I am one of many kids who grew up in the 1990’s and 2000’s in some church almost every Sunday but never really heard or understood the Gospel. And, like many, I fell in love with it’s author when I could see the world through the eyes of a majestic, mighty, and all powerful God. But sadly, church culture has become so much more religious standard than the light to the world that it was originally called to be. Pastors, elders, worship leaders, and youth pastors seem to be chosen more by profession, speech, and musical talent than by calling, grace, and love.
I wish to see the Body of Christ shine as the pure bride with out blemish that she was meant to be. That is why I believe in revival. Revival is something that happens to the church world-wide and I believe that as culture heads towards economic changes, social classes, and religious tolerance that the church will begin to remember the finish line. I am excited about what God can and will do with His people. But we must remember that revival is not something that we can push into gear. It’s actually quite the opposite, it is something that God Himself must breathe life into.
I live in Knoxville, Tennessee and am the husband to a wonderful wife whom it is a pleasure to serve everyday. I am also the father to a sweet three year old daughter, a feisty two year old son, and a curious one year old son. If I could give them anything and everything summed up, I would wish to teach them the love of Christ towards sinners. This will involve more than sitting them in Sunday schools, sending them strictly to Christian schools and colleges, thoroughly checking their church attendance, and making sure that they respect old people and play acoustic guitar well. I want them to see a real living God who is worthy of their worship. I want them not to respect someone because they will get punished if they don’t, but to respect human life because God sees it as precious.
In short I want them to see Jesus as worth devoting their lives to because there is no greater treasure that they would rather pursue. I want them to love spreading His Gospel with their lives, to desire the knowledge that would increase their worship of Him, to encourage each other, and to find the joy of the Lord that is found in a field that was completely overlooked by everyone who passed through it. That is my prayer for my children. And like revival this is not something that I can exert them into like a class briefing, kick in the pants, or even a motivational speech. Because we do not have the power as mortal men to resurrect what is already dead, this requires God’s Words that gives life. We cannot command the light to shine and expect it to do so just as we cannot command a dead man to rise up from his tomb and come forth alive. But the Living God and is also our Friend, Defender, and Father has the power to command life with one Word.
God’s Word is life to those who hear it. His Word became flesh. And now flesh can have life through His Word.
We do not pick up our Cross, crucify ourselves, and follow Christ through fires because we want avoid hell and receive a free ticket to heaven. As heavy as the descriptions of eternal fiery torment sound, even that is not a guilt trip solid or remotely sufficient to motivate us to serve and follow Jesus well enough. He is the Creator of the world and the earth is but His foot stool. We must follow Him because we desire something so beautiful as a treasure that can never be found anywhere else.
These are the theological truths that I have come to know and worship the Lord by. I pray that as you read through my blog that you will find something that exalts you and fans a flame in you for Christ. -Joel