His Authority, Our Confidence
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Let’s be honest: this year’s resolution - to reorganize our lives around Jesus’s call to make disciples of all people in all places - is intimidating. Whether you carry the baggage of experience with various evangelism methods, or perhaps mocked those who did, I would venture to guess that the idea of regularly sharing your faith stirs up equal parts (or maybe not so equal parts) desire and dismay. We know we should; we may even want to share the gospel, yet we’re desperately afraid of looking like fools.

Here’s the good news: weaklings, cowards, and stumblers are not afterthoughts that God is resigned to include in his plan of redemption but are his Plan A. There is no Plan B because the Kingdom of God is the domain of the poor in Spirit, and entrance into this Kingdom begins with a confession of impotence: “I cannot save myself; I need a rescuer.” There is no higher plane of life to attain before you’re qualified to join God’s work of redemption. He invites you today, in your present circumstances, in all your frailty.

If this sounds naive, rest assured that the eleven disciples present at his ascension were no more prepared or better qualified than you or I.

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.”

But some doubted. Jesus spent some three years with this crew and is acutely aware of their doubts and limits, yet he isn’t wringing his hands as he leaves them with his mission. Why? Because he knew the Great Commission did not rest on their might, any more than it rests on ours, but on his.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”

Our confidence to go - to our neighbors, coworkers, or the nations - does not lie in our theological prowess or charismatic personality but in the actual, present-day authority of Jesus. Unlike earthly kings, his authority is not coerced nor wielded for selfish gain but to invite rebels to experience the glory of life reconciled to God. Though carried out by a ragtag band of simpletons, this mission’s success is so sure - because Christ’s authority is so strong - that scripture already testifies to its completion (Rev. 7:9-10).

Whether we step across the street, into conversations with our kids, or far-off lands, we go in the authority of the King who reigns over all Kings. No corner of this earth, let alone any square inch of our city, is outside the authority of Jesus.

Friends, Jesus is incredibly realistic about your frailty and fears - in fact, he is more acquainted with them than you - and his invitation still stands: come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

I know that the call of Jesus to give our lives to this mission looks like death (Jesus indeed calls us to take up our cross and follow him), but I guarantee there is no greater joy than what lies on the other side of obedience because he is there with us.

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

With echoes of Psalm 23, this final word from our Lord reminds us that our almighty King is also a gentle, ever-present shepherd with us. Always. He is with us at the park as we strike up a conversation with a new mom; he is with us as we offer to pray for a neighbor’s suffering; he is with us when we feel crippled by fear and shame, and he is with us when we step forward into the frightening unknowns and indelible joy of fresh obedience.

Your elders, deacons, and staff love you, are fellow sojourners on this path with you, and labor for your joy in Christ. Therefore, we are prioritizing four Gospel Conversation training events that seek to empower you - in your circumstances, uncertainty, and fears - to join with what the Spirit is doing in Richardson.

This training is not another seminar on the latest and greatest evangelism methods, but rather an unashamedly simple, biblically rooted, reproducible, and intensely practical event that seeks to empower each of us to walk in our calling as ambassadors of Christ here in Richardson.

I hope to see you at our next training on February 17th at 10 AM. You can find more details, registration, and future training dates here.

Grace and Peace,

Travis Isaak