This is an unusually blessed morning, for we have the privilege to honor the men who represent God much more than they realize. I want to join with everyone is wishing a Happy and Blessed Father’s Day to all of the dad’s that are joining us today. An Unknown Author once observed that…
“A Father is a man who has photographs in his wallet where his money use to be.”
Unfortunately, I have first-hand experience concerning the veracity of that observation. :-) Nevertheless Brothers, with or without cash, I pray the Lord bless you with strength, rest, and peace today. You are a unique and significant gift, not only to the Body of Christ, but also to a society that desperately needs for the MEN OF GOD to step into the gaping holes within our Cultural and Spiritual fabric.
There has been an enormous paradigm shift in the way our nation views Christianity and Christians. The Visible is making a declaration that a War is going on in the Invisible Realm and the times in which we live our increasingly perilous. The Apostle Paul prophesied of this day…
2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV - But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
We need men to be MEN. We need you to be fathers and husbands, mentors and leaders, servants and warriors in the House of God and in our Community. We need you to “fan into flame the Gift of God that is within you,” and we when you see a need in your home, your neighborhood, your church, your city, your nation…ACT! If you are older, be a Spiritual Grandfather. If you are a little younger, be a Spiritual Father. If you are younger still, be a Spiritual Brother; and all of us are Sons…Sons of the Most High. Let us act accordingly!
1 Corinthians 15:58 AMP - Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord -- that is, always being superior (excelling, doing more than enough) in the service of the Lord, knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile -- never wasted or to no purpose.
During our SALT (Serving And Leading Together) services, we have begun a discussion about our neighborhood, the Fruitvale Community, the City of Oakland, and the East Bay. It is time for the Patten Community of Faith to begin laying out the principles that are necessary to both continue and extend our influence beyond our campus.
Two imperatives have already been discussed: committing to the LOVE of Christ as our CORE COMPETENCY, and making the GLORIFICATION of Christ our HIGHEST PRIORITY!
The Word of God tells us that when the Apostle Paul went to Athens, “He reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there (Acts 17:17 NIV84).”
As was often his practice, Paul went into the synagogue to reason with those who would have a value for, and understanding of, the Scriptures. First addressing those with a similar culture, familiar values, and a common language to foster communication.
Similarly, the modern Church Gathering, whether in a Cathedral, a tent, or a House, is like the ancient synagogues: an Outpost of Light within the Darkness, a Place of Worship, Learning, and Fellowship. The ministry in the “synagogue” is valuable, and it is likely the most productive place to start reaching a city or region.
However, the Church was never intended to be an isolated castle hidden behind moats and barriers. The Life of the Church and its Ministry is not simply somewhere we go, but it is something we are to BRING into the marketplace of our lives and community. We must embrace the Ministry within our “synagogue,” or “campus,” our “Faith Community;” but we must also take the NEXT step and as the Apostle Paul demonstrated, we must make it a point to step out of the comfortable surroundings of our “synagogue” and daily enter the marketplace to reach those who would not have had a value in, or reference to, the Messiah of Israel.
The Secular Community has deemed Christianity to be irrelevant, and even further it is no longer neutral regarding our Faith, it is openly opposing it. We must intentionally get “back into the marketplace day by day (Acts 17:17 NIV84).”
Every day is a new day for us; and each step is one that we have never taken before. Nevertheless, this is an Ancient Walk of Faith. It began long before you and I and it finds it’s completion the Person of our Lord Jesus Himself. Your journey…Your walk…Our walk…did not begin with just us or just you. We are all standing upon the shoulders of others. The Church has been forged with the blood of martyrs, the sacrifices of saints, the faithfulness of the persecuted, the preaching of the missionaries, and the worship of every tribe and language and people and nation. Oh, it is not only YOUR walk, but it is OUR walk! It is not based upon a Doctrine Du Jour, but it is founded in the Ancient of Days Himself. Through the Prophet Jeremiah, the Lord said…
Jeremiah 6:16 VOICE - Stand at the crossing, and consider the ancient path, for it is good and it leads to Me. Walk on this path, and you will find rest for your souls…
Likewise, at times the path can be very challenging. There is nothing easy about living a Life of Trust. To walk the path charted by faith, instead of leaning upon our own skills and capacity is counterintuitive to so much of our natural inclinations. In order to do this requires us to intentionally choose the Promise of Scripture and the Presence of His Spirit over the false security of trusting ourselves. The stakes are too high, the suffering too real, and our need for God is too great to leave to an earthly remedy alone.
The consequences of Human failure and sin are far-reaching, and they never stay with a single generation. There is nothing easy about helping others, healing the wounded, restoring the broken, or lifting the downcast. Doubts, fears, our Adversary, and even the very system of this Fallen World will always conspire to hinder us along the way. In spite of these difficulties, our Lord Jesus has good news for us. He said…
John 16:33 AMP - I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
Dr. Tobey Montgomery