Thursday, November 7, 2013

Portals Into God's Presence: Lift Him Up

I must admit, I have been watching the Oxygen series "Preachers of LA." I was curious; I wanted to see these six preachers live the God life as their show tagline says. Never mind that there are no women preachers featured. Never mind the opulent cars and clothes and homes, which are diametrically opposed to the life of Jesus, who had no place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20).

As I watch, I try not to cast judgment, but—for me, as a preacher of the Gospel who takes her ordination vows very seriously—the show raises the question: "Is God being glorified?" Further, I wonder—since the preachers featured have publicly said that they are on the show to lead souls to Christ—is Jesus being lifted up on the Preachers of LA?

As a preacher, I know how easy it is to get caught in the hype of your own self. I've even noticed myself in the sermon preparation process writing to move the crowd in the pews, instead of writing to  move the congregation into the presence of our glorious God. This call to ministry requires a system of checks and balances, both internal and in the form of a mentor/friend/deacon/mother who will call you out on your stuff if self is being glorified more than God.  As preachers—in LA or any other city—our refrain in life, especially when people want to make rockstars of us, should be, "to God be the glory." When we do our work preaching, teaching, and serving we should measure our success, if you want to call it that, by whether or not Jesus has been lifted up. Lifting Jesus is our part. Drawing souls is God's part. Which leads us to our hymn of the week: Lift Him Up.

How to reach the masses, men of every birth,
For an answer, Jesus gave the key:
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,
Will draw all men unto Me.”

Lift Him up, lift Him up;
Still He speaks from eternity:
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,
Will draw all men unto Me.”

Oh! the world is hungry for the Living Bread,
Lift the Savior up for them to see;
Trust Him, and do not doubt the words that He said,
“I’ll draw all men unto Me.”

Don’t exalt the preacher, don’t exalt the pew,
Preach the Gospel simple, full, and free;
Prove Him and you will find that promise is true,
“I’ll draw all men unto Me.”

Lift Him up by living as a Christian ought,
Let the world in you the Savior see;
Then men will gladly follow Him Who once taught,
“I’ll draw all men unto Me.”

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