When I was asked to share a thought with my Foursquare family, immediately the Holy Spirit took me back to my first steps in ministry. In those days, I was painfully disoriented in my new way of life.
I came to know the Lord when I was 44 years of age. Since my childhood, I had lived a very mundane and sinful life. So, to all of a sudden go into this wonderful journey of knowing Christ as my Lord and Savior, was shocking yet, at the same time, a beautiful experience. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17, NKJV). All things were becoming new for me.
Even though I was a new creation, it didn’t feel like it. I still was confused, practically lost, trying to find this new path that had eluded me all my life. But God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, brought into my life a couple of wonderful mentors: Raymundo Diaz and Harold Helms. These two men were like drill sergeants in Christian-ministry boot camp. They prepared me for my future calling. Eventually, the time came for me to take the message elsewhere, and I was sent packing to a city that I didn´t want to go to—Fresno, Calif.
Thirty-five years have passed since I came to Christ, and almost 30 since my family and I moved to the city of Fresno, which I now absolutely love and am proud to call home. However, all these years of ministry have not erased the joy of conveying the message of love and redemption to past and current generations.
We, as messengers of our Lord, go through different seasons and stages during our church experiences. I remember the personal prophecy times, as well as the weird manifestation times: the barking, roaring, drunkenness in the spirit, people falling, prosperity, megachurches and humanistic approaches. Nowadays we are experiencing more of a technology-based church, with wireless microphones, closed-circuit television, live-streaming and simultaneously preaching to multiple campuses.
Consequently, I came to wonder again how to convey the gospel message without lessening its integrity and power. The gospel message is supposed to be the same as that which was preached 2,000, 1,000, 300 and even just 35 years ago. I question, how we can impact this new generation of millennials with a message that will touch them in the same way that it touched me and transformed me into a messenger?
In John Bevere´s book Honor’s Reward, I learned that we must honor God first if we are to honor the people, the church and God’s message. Each generation seeks a message that can fit into their way of thinking and living; some of them even demand a message that does not disturb their wants and pleasures. But God’s message is unchanging, and there are people who are sincerely seeking truth and are tired of living in sin and despair, as I once was.
I know firsthand the challenges that come with learning to live with integrity before God. It may not be easy to change your path, but I know it’s possible and worth it. The messengers of Christ need to be rooted in the integrity of His message. Only then, regardless of technology, diversity of programs or multiple campuses, will the gospel message impact our cities.
When I was a rookie pastor, I found myself preparing a sermon when the Lord guided me to Luke 10:38-42. This is the passage when Jesus is having a good time in the house of some good friends, including two sisters who love Him equally. However, the Bible tells us that Martha was worried and busied herself. In today’s lingo, we can assume she’d be worried about the speakers, the microphones, the food, the flowers, music and flyers. But her sister, Mary, was content to simply sit at Jesus’ feet. When Martha complained, Jesus simply told her Mary had chosen the best thing to do.
This passage became engraved in my heart, and when I have doubts about the integrity of my message, I stop and kneel at His feet. I have grasped the beauty and importance of spending time with Him, and, like Mary, I know that I have chosen the best part.
I invite you to go beyond just serving Him, to the place where we honor Him. Take time at His feet. Open your heart, and fill it with His wisdom, love and integrity. Eventually, the other stuff will be added unto you.
- Pray for wisdom in the ways of reaching this new generation.
- Pray to God for power and integrity when preaching His message.
- Pray for our Foursquare leaders to keep on guiding the church as the Holy Spirit prompts.
Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.