Prayer Chair Blogger Style (or an Open Letter to Surf youth 2000-2005)
As I am here in Boston planting a new community of believers, I wanted to write to you. I remember when you and I would meet to discuss the Bible and the things that Jesus was doing in your life. I hope that His peace and grace are with you. The same grace and peace He died for on the cross on our behalf, in order to deliver us from sin now and eternally. I am thankful for all of you. I thankful for your prayers and for the evidence of your faith even as time passes.
I am grieved that I hear and have seen some turn and return to things that only those who know nothing of His grace and mercy do. How you have allowed others to influence your decisions regarding your former ways and ways that are not beneficial for those who belong to the gospel. I am writing as your friend and as someone who you have trusted in the past to give you guidance. I am not writing as one who has arrived or is better than you. For some what I am about to say will be offensive. I hope that you will pray and think about what I have to write before you respond. Some have apparently chosen to live a life of inconsequence. The sufferings of Christ are worthless to you. Instead of being godly men and women and choosing the hard life of sacrifice, dying to self - you would rather give into your flesh needs/wants. Let's face it was it all a pharce? Because if it was - why?
What I am trying to say is that for some of you, I thought I knew of the depth of love you had for Him. For Jesus, our Lord who gave Himself up for you. We spoke of how we never wanted to be slaves to anything but the righteousness of Christ. I spent time with you, believing that you desired the same things I did. To become more like the Jesus who loves us. I know that I am by no means perfect. I have made mistakes and do make mistakes. I sin, have sinned, will sin. But, the Holy Spirit inside of me drives me to the goal - of ever laying aside those things that do not bring Him glory. I am writing, after laboriously, and prayfully considering the state of those saints that I left behind. I am not writing with a self-righteous attitude, or for self absorption. Please understand this. Please understand that I am laying down my pride and myself to humbly come to you. Asking you to return to your first love - Jesus. Knowing that many of you may very well read this and never talk to me again or be very upset with my seriousness. You may not like what I am saying. However, I am being sincere of heart, desiring that you mature in Jesus. My aim is to reawaken in you the passion I heard you tell of and you desired to live out. I saw many of you hunger for Jesus and not just the things of Jesus. We have worshipped together, prayed together, played together, worked together, served together, laughed together and discussed the truth of God and love. And with that same truth and love I say to you I am concerned for you. Not for your souls for that is the business of the Holy Spirit. Hear me when I say that I have seen the evidence of salvation in you. So my concern is that you are wasting your life. You are called (if you claim Christ) to live a life worthy of the one who called you. Who has promised you a better life? Who has deceived you to believe that your life is worthless? That you would rather throw away the reputation of Christ in you. Of course what I am saying is crazy, that I am going on rumors. My friends, I know you and at first, I couldn't believe what I have heard. I cannot just sit idly by why you go down that road where the bridge is out. Your lives are packed full of potential. Potential to do so good. Christ Jesus has redeemed us to do good things and yet some have decided to do the things that drag Him through the mud. I mean c'mon pot? Underage drinking? Drinking to get drunk? Sex? Drugs? Is it worth it? You have believed Jesus died for your sins, right? Why then do you chase after those things in which Jesus tasted death to set you free from?
You are sons and daughters of the Most High God. His child. He loves you. I love you. And I write this in love. Begging you to turn back to your Father, the Creator of the universe, Jesus the King. Have you been duped into thinking that you can wait till you're older to make a difference here? Do you think that you will follow the King when you get older and "settle down". Please, don't follow Jesus because you have guilt. Follow Jesus because your heart beats for Him. That you can do nothing more than live for Him - totally for Him. Was our time together in vain? Our time at Eastgate a nice get together for songs and nice talks with humor? Was I a horrible mentor/leader? If so I repent. I repent of not living Jesus for you to follow. Forgive me, for failing you in this way. Forgive me for being selfish and desiring my things over your joy in Christ. But, I have experienced the joy of you following Jesus. Teenagers and twenty-somethings can be disciples. I believe it. I have seen you die to self and love others.
Before, when you didn't know God, intimately as a friend - some of you knew the life of drugs and sex. Don't you know that these things are chains to keep you from running the race God has marked out for you? Some of you feel like you may have known God since you came out of your mother's womb. So, why trade friendship with the attitudes and things that are here today and gone tomorrow? When we walk in the Pleasure of God we are strong and live life to the full. When we surrender our hearts, minds and bodies to fleeting things, you know what I am talking about, we lose track of the thing that lasts - Jesus. Why become enslaved to mindless philosophies, and evil desires that corrupt the image of God and blind you to the truth. AND for what? For companionship, for you to feel cool, to fit in, to not be made fun of? For people to think you are a great guy/girl? Do you therefore despise the grace of God and the times you share with fellow believers? Are you going through something deeper? Why not share it with one another? Carry each others burdens.
You know the Truth. You know that if you are suffering that turning to things for quick fixes will and cannot help you. They only cause us to spiral further away from the One who can help us. You are my friends, so stand firm. It is for freedom, from sin that Christ has set us free. It's me, Brian, the guy who stayed up to 4 - 5 in the morning talking with you, challenging you, praying for/with you, and did this for the sake of Christ in us. I want the best for you, all of you. You are gifted and talented. You are smarter than me. Build the Kingdom with that, instead of exchanging the glory of God for temporary drunkenness, because that is what most of it is - drunkenness. Whether it be drunk on hormones (sex) or getting hammered by drug of choice. So be drunk on the Holy Spirit. Walk close to Jesus and be refreshed by His intoxicating way. Many of you were going so well. You were growing in the understanding of knowing Him and being known by Him. It is NOT about do's and don'ts. But those things that God has shown you to do - do them. That is what marks you as a disciple of Jesus. I am confident that you know this. That it is about a relationship with Jesus. So how do you show Jesus that you love Him? By making much of Him with your lives. By obeying all that He has commanded us. No, Jesus did not say; "Don't party, don't smoke pot, etc." But He did say that if we want to be His disciple then we must crucify ourselves. Smoking pot, making out, looking at porn, masturbating, leading minors to drink or take drugs, is about fulfilling our selfish desires. There are also those things that no one can see, hatred for others, lust, selfishness, greed, envy and things like that. Attitudes that destroy us and harm others. Let us look closely at our hearts and remember who we are.
We are warriors. Poet warriors. Discover your rhythm and pace with Jesus. Follow hard after Him. Walk in the Spirit and we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. I desire for you to produce fruit with your lives. Fruit that will not rot on the vine. I want us to inherit the Kingdom. The Kingdom that Jesus offers us, here and now and to come. So let us bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and SELF-CONTROL. You know that I struggle with you, but we must remember that it is Christ that produces the fruit in us. So I say that it can happen. He has begun a good work in us and He is faithful to complete it. Do not let others hinder you from walking in the Spirit. Only you can prevent this in your life. Get away from them. Find someone who desires to walk with you in the way of Jesus and bear your burdens on Jesus and cast all of this on Him because He cares for you. He desires to change our hearts, our minds, our desires and our ways. Do not be deceived, my beloved, as Paul wrote, whatever one sows, that will he also reap. Do not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So it is the cross of Christ that causes me to write to you in such a way. In hope that you will remember - not just the warm fuzzies of time spent in worship - but remember the bloody sacrifice in which the world was crucified to us and we to the world. Neither giving into these things makes you unlovable by God - nor not giving into these things will make Him love you more. The question is then -How much do we love Him? Do we bear the resemblance of Him who bore our sins on the cross? Grace and Joy - AND NO condemnation be onto you - of our Lord Jesus the Christ be with you and may we be the men and women, Christ paid to make us into, on the cross. Live the Gospel the mystery of Christ in you! Humbly, Brian with help from the letter to the Galatians by Paul