Saturday, October 27, 2012

Only One Rock Star

Read something recently that referred to an apparently famous pastor as "something of a rock star in evangelical circles."  Been pondering that a bit over the last couple of days.

As I've pondered, I've started into the stories of the book of Acts.  Haven't gotten very far.  Still stuck in verse three of the first chapter.

Jesus, having defeated death, appears to his disciples over a period of forty days and conducts the first seminary ever.  Can you imagine the cred that Jesus has at this point?  They watched death take this guy.  Must've been human after all.  They watched this guy pry death's fingers off his own throat.  Must be, well, God!  And now, he's going to give us some pointers?  I'm thinking this was a pin-drop zone.

So what does he talk about?

He appeared to them over a period of forty days
and spoke about the kingdom of God.

The first time I heard our Papuan pastor preach he was in this verse.  He did a full stop and asked himself and the congregation, "If this is what Jesus focused on during those forty days, why on earth do we spend so much time focusing on chasing the blessings of God instead of pursuing the kingdom of God?"

The guy can flat out preach.

As I came upon those same words in my own study, following the pastor's lead, I decided to spend some time trying to figure out what this kingdom is all about.

I suppose one should always start these kinds of things with the obvious.  It could have been a democracy of God, or a republic of God, but it's a kingdom. And a kingdom, for better or for worse, has a king.  And only one king.  He's a good king, to be sure, but he is the king.

If we want to be rock stars, we're fooling ourselves if we think we can be rock stars in the kingdom of God.

There's only one rock star.

To have a rock star pulling the spotlight to his or her self  in 'evangelical circles' would seem to indicate that those circles must lie outside the kingdom of God circle.  Only room for one in that circle.  If I'm pulling the spotlight off the king towards myself I am a usurper.  You can't be a rock star and loyal to the king.  You can't promote the king and yourself at the same time.

The problem is, we all want to be rock stars.  It's what we got infected with at the Fall.  The biblical account tells us that the first one to want to be a rock star in God's kingdom got himself and his fan base thrown out.  Ever since, he's done a stand up job of convincing the rest of us to chase after that same goal, with equally devastating results.

Unchecked, our hunger to be rock stars within the kingdom of God results in much ugly, non-kingdom-of-God behavior.  Besides, a lot of rock stars die young, lonely, empty and chemically-altered deaths.  In other words, it ain't what its cracked up to be.

May we be content to serve the king, obscured from view to the rest of the world, knowing that the king has got his all-seeing eye on us and that rewards come later.

And what's this?  I take it all back, it seems like we can be rock stars after just looks a bit different:

If anyone want to be first,
he must be the very last,
and the servant of all.

Jesus makes it abundantly clear what rock stars (leaders?) look like in his kingdom.  Leadership is getting up and going to the back of the line.  It's nothing but service.  Service to the king and service to his subjects.  This takes character, not charisma.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

At the Foot of the Snows

As I've mentioned before, after leaving Nepal as an eleven year old boy over 30 years ago, the opportunity to go back three times this year was something I could never have scripted.  Simply a gift.

On the heels of that experience, it has been an absolute delight to read David Watter's account of his family's life and work among the Kham people in the mountains of western Nepal.

I've read a pile of missionary books...none quite like this one.  And none any better than this one.  Simply in terms of story, this is a great read.  Highly recommend it.

Click on the book cover here if you're interested in the hard copy--for the Kindle version click here.