… continued from yesterday… in honor of Crown's returning Internship students I am posting the manuscript from their commissioning on February 17, 2012…
Look at Hebrews. Who were the better followers of Jesus? In chapter 11, verses 1 to 35 all of this grand attention is given to these great heroes of faith. Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, somehow even Samson got in there (I don’t know how, but he did!), all these great heroes of faith and they did great things and they shut the mouths of lions and they conquered enemies and they did super stuff and I have tendency to think that’s what ministry is and everything is going to work out great for those who are called according to the name of God.
And then there is the end of that chapter that says this: Hebrews chapter 11 verse 35: “But others trusted God and were tortured, preferring to die rather than turn from God and be free… Some were mocked, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in dungeons. Some died by stoning, and some were sawed in half; others were killed with the sword. Some went about in skins of sheep and goats, hungry and oppressed and mistreated. They were to good for this world. They wandered over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All of these people we have mentioned received God’s approval because of their faith.”
Hebrews 12:1 says that ‘these’ are the great cloud of witness that surround us. People who before you have gone into ministry. And for some of them, and I pray for you, ministry was like Philip’s where it was blessed and fruitful and life-long.
But, you know, we shouldn’t miss the truth that it wasn’t all blissful for Philip. He had a friend who was killed in ministry. He had to flee his home and go to a Samaritan land. He lived a long life… yes… but it was in the shadow of persecution and oppression and the coming darkness that was about to seize the church. In ministry, my charge to you, what I have been trying to learn the last half of my ministry life, is that in ministry we follow the Spirit’s lead faithfully and we let God decide the outcomes.
… Part 8 tomorrow…