Obedience is success. That’s the statement I wrote down as I started thinking of all the reasons I should stay put in a great church, in a great community, with a great future. Going into evangelism in the present evangelical church culture can be like buying oceanfront property in Arizona! But God encouraged me through the lives of two incredible men in Scripture: Noah and Jeremiah.
God told Noah that He was going to flood the earth because of all its wickedness, commanding Noah to build an ark that was over 500 feet long. Noah’s response, “Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.” Noah was more concerned with his obedience to God than he was about other people’s opinions of him. It was absolutely clear to me that only one opinion mattered…God’s.
The Lord used the life of Jeremiah to speak to me in a truly special way, “You shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you; and you shall call to them, but they will not answer you” (Jeremiah 7:27). Jeremiah proclaimed God’s message as passionately as any preacher ever has, yet many today would consider him unsuccessful because he had no measurable impact on his audience. Again, the message was clear. The issue was not whether people would respond to me as an evangelist but whether I would respond to God in obedience.
I’m not claiming to be in the same class with the Noah’s and Jeremiah’s of history; I’m not even close. What I am saying is that God used these two men of faith to help me take a giant step of faith. A step that for all practical and logical reasons seemed to be impractical and illogical.
It’s a year later. I’ve preached in over 35 churches, three associational meetings, and a half dozen or so FCA events. I’ve met with over a hundred pastors – either in leadership training or just hanging out around a table sharing a meal. All I can say is, “WOW! What a year!”
The kindness and generosity of so many people shown in so many ways have been overwhelming at times. Stacey and I have been absolutely amazed at God’s provision through His church and His people. “Thank You” seems so inadequate, but since I have no better words, “THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!”