Thursday, May 03, 2007

Remembering Their First Love - Garrick and Dziu

Serving in the land of Olive trees, Flamenco dancers, Don Quixote and the Alhambra, are Garrick and Dziu Roegner, who are pictured here with their daughter Evelyn. Actually there is fourth person in this pic with them because Dziu is expecting a baby boy in mid-August. While leading their STINT team to proclaim Christ in a post-modern context, the Roegner’s have found that in Spain one of their best witnessing opportunities has been to show their love and concern for the least of these. In fact, Garrick has a really good post on his blog about several trends affecting the world today and thus also affecting world Christianity and mission.

Another cool thing in Granada lately and one that Agape (Crusade in Spain) is partnering with is the church plant: Mosiaco. For the past two years they have been meeting in Alpha groups and small groups with the vision of connecting people to a Christian community that would grow into a missional church. Last Friday was the first ever official meeting of Mosiaco. The theme for the night was, ‘What does a Christian community look like in Granada, Spain?’

Speaking of churches, we continue this week in the Book of Revelation. In chapter two, John writes what Jesus wants to say to 7 churches in what is now Turkey. The first church up is Ephesus. Jesus gives them their props for hard work, defending the truth and perseverance.

Ephesus was a rockin’ Christian community. When there, Paul and his discs had daily discussions for two years in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. The results were that every spankin' person who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

They preserved through riots caused because so many people had been converted that the idol salesmen were losing their business. Paul showed them that by hard work we must help the weak. So evidently, they followed his model. Later he sent Timothy to focus on teaching the truth. So they must have gotten that too. All of these things are great: working hard, defending the truth of the gospel, and preserving and enduring hardships for Jesus’ name. Way to go… you get a gold star!

But there’s one little thing Jesus had against them. Actually it’s not that little – it’s a biggie. They had forsaken their first love. They were doing the deed but had left out the most important part. The crazy maker is that it’s so easy to do this. Chuck Swindall once said that the scary thing about ministry is that we can learn to do it.

When I read this passage I can’t help but think of Dr. Bright. I can’t begin to count how many times I heard him speak on this passage. And though he probably had something like 50 points to his talks, I have three. Actually, Shane Sebastian, the WSN RD in PSW, led a devo for all of us in WSN about five years ago on this passage and the points are his. They are burned in my brain; I wished they were burned in my heart.

Remember. Jesus tells them to remember the height from which had fallen. Do you remember what was it like when you were most in love with Jesus? When was it and what made you love him deeply?

Repent. Turn from your sin. Give yourself a time-out until your attitude changes.

Redo. Jesus tells them to do the things they did at first. Return to your first love. Fall in love with Jesus all over again.

When you most loved Jesus, did you long to spend time alone with Him or was it just something to check-off? Did you come to the Word more like reading a love letter or out of some theological pursuit? Did you love others because He first loved you or out of duty and the flesh? Did you want to talk about Him to others because you were deeply, passionately in love with Him or because you had to turn in stats? You do turn in your stats, don’t you?

You know it just occurred to me that the only person on staff who never had to turn in stats was Dr. Bright. Who was he going to report to? I bet he never once shared the little gold booklet that he wrote to check something off but solely out of a deep love for Jesus. In Blue like Jazz, Donald Miller recounts how a friend of his interviewed Dr. Bright. When his friend asks Dr. Bright what he thought about Jesus, Dr. Bright started weeping. Now that was a man who had not left his first love!

May we not make Jesus have to take away our lampstand. May we fall in love with Him all over again and lead our teams and movements to do likewise. May we continue the legacy of our founder.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~ Eph 3:14-21

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