in the fullness of time

We have just come through the Christmas season and we all heard the great gospel accounts of Christ’s birth. I wish we had more information about his upbringing. What did he spend his time doing? We know he launched his public ministry around age 30, but why did he wait that long? Wasn’t his mission important enough to have started it 5 or 10 years earlier? Didn’t he realize that there were people who were going to die without the hope he had come to bring?

Sometimes those of us in evangelical circles feel the pressure to rush to “close the deal” with people who don’t know Christ. We often hear things like, “There are people all around us dying and going to hell and we need to get out there and share the gospel with them. Where are we going to scare them off to, hell #2?” Don’t get me wrong. We do need to share the gospel with people. What I am trying to reconcile in my head is that Jesus waited until he was 30 to start his ministry. Not only that, but God saw fit to wait about 4,000 years after the fall of mankind before He sent Jesus. Up until that time, millions upon millions of non-Jewish people died outside of God’s plan of redemption.

If God waited until “the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4-5) before sending His son and then Jesus waited until he was 30 to begin his public ministry, don’t you think there is some rationale for building a genuine friendship with people before we share the Gospel with them? After all, the Gospel is WAY bigger than what we have made it. Essentially, we have turned the Gospel into a set of beliefs about God that we try to get someone to buy into by praying a prayer so they don’t have to go to hell. Sounds like fire insurance to me. The Church in North America needs to go back and rediscover what the Gospel is. It is something that is so big and so important that God had to wait for the exact moment to unleash it on this earth “in the fullness of time.”

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great weekend!

Suzanne and I had a great weekend worshipping with the good folks at First Baptist Church of West Monroe, LA, pastored by former Fayette County citizen Dr. John Avant and his wife Donna. They brought me in to lead worship in their contemporary services.

We capped the weekend off with a great lunch with John and Donna at Copeland’s. The food was great and the conversation even greater! I was able to share the vision that God has called us to in starting browns mill church and our upcoming involvement with Missio (see previous blog post for more explanation). John is a kindred spirit when it comes to missional reformation of the church. It was especially eye-opening for me since First West has a membership near 7,000. The common belief among the missional church community is that it is impossible for a mega-church to be missional. Someone should have told John Avant. They have some great elements of missional living already in place with more to come.