I just read the following email we received the other day.
Hi Mike and Glenn,
I thought I’d share this little experience with you. The other day, I read an article that appeared on one of Glenn Beck’s websites. The article regarded an appearance by Joel Osteen on the Oprah show, where he proclaimed that homosexuality was a sin, but that homosexuals would still go to Heaven.
I didn’t care about the article. That’s not where the fun began. The fun began when I decided to enter the comment section on the site, where I thought I’d throw a “Gospel-Brick” through the good Christians’ window. So I commented that the redemptive work of Christ was completed at the Cross, and that ALL people would be “going to Heaven”.
I’ll admit that I was just trying to tweak all of those people who were condemning the “sinners,” and Osteen, and homosexuals, etc.
But what I got back from the other commentators can only be described as a 90 foot tidal wave of “Christian” condemnation. Bible verses were coming at me by the bushel, all designed to show me that I was a “false teacher,” a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” a “deceiver,” and on and on it went. One commentator took verses from 8 different books out of context, strung them together into one long verse of her own making, just to “prove” how “wrong” I was.
My first thought was, “Well, this could be fun.” So I decided to respond by telling them that the New Testament wasn’t “Scripture”. That got them going. And when another quoted Peter to “prove” their point I informed them that quite often, Peter was just WRONG. And the tidal wave grew. I let this go on for a while longer, until I decided to just let it go.
I write this to you because having dipped my toe into the role of Gospel Revolutionary, I have a new appreciation for the kind of resistance you must have faced over the years. It just amazes me how many people will resist the Gospel till their dying breath, all to defend their own “Christianity.”
I now have a whole new level of respect for you guys.
John K. Orlando, FL
First let me say, thank you John! Thank you so very much!
We in the Gospel Revolution are grateful for your comments, and you voicing your appreciation for what we all do AND for taking the time to proclaim the Gospel on that thread.
I wept reading John’s letter. I wept because John acknowledged the unending bashing and anger I have received countless times over many years. Many of you were in some of those meetings and observed and felt the discomfort and the anger.
Personally experiencing all those places, I heard all the anger, read the letters and the e-mails over the years. Many times being in meetings I just was happy to get out of there just to get back to my room, close the door and enjoy the stillness.
Quietness is to this day my most favored environment. You guys have no clue how much I have felt like a duck out of water who has not really been built for any of this.
One time a letter came to me saying my home was going to be burned to the ground. Another time a gun was produced from underneath a young woman’s sweater after the meeting. She told me she came to kill me. She then explained with the gun still in their hand and with tears in her eyes that what I had said had touched her heart just before she could pull the trigger.
While these type of incidents were intense and stressful, they are nothing compared to the abuse one child can endure in just one day in their own home. And it happens everyday all over this world.
I am not rehearsing these incidents because I want you to feel sorry for me, far from it. Rather, I want to use it to speak to you about the “Power of Acknowledgment”.
Years ago I stopped trying to change my own life and the life of others. My efforts for myself and others switched from attempts to change things to simply acknowledge them.
“That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” PHM 1:6 (KJV)
We ALL have the faith OF God within us. In the same way, we ALL have the wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption of God within.
Faith is not used to change things but rather to acknowledge things that have changed. Faith was used by Jesus to change everything. Can that “faith” become active and effective in us? YES, INDEED! However, we must remember, faith no longer changes things!
“In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” II Timothy 2:25
Acknowledgment is such a powerful thing. Whether it is simply acknowledging what someone has endured, as John K. did in his letter to us or acknowledging that we have hurt someone in word or deed, acknowledging that I was wrong, acknowledging my weakness—all very powerful stuff! And all are signs of an active faith!
If acknowledgment is that powerful in all these “temporal or earthly” situations, just imagine what acknowledging THE TRUTH can result in. Well, actually we do not have to wonder. We who are active in the Gospel Revolution have all been acknowledging the Truth of the Gospel on a persistent, consistent, and repetitive basis now for over six years since the Webcast went online full-time. Still, the discovery and acknowledging of that truth has been going on now for thirty years!
That’s right! 2012 marks 30 years since I first stepped to the platform and preached the Gospel of Peace. To my knowledge no one in modern times ever declared the Gospel of Peace based on the completely finished work of the Cross anywhere before that day. It was at The Book Shelf Christian Fellowship where I was Pastor in Herrin, Illinois.
No, there have not been a lot of pats on the back or a ton of acknowledgment getting from there to here over these 30 years. But I have to say the acknowledgment that we have received has certainly been inspiring.
Even when no one acknowledges us for what we do or who we are, we still can make the enormously powerful decision to begin to acknowledge others and to acknowledge the pure truth about who we all are in Christ.
Remember family, this is not a competition. Everyone can freely acknowledge others without having been acknowledged themselves. And there is so much forward motion produced by just that happening!
There is so much truth to mine here. I’m trying to communicate it well enough to help extract the nectar of this powerful subject.
What is happening when we begin to acknowledge the truth of what and who went before us AND The Eternal Truth of the Gospel? Nothing short of living by faith!
Do you believe that everything changed at the Cross? I do and I know you do also. Faith in and of itself did not change. However, how faith is demonstrated, recognized and made powerful has changed.
Everything that needed to change did change through the Faith of God at the Cross. What about now? NOW, faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. Why did faith become the evidence of things not seen? Because everything that needed to change in relationship between God and man did change. But things did not change in the realm where we cannot see–in the inner recesses of our souls and minds.
Faith is no longer changing external things. The expression of faith now is acknowledging that things have already changed that we cannot see! Yet, we know through the Power of the Gospel, the Power of God, that they have indeed changed. What has changed that we cannot see? The way we think!
“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” II Cor. 4:18
Faith operates pertaining to things eternal, not temporal.
Everything that needed to change externally has changed and it changed 2000 years ago!
During Jesus’ three years of earthly ministry, He used faith on this temporal world. He healed the sick, opened blind eyes, he raised the dead. He was kind of doing a lab experiment like in school. School is not where the project ultimately operates. School is simply where you demonstrate the validity of your hypothesis.
Jesus took his hypothesis about faith, went to the Cross and resolved all things eternal, doing this only after demonstrating faith in the temporal world for our benefit.
Now we can understand and acknowledge the eternal effect of faith to the saving of our souls out here in the real world. The last thing we needed, or need, is to be addicted to the lab experiments and start and embrace a religion called Christianity.
P.S. As a post-script, I want you to know I just returned from my trip to Calgary and the Grace Conference. I wrote the above letter before I left. However, what I witnessed through these wonderful people–children, teens, moms, dads, and seniors–was the very power of acknowledgment of the Gospel that I had coincidentally written about before the trip. I’ll have more to share on that later but suffice it to say, the Truth of the Gospel, the faith it produces to the cleansing of the soul and the renewing of our minds is very real and the very hope of the human race and was on display in a big way this past weekend at the Carriage House Inn.