Today, I have spent a good part of the day praying, reading the Bible and preparing for a number of “talks” and conversations I will give/have over the next few weeks. I have been invited to speak to a couple of groups about what I do and why. In addition, there are a couple of churches that would like for me to help them brainstorm what they can do to be a good neighbor and living incarnationally in their community and in our city. Admittedly, I am nervous and honored and excited at the same time! Never thought I would be asked to speak, however, with the Spirit’s guidance, it will be OK, actually more than OK.
While preparing, I’d also indulge myself with a few breaks of FB and Twitter, and I was stopped by this. John Piper (Pastor – Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN) tweeted the following ~
Resist the illusion that the gospel can be made popular. “You will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.” Matthew 24:9
Hmm….wow. That caught my attention. We are so grateful for the many supporters and encouragers we have in our life. You guys have been nothing short of AMAZING! However…in the short time I have lived here, it has not been without slander, character attacks, gossip and other forms of persecution. That shouldn’t catch me off guard, but some how it does. So, now…I kinda wonder…how many people have blocked me their FB feed, blame me for ‘bringing on my own trouble’, and make fun of my way-of-life and my faith, criticized us for our decisions, etc. hmmm. OK. Jesus told us that would occur here too…
John 15:18-21 (MSG)
Hated by the World
18-19“If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you. 20“When that happens, remember this: Servants don’t get better treatment than their masters. If they beat on me, they will certainly beat on you. If they did what I told them, they will do what you tell them.
21-25“They are going to do all these things to you because of the way they treated me, because they don’t know the One who sent me. If I hadn’t come and told them all this in plain language, it wouldn’t be so bad. As it is, they have no excuse. Hate me, hate my Father—it’s all the same. If I hadn’t done what I have done among them, works no one has ever done, they wouldn’t be to blame. But they saw the God-signs and hated anyway, both me and my Father. Interesting—they have verified the truth of their own Scriptures where it is written, ‘They hated me for no good reason.’
So, people hated on Jesus…and they will hate on me.
2 Corinthians 4:7-11 (MSG)
7-12If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!