Wednesday, February 5, 2014


"For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice..." -Zechariah 4:10

In the last couple of weeks I have been reminded of how small I think. When I think of success, I think about winning. When I think about church growth, I think about adding people and baptisms. When I think about ministry, I think about maintaining what we've got, and maybe adding a couple of more good ideas sprinkled in the mix. When I think about missions, I think about one place or a few mission trips to an area.  When I think about devotional life, I think about sitting down and once a day and having a few moments of prayer, and checking off my bible reading for the day. When I think about discipling my family, I think about reading the bible and having a 5-10 minute discussion with my girls at night before they go to sleep and praying over meals.

So minimal. So small. I used to pray that God would not let me be sucked into complacency and a maintenance mindset. God has not failed, but I am sure that I have failed Him. So three times now challenged, and I want to summarize those challenges to you, so that your vision may increase in size and depth and length (and so I can write it down, lest I forget myself).

1) This first time was in a meeting with the president, CEO, and founder of a global milti-million dollar business that I was meeting with that day. He has invented a process of production of agricultural products never known before. And now that he has the warehouse, he is expanding the products that they make, and moving into completely new inventions and innovations on existing products totally unrelated to the current line. He is investing in our Pregnancy Care Center in a spectacular way by giving us 20% of any online order that is made; right out of his pocket, off the top, not added to the price! So I was there to update him on how the project is going. He wanted things to be marked with excellence, and some of the things we were doing to make the video part of this deal work (which by the way, he is paying for the production of), he wanted to be redone because it wasn't just right. Then he began to talk about his passion for ending abortion and saving the lives of unborn children with great zeal. He said that if he had to build a store in every shopping center in every town across the nation, he would do that. What ever it takes. I was just thinking about funding our center, he was thinking about funding all the centers in the US, and beginning PCCs all over the world. If it worked with us, he said, we can duplicate it all around the country and the world. I was embarrassed that my thinking was so small, and challenged to think bigger.

2) Second time was with a spiritual mentor of mine who had been on a recent trip to central America. He was a part of a team that helped work at an independent (not affiliated with a denomination) mission ministry. This ministry had a hospital and a school, so the team went for a week and helped out. Both ministries (hospital and school) were non-profit, pay if you can, but nobody turned away. While there, the head of the ministry told them that his goal was to be fully self-sustaining in five years. This was a ministry that had been established twenty years ago. But it had recently acquired some property, and was in the process of gaining income from agriculture and cutting expenses, to be self-sufficient. For example, he said that he currently pays $5000/mo ($60,000/year) in electricity costs. But for $120,000, he could install solar panels and eliminate that expense from there on out. Non-profit ministries usually totally rely on individual donors and churches for donations. But he says we don't always want to rely on "hand outs." Novel thought, not continually, eternally dependent on donations. Again, I am an advancement manager for a non-profit, and have never thought of being self-sustaining.

3) Third time was at a training for directors of missions of association of local baptist churches. One of the speakers gave a bunch of statistics about all the unchurched in our towns and projection to future stats. Blah, blah, blah, they always do that; and they are always depressing. But then he talked about evaluating our town and aiming to reach entire segments, or having large goals that wouldn't have been considered attainable. Specifically, he talked about prayer networking to undergird these goals. He talked about cross-denominational partnerships and prayer meetings (shhh, don't tell other baptists), and he talked about experiencing results to the level of history books that write about us as having the Third Great Awakening coming in our day. Taking our whole city! Involving all the churches.  My goal would be to have been that my churches growing (which is actually not a good indicator of church vitality) and not dying. Guess I never have dreamed to reach the city. I have thought of getting all my churches together; most recently of getting at lest 2/3 of our pastors to the retreat this weekend, rather than the normal 1/3 or less.  But gathering the whole city of churches for prayer and ministry! Again, embarrassed for having such small-minded thoughts.

As I went to the conference again yesterday, I was praying and thinking, WHY? Why do we get caught up in such small-mindedness? I believe that our thoughts about God are small--His incomprehensibility, infinitude, magnitude, power, His immeasurability, independence, holiness, and we could never stop. Tozer said it like this:  

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.
For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God.” -The Knowledge of the Holy 

I also believe the culture, both within and without the church has dulled our capacity to dream about the kingdom's victories and expanse. We are focused on earthly, temporary things that are small in God's sight. Television, the Super Bowl, fashion, cooking, cars, guns, even the upcoming Olympics consume and cloud our spiritual acumen. Within the church preferences, buildings, budgets, fights, quarrels, broken relationships, comfort, apathy, routine, and maintenance ruin our ability to dream big, all-encompassing dreams
God, help us to despise the days of small things, throw off the cultural influences and our capitulation to them, and fix our gaze on You, thinking thoughts that are worthy of you. Give us disciples that would explode the norm for Christianity in the south, in America, and in the world with giant impact for the kingdom because of giant dreams!

Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,

That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”  -Isaiah 49:6

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