Thursday, June 22, 2006

When the House is on Fire

I receive about 8,734 newsletters a month. Of which, 8,731 make the circular file after a brief glance. One of the ones I read fairly thoroughly is from Missions Resource Network. My good friend Alan Phillips is the Associate Director and my buddy, Matt Waldron's dad, Bob, is the Executive Director. Earlier this week, I read an article by Bob Waldron that has impacted me significantly. I contacted Bob and asked him for permission to reprint it.

When the House is on Fire By Dr. Bob Waldron

A lot of folks today are twisting the Scriptures like a veritable pretzel to escape the fact that people are lost without Christ. Not just unfulfilled or lonely or lacking a relationship with the Lord, but lost.

Lostness is why Peter in Acts 2, stood before thousands of his countrymen and passionately pleaded, "Save yourselves!"” He did not suggest five ways to add meaning to their lives, or two principles to put in their backpacks as they began their journey with God. Instead, he boldly urged them to escape the certain fate of this perverse world by repenting and being baptized to wash away their sins.

Jim Reapsome, editor of World Pulse from 1982-1997, described the urgency and passion of a mother standing on the street corner screaming at firefighters to save her children from a house engulfed in flames. If I read Peter'’s words correctly, I sense a similar passion.

Missionaries head for the field in a steady stream, but I wonder if they have the passion of the mother who wanted her children rescued. Or do they witness the scene from a safe distance, as we might do with another episode of the nightly news? Are their professors and mentors gripped by the world'’s lostness? Are the churches that send our missionaries sacrificially giving, praying and supporting them with a fierce commitment to snatch the perishing from the fire (Jude 23)?

Reapsome asks how we can recapture Peter's spirit and put proclamation back on the front burner of the missions agenda. His answer: by walking in Peter's sandals.

- He experienced the resurrected Christ.

-• He was overwhelmed with the Holy Spirit.

-• He gazed on the Pentecost multitude, seeing them not as a distant, faceless mass, but as human beings in mortal danger.

That'’s when his emotions kicked in. Leonard Gray, a dear friend and former missionary to South Africa, used to say that the problem with our churches is that there are too many dry-eyed preachers speaking to too many dry-eyed people on the pews. What we need is a restoration of New Testament emotions. Somehow Peter's passion and urgency must spill out of our churches, schools and missionaries like a raging flood that smashes everything in its path. Only then will we rescue the perishing, plant churches worldwide and bring honor to the One who was crucified on their behalf.


Brandon Scott said...

check your email. Just sent you a nice little gifty.

Stephen Bailey said...

Glad I don't have a dry eyed preacher. Keep bringing it with passion!