So my great friend Jason Reeves calls me at about 10:15 this morning. He’s the preacher at the Grayston Church in New Diana, Texas. East Texas. On Lazy Daisy Lane. Seriously, that’s the name of the street. It’s out there, man. I call it Green Acres. When Jason says he’s going to town, he means he’s going to Gilmer. Yeah. So he tells me, “Stanglin, I just got a phone call that you’ve never ever had before in the history of your ministry.”
A woman at his church had called Jason to please come over and shoot a raccoon out of her tree.
He was on his way.
I’m curious as to how it went.
Ah, congregational ministry.
The priests and Levites are interrogating John the Baptist in the opening chapter of the Fourth Gospel. And the focus of the questioning is John himself. “Who are you? What are you doing?” And John’s answers are “I am not the Christ. I am not Elijah. I am not the prophet.”
“I’m just a voice,” he says, “making the way for the Lord.” And he points to Jesus. “He is the one…”
And this powerful preacher, this amazing proclaimer in the desert who’s drawing all these crowds and getting all this attention, keeps pointing others to Jesus. He deflects the spotlight. He doesn’t seek it and he doesn’t want it. “Look! The Lamb of God!”
He points two of his own disciples in Jesus’ direction. One of those men, Andrew, has an encounter with Jesus and is changed forever. He runs to get his brother. “We have found the Messiah! We have found the Christ!”
Philip has an encounter with Jesus and he’s changed forever. He runs to get his friend. “We have found the one Moses wrote about! We have found the one about whom the prophets wrote!”
These men come face to face with Jesus and they recognize immediately who he is. And they witness. They testify. They declare that Jesus is “Christ.” “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” “Rabbi.” “Messiah.” “Son of God.” “King of Israel.” And they cannot be stopped from sharing this revelation with their friends.
I wonder why we don’t grab our friends to share the Good News. Why aren’t we pointing people to Jesus? Well, when’s the last time you had an encounter with him? I’m not talking about a particularly inspirational church service. This is not about participating in a dynamic church program. When’s the last time you really opened yourself up to his leading? When’s the last time you spent an hour in the Gospels with him? When’s the last time you poured your heart out to him in prayer? When’s the last time you allowed him to change you?
In the New Testament, an encounter with the Christ naturally resulted in evangelism. We need an encounter. We need a face to face meeting with our Lord. We need to put aside our inhibitions and give ourselves freely to his transforming power. We need to allow him to change us. To move us. To compel us. We need to be awed again to be in his presence. We need to be blown away again by the fact that he’s rescued us. We need to grasp all over again just how much he loves us. We need to understand who he really is. Because, once we do, our lives will point everyone we know to Jesus.
The knot on the back of Mark Hooper’s head is good for distracting people during Bible class. It’s a good conversation piece. It’s a physical wonder and a medical curiosity. And today it’s a reminder that hope springs eternal in Surprise, Arizona.
That’s really sick, Mark.
Update: The raccoon was scared. Very scared. Refused to show his masked face for fear of the consequences. Live-trap now set….
For Mark Hooper….
I wish I had thought of that!