Our world sits in turmoil.
Living in another country (England) has given me a fresh perspective on the unrest, debates and hardships around the globe, but we see them clearly from any country.
I recently heard an excellent speaker named Brad Jersak, who shared this arresting quote, “We are called to be prophets to our world, not chaplains to it.” He was not disparaging the chaplains who care so beautifully in hospitals and armed forces for those in great need. Their role is vitally necessary and truly grace-filled. His challenge, and the one I bring to us today, is that the role of the Christian is not just to soothe and lull a recovering world.
Our call is to speak, with clarion truth, a radically new perspective to a dying world.
In 10, 20 and 30 years, we will look back at this period of history, and I believe, many will regret the way we sat in apathy or disdain in the midst of great pain and suffering.
Throughout the Old Testament, the prophets spoke a radical, unexpected, fiercely different way of life.
They sat in nakedness and married whores, walked through fire, slept with lions, saw visions of women in baskets, horns and craftsmen. They were misunderstood, persecuted and unexpected visionaries. I expect that, at times, they fell and faltered. The weight of the words they carried was more than I can imagine any man or woman bearing.
Their prophetic words carried us to the birth of the awaited Savior: Jesus, the true Prophet, the High Priest and the forever King. He carried a message of unexpected, life-changing, culture-shaping truth. He turned water into wine, cast demons into pigs, brought sight to the blind and chose death between two criminals. His love is the ultimate picture of the prophet, who was not radical for the sake of sensationalism, but who reshaped our world and its history with a sacrificial, reconciling, eternally significant love.
Two thousand years later, we carry His name. Two thousand years later, we face an explosion of crises in our world today.
By mid-2015, the total population of refugees and displaced persons stood at an unprecedented 58 million persons. Some have fled from religious persecution, others for simple safety’s sake. For many more, they want a better life. All are seeking home countries.
Increasingly, we find it difficult to relate to those who are dissimilar to us. A majority of Americans struggle to have a conversation with a Muslim (73%), a Mormon (60%), an atheist (56%), an evangelical (55%), or someone from the LGBT community (52%), according to the most recent Barna report.
There are bombings in Brussels and Paris, viruses we haven’t even named and might not cure, environmental concerns and political leader debates. Close to 800 million people in our world face hunger.
We need chaplains for our world, those who will care and love and walk alongside those in need.
More and more, I am convinced we need prophets; those who would speak forth the forward-moving work of God for the nations.
Surely, if God is here, and He is not silent; if His Word holds power, and the Spirit is active, there is a present, sharp, rich, relevant word of love He is speaking to the nations today.
I believe that daily, we have a choice to either react to news and statistics or act with a Gospel-centered, future-relevant truth. We speak from a rich church family that honors the past work of God. I believe, in light of this, we should have a greater than ever before expectation in the prophetic, future work of God.
My prayer for the men and women of Calvary Chapel, in light of all these things:
“That the Lord will appear over them, and His arrow will go forth like lightning; the Lord God will sound the trumpet and will march forth in the whirlwinds of the south. The Lord of hosts will protect them…On that day the Lord their God will save them, as the flock of His people; for like jewels of a crown they shall shine on His land. For how great is His goodness, and how great His beauty” (Zechariah 9:14-17).
I pray we prophetically proclaim a beautiful Gospel that the nations may see and know Jesus.