But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 2 Corinthians 2:14
The Church is the Body of Christ. In a very real sense, we carry on the incarnation of the living God which Jesus embodied. This is not to say we are in any way equal to the eternal, infinite divinity of Christ, but only that we carry on that portion of His ministry which included reflecting to the World by His actions, by His interactions, His love, His care, His holiness, the very nature and character of God. Likewise, we spread everywhere, as we are lead in the triumphal procession, the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ.
Over my years of ministry I’ve become increasingly convinced we will never see the cultural change we desire, the spiritual revival we need, until the culture sees this verse lived out in the church. Everywhere a Christian is, there should be the sweet aroma of life to those seeking it; a startling glimpse into the incredible Grace of God. Everywhere…at work, at the store, at home, in politics, science, education…everywhere.
And Yet, I see the young girl, wounded horribly by past abuses, who is controlled and compelled by such abuse, enslaved to deeds she doesn’t want, and hungers she can never fill. She bows her head under her shame and the shame of her abuser, she does not walk in triumph.
I see earnest, hard working Christians, who nonetheless find their efforts are not enough. They are still trapped by the unyielding masters: Frailty, decay, poverty, despair.
Not often, but too often, I see the Church leader who controls his flock through guilt; who leads with a tight noose of self righteousness. The leader who tells the young girl she is not worth better, is not capable of better, all the while requiring her to do better. The leader who tells the young man he’s not working hard enough, or maybe not smart enough. The leader who peddles formula after formula only to blame his congregants when the formulas inevitably fail. His aroma is not pleasing, and his church feels no triumph.
Too often the life we present in the Gospel is barely understood, barely realized in those presenting it. Martin Luther used to say we all needed to preach the Gospel to ourselves regularly. The church in every age, at every time is always in need of fresh reminders of the completeness of God’s Grace, of the triumphal procession we are lead in, of the fact that we are Christ’s captives and no others. Most of all that our God is incapable of lying, of capriciousness, of evil; that he cannot be persuaded, coaxed or cajoled to be more benevolent, because He is already eternally and infinitely Good. It is part of His very nature, and the Gospel is the center of the historical story and the point from which the universe is held together.
This is not to say that others are not preaching Grace. I am not one of those who believes that only I hold the true understanding of Scripture; that only I preach with truth and accuracy. Interestingly though, it is just this kind of line that has kept me from working more diligently to use my voice to share more broadly and more widely the Grace of God. I have a particular voice, a particular story (as do you) and I have been reluctant to put forth the effort, to take the risks necessary to go beyond my local church capacities with this message.
God has used the discomfort of the last months, the death of certain visions and expectations, the humility and anxiety of poverty, to make me consider what it might look like if I diligently pursued expanding the message of the Hidden Life to others. To simply add my voice to the voices out there which do preach Grace and Freedom and Life in Christ.
i’m currently working on a vision and mission statement; not because I believe such things are guarantees of success, or that lack of things guarantees failure, but for my own clarity. To be able to gauge whether what I am focused on will lead to this goal for freedom for individuals making up churches with Grace-filled leadership and communities of faith. When I’ve had time to talk it over with more people and make sure it allies with what I think God is calling me to do, I will share it here on this blog.
In the meantime, continue to pray.
Financial provision: The full time job I currently work is not enough, will never be enough.
My Family: Although on balance it’s been really good for my family to be lead on a journey for 20 years, which included sacrifice, faith and some degree of uncertainty, I really desire to provide more stability and reliability for them. I’m not sure if this is where God will lead us, but I don’t want to make them climb out unnecessarily onto any limbs that might break. Pray for their comfort, assurance, and my wisdom as I lead the through this.
Wisdom and time management. While the full time job I currently work is not enough, it also makes it difficult to make the phone calls I need to make and schedule what I need to schedule to make the conference in 2014 happen. It’s working out so far, but soon I will have to make some choices, just to do the conferences I’ve scheduled, let alone have time to schedule more.
Sell our house. We need to sell our house as quickly as possible. It’s an inherited albatross we need to shed.Find a place to land. When we sell our house we need to have some place to go with room for 9 people.
Conference bookings. I’ve discovered there are a range of personalities and planning styles among pastors as there are elsewhere. Some plan at the last minute, some years ahead. Working through all these approaches takes time. Currently January is looking to be booked up (or nearly so) which is great. February is following next, which is also great. Pray though for solid bookings so that we can enter 2014 with some stability for my wife, rather than a lot of hoping.
Your prayers are truly valuable and I do not take them lightly! Thank you for your love and support.
Of course if you are interested in booking a conference, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Smiling at the future (but I confess to some fear too!),
David “pastormac” Megill