God, Not Men, at Work

I’ve just finished reading David Platt’s book Radical (Multinomah Books, Colorado Springs, Colorado © 2012) and from the beginning he challenges how we “do church” America as we try to apply the values of the American Dream to an entity that is Holy Spirit driven and empowered. I’m not a church leader, privy to all the ins and outs of planting and growing churches, but my work as a reporter for a Christian newspaper leads me into churches large and small, modern and traditional. So I think Platt is onto something when he writes we need to trust God and not our talents and marketing gifts when we Christians set out to bring the Gospel to the world.

My goal as a Christian writer is simple. I want to write whatever God wants me to write so it goes where He wants it to go and does what He wants it to do. If only one person read Road to Emmaus in a year and God used a certain blog to draw that person even a tiny bit closer to Him, I believe all the blogging I did that year would have been well worth the effort. Furthermore, God is under no obligation to let me know that that particular divine connection occurred, so I’m really walking in faith here, folks.

He did bless me with a “WOW” validation a few years ago. If you click on the Articles tab and scroll down to the article, Stones and Scripture Seminar at Koinonia Fellowship, you will find a photo of the King James Bible original edition open at the beginning of the New Testament. That was one of many shots I took for this article. As my patient, kind, editor would admit, I’m not the greatest photographer so I try to take a lot of pictures, hoping a few will suffice. Imagine my shock when I received an email from the British Philatelic Bulletin requesting permission to use that photo on their November 2011 cover! Apparently they had searched the internet for a picture of a first edition King James Bible and mine was the best one or their purposes.

I made no effort to promote that photo; I did not follow steps to success that pave the road to the American Dream for writers. Clearly this was a case of God taking over from my puny effort. I just used the joy for writing He gave me and trusted Him for the rest. (So I figure when I finally finish my GREAT BOOK, and if God wants it published, I won’t be surprised when the acquisitions editor from Zondervan runs out of gas in front of my house and reads my manuscript while waiting for AAA.)

Platt’s book Radical is uncomfortable to read because he challenges people who call themselves Christian to offer everything in their own lives and their congregation’s life in service to Jesus. Christians in some countries are persecuted and must worship underground. As our society tries to constrain Christians from quoting the Bible in public dialogue here in the home of the free, as Christian symbols are seen as offensive to people in our diverse American culture, it seems that soon there will be no neutral ground. As Jesus foretold, they hated Him; they will hate His followers. Jesus said he who was not against Him was for Him. He was and is radical and the choice to follow Him is radical when you think about it. A Christ follower should do just about the opposite of what the American Dream follower does.

This book will threaten your idea about what it means to be a Christian in America today. It goes way beyond driving to church dressed in your Sunday best and worshipping in a well appointed sanctuary while you slip a few bucks into the collection plate. It’s one of those books you can read in a week but could take a year to absorb.

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