Tag Archives: conversion

Being Ananias: Ministry to those we Fear

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.  Acts 9:17-19

Have you ever wondered why exactly Ananias was necessary to Paul’s conversion experience?  Doesn’t it seem like a lot of extra (unnecessary) steps?  God could have handled this entire conversion experience so much more efficiently by just handling it Himself.  What is the point of blinding Paul until a fellow believer could come to him and play a part in helping Paul see again?  Friends, I believe we, the church, must answer these questions if we are to understand God’s expectations of us.

I have built an entire ministry around the proposition that the church is not just one alternative plan to reach this broken world, but rather is God’s only plan.  I believe this with all my heart.  Christian Unity Ministries is not about finding alternative ways to reach the communities of the world…it is about bringing health and vitality to the only vehicle God has already ordained for that work: his church. And a big part of that work involves helping churches become the people God expects us to become in order to love well, whether the objects of that love are within the church or outside the church. If we are to be God’s vehicle for reaching a lost and broken world, we must learn to minister even to those in our culture with whom we strongly disagree or fear.…

Not for the Hope of Winning Heav’n…

Tuesday Re-mix –

My Eternal King

Original author unknown.  Translated from Latin to English by Edward Caswall, 1849.

 

My God, I love Thee;
not because I hope for heav’n thereby,
Nor yet because who love Thee not
Must die eternally.

Thou, O my Jesus, Thou didst me
Upon the cross embrace;
For me didst bear the nails, the nails and spear,
And manifold disgrace.

Why, then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
Should I not love Thee well?
Not for the hope of winning heav’n,
Or of escaping hell;

Not with the hope of gaining aught,
Not seeking a reward;
But as Thyself hast loved me,
O ever-loving Lord!

E’en so I love Thee, and will love,
And in Thy praise will sing;
Solely because Thou art my God,
And my Eternal King.

I have been taking a look  at four New Testament conversion experiences: Zaccheus’, Paul’s, Lydia’s and the Philippian jailer’s.  It was a Bible study exercise on living a missional life.  Having been raised in a denomination with heavy Puritan influences and which is therefore pretty single-mindedly focused on salvation, I am dumbfounded by this observation of these conversion experiences: none of them included any promise of heaven.  Here are four of the most well-known conversion experiences in the Bible, and every one of them happened without even discussing heaven or hell or the after-life.  All of these people were motivated only by the promise of Spiritual significance, i.e., spiritual meaning now as opposed to eternal life later.

Please do not misunderstand me here.  The Bible teaches us about heaven and hell and “after-life” consequences of the choices we make during life.  I don’t question that.  But I am beginning to question whether our obsession with the promise of heaven is a bit misplaced.  Jesus did not …