September 15, 2017
"When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I will reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams" (Numbers 12:6b, NIV 1984).
It was raining and we could not see the mountains, but we could feel their glory in the freshness of the air. I was sitting in a Christian medical retreat in the mountains of central Asia. A young doctor-in-training was speaking about his life within a radical environment that does not allow the gospel to be preached. "Even before I heard about Jesus, God spoke to me in a dream and I believed. I could not be satisfied until I found the truth. A bookseller in a restricted part of town had a Bible in his window. It cost a lot but I bought it and I read it. I then found a church that would trust me and was baptized with Jesus as my Savior."
God sure works backward sometimes. I used to think God caught people by getting them to hear a good preacher or a well-done personal testimony, and then they begin to read the Bible and learn how to live right.
Sometimes God does work that way, but how shallow is our concept of the Holy Spirit if we think any method or pathway is laid in stone? We so often get mixed up in American churches about developing the right business model method for bringing the world to Christ: big church, small church, home church, high church, low church, Sunday School, small groups, door to door, mass crusade, embedded, internetted and so on. But these are only the method of our efforts, not the power of our efforts. Only God's power and God's Spirit bring people to Christ. Certainly, through His leadership different communities of faith bear witness in different ways to complete His master plan; but we should never fool ourselves into thinking our method of evangelism is the only model or that it has any power of its own. Our task as His followers is to be deliberate and faithful to bear witness with whatever method He directs us toward and to trust Him for the harvest. Sometimes, it only takes a dream.
"Give God elbow room; let Him come into His Universe as He pleases." -Oswald Chambers
Let me trust your way and hold fast to you as you move among us.