Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ready to Risk What It Takes?

I am a preacher. I know there are those who would say, "No; that is what you do." It may be something I do, true; but it is who I am. I was called TO BE a preacher. The verb, "to be" is one that declares my identity. So my identity is that of BEING a preacher.

As a preacher, I must take risks. Among the greatest of those, I must risk failure. Yes, preachers fail. Before you begin to go moral in your thought process, let me explain that. Every time I stand to preach I risk failure. If I have not met with God before preaching, I have failed. If I do not connect with my audience, I have failed. So I must risk failure.

But I have discovered that it is possible to take such risks and also be comfortable in doing so. Standing to preach in a plushly carpeted, air-conditioned, soft-seat and well-lit auditorium in America is comfortable. But now I have observed others and discovered I can sit on a nice, tall chair and preach. I can put on my Ked's or Converse, my jeans, my wrinkled shirt, and I can be one of the guys while I preach. I can expound the word of God for 30 minutes, give a brief invitation to respond to the word, shake some hands, shed some tears with broken believers, and then climb in my air-conditioned, leather-seated SUV and drive off to lunch somewhere. Yes, I can be comfortable, even as I risk failure.

Or, I can risk failure in other ways. I can take up the Pauline mantle and be a missionary to the Gentiles. Or I can take up the Petrine mantle and be a missionary to the Jews. I could even take up the Thomasine mantle and go to India, if church traditions about that are correct. But the risk is far greater. The risk is far more important. Consider the following excellent video from IMB.

There is a big world waiting for you to do what it takes; waiting for you to risk it all.

In case you don't know anything about me and my wife, we did risk it all. Please let me brag, and do it to the glory of the Lord. We were front-line missionaries, appointed in 1988 and who returned in 2010 in obedience to God's call.

We do risk it all. My wife just returned from Chile; I went to a secret location in Asia and ministered to Christ-followers who risked going to jail just by being in the same room with me, as I taught them the word of God. And I am headed to South America in October to challenge Peruvians to go into all the world and to risk it all.

Yes, we risked it all. We risked terrorism. We risked robberies. We risked failing health and major illnesses. We risked persecution. We risked dangers on the road and in the air.

We would risk it again tomorrow if God sent us. The glory of God is worth doing what it takes. The lostness of man and the love of Christ are worth doing what it takes. Are you ready to do that? Are you ready to risk what it takes?

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