Friday, October 22, 2010
During the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners, CNN editor/producer Wes Little noted that most of them were wearing tan t-shirts over their green coveralls. According to CNN, “the green coveralls were designed to help absorb the sweat as they ascended to the top.” (Source: www.cnn.com) But, curiously the t-shirts have the Jesus Film project logo on the left sleeves. In front of the t-shirt are the words, “‘Gracias Senor’ – ‘Thank you Lord.’”
What’s the inside scoop about those t-shirts? After rescuers discovered that the miners were still alive 17 days after the mine collapse, Christian Maureira, Campus Crusade for Christ Int’l (CCCI) country director for Chile, immediately got in touch with family members of one of the miners. CCCI got to send MP3s (audio versions) of the Jesus Film and the Spanish New Testament through the shaft . CNN noted,“The Jesus film explains that the New Testament tells how Jesus is laid in a tomb-like cave after his crucifixion. Three days later, Jesus is said to have risen from the dead. In the Jesus film, women come to the tomb and find the stone that blocked the entrance has been rolled away, the cave empty.” (When I read that, I smiled, “Wow! Those are the truths of the Gospel shared by CNN itself!”) Though “It is unclear if the miners saw the resurrection story as a parallel for their hoped-for rescue” (Ibid), surely the Word of God became their source of strength while trapped 2,000 feet below for 69 days.
One of the miners, Jose Henriquez, wrote CCCI, “Thank you for this tremendous blessing for me and my coworkers. It will be good for our spiritual edification. I am fine because Christ lives in me.” (Ibid) At the end of his letter, Henriquez even quoted Psalm 95:4. “In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him.” That verse was actually printed at the back of the t-shirts that the miners wore during their rescue. CCCI gave those t-shirts as a gift to the miners a few days after they sent the MP3s to them. According to CCCI, “Apparently, all the miners liked them…It kind of solidified them.”
That’s why we should never get tired in sharing the Gospel to our spheres of influence such as our families and the workplace. Second Timothy 4:2 commands us “to preach God’s message. Do it willingly, even if it isn’t the popular thing to do.” (CEV)
Friday, October 15, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
If numbers are the success yardstick, Twitter definitely measures up. (For those who still think that I was talking about stereo speakers, Twitter is actually a social networking website where users can send 140-character ‘tweets’ or messages to his network of friends.) Since its 2006 launch, it skyrocketed to 160 million plus users. What caught my attention while reading a news item about Twitter is this statement by its co-founder, Evan Williams: “Growing big is not success, in itself. Success to us means meeting our potential as a profitable company that can retain its culture and user focus while having a positive impact on the world.” (Source: Inquirer.Net) That’s a great definition of success.
I think pastors and churches ought to learn from it. Of course, numbers matter to God, too. (There’s a book in the Bible with that title. Also, just read the book of Acts.) Yet, to borrow from the title of a book by Ruth Tucker, when we feel “left behind in a mega-church world,” we tend to confuse the way we measure success. The key to clear the confusion is to concentrate on our potential as a church. To know our potential, we must ask first, “What is our bottom line?” Companies like Twitter have profit and numerical growth as one of its bottom-line. But the church’s bottom-line is not the ABCs that we tend to use nowadays to declare that a church is successful. (ABC stands for Attendance, Buildings and Cash. Others have added D, that is, Denomination).
Our bottom-line is the glory of God. Ephesians 3:20-21 tell us, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (ESV) We exist as a church to bring honor to the Lord.In his “Rise and Shine,” Dr. Charles Swindoll wrote, “When we finally wake up to our purpose for existence, we come to the realization that glorifying God applies to every detail of living… The activity, as well as the motive behind it, must be for one ultimate reason: to glorify our God.” First Corinthians 10:30 commands us, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” So, whatever we do as a church, we must do it for the sake of the reputation of the Lord, not ours. When we exalt the Lord in all that we are and all that we do, then we are really successful.
Brethren, “Glory to God in the church!” (Eph. 3:21a, Message)