04 Oct Catalyst Session 4: Francis Chan
Francis Chan is a pastor of a church in So. Cal.
It is actually possible to be successful preacher and have a growing church–and not really love the people of your church. It is also possible to be successful outwardly and not really be in love with Jesus.
In the early days of my faith I had a deep passion for people, the lost friends in my high school, the people that I worked with in the Mexican Restaurant I worked at. I had a huge love for God and for people…and then I got into ministry.
And I am constantly fighting to keep this from becoming just a job. I am working hard to be aware of the tendency I have to drift away from the core of what this is all about.
Paul talks in Galatians of how God had selected him to be used by Him from birth. This thing we do is not something we should treat casually. God ordained us into His service. He has filled our bodies with the very Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead! That is some serious power!
So do you really speak and serve out of that reality?
Jeremiah 1:4 tells us that Jeremiah was known by God BEFORE he was even formed in the womb. So God knew us before he actually created us. In verse 5 he goes on to say that…before birth I had selected Jeremiah to be a prophet.
Does God really think that about me? Did he really have this specific a destiny for me even before I was conceived? Do you really believe that God wanted you hear on this earth because He had a design for you so important and so essential that only you could fulfill?
Jeremiah’s response to this knowledge was…‘I don’t think I can? I don’t really talk that well.’ But God rebuked him and told him that he was not to doubt himself or refuse to go out of fear.
At the end of the day, we have to not only believe that we are uniquely designed and called by God, we also have to do the very unique thing God designed us to do. It’s fine to learn from other successful pastors and churches, but we need to get back to the place where we get alone with God and listen for the unique and specific things God wants you to do in your context.
And just in case Jeremiah didn’t get the point of God’s call, listen to what God says in v. 17:
Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.
Question: Am I really ready to say whatever Jesus called me to say? Jeremiah was called to say some very difficult things. Are you willing to say WHATEVER Jesus calls you to say?
Jesus did not build a popular ministry. He challenged people to pick up their cross and follow. The large crowds found His sayings so hard that they departed from Him. If Jesus had a church in the same city as me, I would probably have a bigger ministry. People would leave his church and come to mine because He would say much more challenging things that I tend to say.
I don’t want to present to Jesus a lukewarm church of a bunch of people who sort of love Jesus. I want to present a ‘bride’ of people in my local church that are passionate radical followers who are willing to give up everything to please Him. I could spend my life for that. Building a big building or a big crowd, what good is that?
I want to build a BRIDE for Jesus. I want to fulfill the complete mission and destiny that I was born to fulfill. I want to live up to the capabilities of the Holy Spirit that is alive within my soul. I don’t want to do the typical thing, or the thing people expect me to do. I want to do what Jesus has for my life.