Currently I am a “Pastoral Intern” at Grace Baptist Church in Cedarville, OH. I am sitting at a desk. When I am not sitting at a desk for the internship, I am sitting at a desk to contact people who I hope will consider partnering with us. When I am not sitting at a desk for those reasons, it is bedtime. All of that to say that I have never sat a desk this long in all of my life, except perhaps to watch a television entire series online.
This is not what we foresee our ministry to be in Cape Town. Yet this internship is teaching me may things. One of which, is all that it takes to operate a church faithfully when it is not just centered around a service or around a few ministries. It is teaching me about an organization that is actually organized, which is typically a misnomer for non-profits. It is teaching me about all of the thought and prayer that is necessary to make a organization operate and make the church a set apart organization. To make this church operate faithfully as a part of the Bride of Christ. And to do so with many plates spinning at one time.
I do not have any application for these observations just yet but I am sure that I will within the next five years or so. But I will say that I am humbled to be allowed in to make said observations and to take part in this piece of the life of Grace.
There are primarily two reasons why I have always stayed away from Revelation. The first is obviously because it can be a very difficult book to understand. The second is because there are so many differing opinions and everyone seems to be so touchy about it. Why not just lay off a little bit?
Now I am receiving Divine reckoning for these lazy ideas. I have been asked to read several commentaries on Revelation as a part of my intern duties. I was hoping the migraines were caused by dehydration, alas no, they are actually from the mind boggling amount of interpretations of this beautiful book. So I have learned my lesson and I am studying said book now.
In that study I have discovered a third reason to avoid Revelation. This reason must have been subconsciously eating at me and always caused me to skip back to Genesis. The reason, Conviction.
To read through the suffering that will continue to take place and only grow for faithful Christ followers is frightening, intimidating and horribly convicting.
Often times when we talk about how luxuriously wealthily and privileged a wide swath of American culture is we are usually comparing it to impoverished conditions elsewhere. We take that same kind of mentality when comparing the God ordained and God glorifying suffering of our spiritual siblings in the Middle-East to our lack of suffering. That is not necessarily bad. There is a conviction in that which can lead to living in a more faithful way.
However you wish read Revelation, it ends with a new beginning that involves all of the Saints being together. This is where the conviction comes in. Not just in a lack of suffering but who I am with later.
Revelation invites us to consider standing (or being seated next to) those who have been tortured, crucified, and beheaded for naming Jesus. Those who wrote both Testaments. Everyone that had to evangelize and worship in quiet spaces…well lets just say that the book of Revelation should compels us on toward mission and faithfully sacrificing as many things as we cherish as possible.
Stated another way, we will all be standing next to our brothers and sisters in Christ at the beginning of eternity and, although pride has no place here, I hope to stand next to them knowing that I also brought great Glory to God and honor to the name of Jesus.