak in faith and in need of rebuke. How dead set on dealing out justice am I that I cannot see God’s mercy on display in my brother.

I am a curious fellow. Yet, Sibbes challenges the assumption that curiosity–the need to know the intricacies of someone’s sin or weaknesses–is not altogether noble. Rather, curiosity bends toward an inclination to judging again the one whom God has pronounced “not guilty” in his tribunal. The need to gather all pertinent information stems from a desire to sit in the dock and pronounce on others what I would not dare they know or pronounce on me.

Our tendency should be towards wanting to see the good in others, not digging up graves that have been long-sealed when this brother put his faith in the Christ.

“What about leaders?” someone may ask. “Aren’t they held to a different standard?” Surely the pastor will be held to a stricter judgment, that’s why he shouldn’t be too quick to assume the office (James 3.1). Yet, the judgment James speaks about is the Final Judgment performed by the Triune God. This is not an earthly tribunal, nor is it an ad hoc court set up in the figment of our own minds. Rather, God pleads with us to exercise judgment with mercy (James 2.13).

Surely, a leader who sins repeatedly must be rebuked. A leader who is unrepentant must be ousted. But the leader who sins, and seeks forgiveness, should be forgiven. We should not exact perfection, nor should we use a canon distinct from our own lives.

I fear that those who so quickly give in to curiosity will find that the proclivity toward mercy will show that they had not received mercy. Those who so quickly write off Scripture’s admonition to cover over sin with love will grope for this kindness and find it wanting toward them.

May we be quick to forgive and slow to condemn. May we entrust right judgment to God. And as we find ourselves in the already-not yet, may we admonish the unrepentant. As we live in the time between the times, may we proactively and persistently give mercy. A mercy that is imperfect, but perpetual. To the degree that we have received mercy, may we give such beautiful and resplendent mercy.

Getting To Know You – Wesley Sweigart

The Getting to Know You series is a series that we will be starting on the blog to help the church get to know our faithful interns that support M28, the college ministry here at CrossWay. On our first post, we have the privilege to introduce you to Wesley Sweigart.

Who I am

Hello, my name is Wesley Sweigart. I’m here today to say a bit about how I got to where I am and where I’m going from there. I am a Charlottean, born and raised, and I have been a part of CrossWay my entire life. I’ve been blessed to be a part of Mission28 the past two years, and have helped serve on the Leadership Team over the past year. It has been encouraging to see all that God has done through this ministry, from people committing or recommitting their lives to Christ, to those who realize a new depth in their relationship with their heavenly Father. I’m currently in the middle of my college career, but I’m taking a year off to focus on evangelism at UNCC, and I couldn’t be more excited about this new period of my life.

What I’m doing

This year, I have the opportunity to serve with Mission28 as a full-time intern. I will be on campus reaching out to students as well as helping with ministry administration, planning, and coordination. I’m so excited to see what God has in store for us this year at M28.

Please join me in praying

1)    That I would receive support for this year. It is my hope that I would be able to raise all the funds that I need for this year so I can have my focus fully on the mission at UNCC.

2)    That the Lord of the Harvest would send out workers. There are multitudes of lost souls at UNCC, and there is a need for students with a heart heavy for the lost, who will go out and share the gospel. The Lord will build his church.

 

Change is possible!

By Jeremy Oddy

Consider reading over the quote below for encouragement.  Read each line carefully and slowly and meditate over each principle as your heart becomes full of the love of Christ in what he has done for you, doing in you, and will do for you.  And know this, he is doing the same thing in your spouse, friend, child, and anyone else who is in Christ.

Paul Tripp writes:

Change is possible because the King has come!  In all of this, God’s ultimate goal is his own glory. Christ came to restore people to the purpose they were made for: to live every aspect of their lives in worshipful, obedient submission to him.  He accomplishes this by breathing life into dead hearts so that we grasp our need for him.  He lives sinlessly, keeping the law on our behalf.  He lays down his life as a penalty for sin, so that we can be fully forgiven.  He adopts us into his family, giving us all the rights and privileges of his children.  He daily conforms us to his own image.  He enables us by his grace to do what is right.  His Spirit lives inside us, convicting of sin, illuminining truth, and giving us the power to obey.  He places us in the body of Christ where we can learn and grow.  He rules over every event for his glory and our good.  He makes us the objects of his eternal, redemptive love. The Bible calls this change redemption.  We are not only changed, we are restored to God.  This is what makes all other change possible (Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand, 6-7).

Praise God!  We are a blessed people indeed!  So, we know that this is all true.  However, we can sometimes forget or not believe one or a few of these truths in our own lives.  Talk to a friend or your spouse about some of these truths that you tend to forget or not believe at times.  Ask God for help, because all of our hope is based on a Person, not on our (or someone else’s) performance or a principle.