I am writing this post from the Newark airport. In about an hour, I will be heading home to my family in Los Angeles. I have preached three messages at the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, where my friend Barron Wilson is the pastor. I preached some of my “get fired” sermons – messages that I preach and then don’t get invited back. But the Mt. Calvary received the messages prayerfully and attentively. And Pastor Wilson asked me to come back next year!
I also had the opportunity to spend some time this week with my boyhood friend, Joe Carter, and my fellow-blogger, Lance Mann.
I am going home physically exhausted, but spiritually refreshed.
I miss my family!!!
God willing, in the morning I will continue my series on the beatitudes with a message on Matthew 5:7: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
Meditating on this verse this week has been stimulating, challenging, and somewhat burdensome. I think this statement of Jesus addresses the reason why the Christian church in American is not more fruitful in winning the lost, changing lives, and transforming the culture. Unfortunately, we are so busy being right that we have forgotten to be merciful.
As I read the Gospels, I see that sinful and outcast people were attracted to Jesus. And he received them lovingly, without compromising his spiritual priorities. But it seems that the church today is more like a convention of Pharisees, rather than followers of the Lord Jesus. We don’t want to be deals with sinners and they don’t want to deal with us. Where is the ministry of mercy?
I believe that revival and reformation in our day require that we both proclaim the truth about Jesus and demonstrate the love of Jesus. Did you get that? It’s both/and, not either/or.
May the Lord help me to confront and encourage the members of MSMBC with the subversive politics of the kingdom tomorrow morning by declaring the blessedness of extending and receiving mercy.