Most Significant Spiritual Shift in 30 Years

TitleI started church ministry when I was 20 years old as a student pastor in Eastern Kentucky.  For 30+ years I have tried to be faithful in sharing the love of Jesus.  I have been a broken leader ministering to broken people.

I believe the source of our brokenness has shifted significantly over these 30 years.  As I was preparing for ministry, I cut my teeth on the ministry of Dr. David Seamands.  He was the pastor of the church I attended in college and one of my seminary professors.  I admired this man greatly.  He also authored some of the most important books that I have read.  His best-selling book is titled:  Healing for Damaged Emotions.  Here is an excerpt:

“Many Christians… find themselves defeated by the most psychological weapon that Satan uses against them. This weapon has the effectiveness of a deadly missile. Its name? Low self-esteem. Satan’s greatest psychological weapon is a gut level feeling of inferiority, inadequacy, and low self-worth This feeling shackles many Christians, in spite of wonderful spiritual experiences and knowledge of God’s Word. Although they understand their position as sons and daughters of God, they are tied up in knots, bound by a terrible feeling inferiority, and chained to a deep sense of worthlessness.”

I believe that he was right.  This WAS the enemies deadliest weapon in many people’s lives.  But I’m not so sure that it still is. . .

I’m in the middle of reading a new book:  Embracing Obscurity – Becoming Nothing in Light of God’s Everything.  The author?  Anonymous.

“The trouble with you and me and the rest of humanity is not that we lack self-confidence (as we’re told by the world) but that we have far too much self-importance.  The thought of being just another of the roughly one hundred billion people to have ever graced this planet offends us –whether we realize it or not.  We have such a high opinion of ourselves that to live and die unnoticed seems a grave injustice.  Yet for the vast majority of us, has God called us to anything else? 

Embracing obscurity is not about wiping ourselves from existence but rather, voluntarily, becoming nothing in light of everything God is and has promised us.  Why?  So we can bring Him greater glory.  It’s about making Him, not ourselves, look good. “

Stop and think about all of the effort we give to making and leaving our mark.  This is most likely the fuel that we use in propelling social media.  We really do believe that it matters to people what is on our dinner plate, so we take a picture and blast it onto the internet for the world to see!

I’m a little sad to admit that I could tell you without even thinking how many friends I have on FB, how many followers I have on Twitter and how many people I’m connected to on LinkedIn.  We all want to be somebody. . .

I know that Jesus is trying to teach me more about His humility.  I believe that the new generation of leaders in Christ’s Kingdom will most likely be nameless and faceless.  The clock is ticking on the charismatic superstars holding spiritual court in our land.  The new model that is coming is humble witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ leading smaller bands of followers in faithful Christianity.

Our present ministry purpose is Malachi 1:11 – “Making the name of the LORD great among the nations.”

I’m praying for strength to fully let go of any right to self-importance, and commitment to making sure the Name of Jesus is great.

P.S.  I wonder how many times I will check the stats on this blog…

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About Rich Stevenson

Rich is the Executive Director of The Malachi Network (www.malachinetwork.org), a ministry focused on making the name of the LORD great among the nations. This network serves young leaders in missions and church planting. Prior to his present ministry, Rich pastored in Southern New Jersey, planted a church in Wilmore, KY, established a network of churches, served as an adjunct professor at Asbury College and was a senior leader at The International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO as well as The International House of Prayer in Atlanta, GA. Rich is the author of two books: Secrets of the Spiritual Life—10 Lessons from the One Thing Passages (Baker Books, 2003) A Voice from Home—The Words You Long to Hear from Your Father (WaterBrook Press, 2005) He graduated from Asbury College in 1984 with a BA degree in Philosophy of Religion and Asbury Theological Seminary in 1987 with a Master of Divinity degree. In 2010, Rich received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Union Biblical Seminary in Yangon, Myanmar. Rich has been married to Tania since 1982 and they have been blessed by amazing children: Zachary and his wife Meghan, Jacob and his wife Lena, Jessica and Corrie Emma.
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