At the local church where I serve as teaching pastor, we are in the middle of a series called “The Good News” – we’re surveying the gospel as presented by Mark.
It is a very healthy thing to read through the gospels, letting them speak for themselves to us about Jesus, His ministry, mission and the Kingdom of God. What Mark records for the reader (his intent is to present “the beginning of the Good News”) tells us what Mark believed (probably from Peter’s preaching and tutelage) was important for the reader to know of Jesus.
Again, if I let myself just listen to Mark, then I feel like I am bombarded with powerful, compassionate images of a Christ who spends a great deal of time driving out unclean spirits and healing the sick. And with each sequential occurrence, whether individual or the masses, the crowds become more desperate for Jesus, and His fame (people spreading the testimony of Jesus) grows. The more Jesus heals and delivers, the more people do everything they can to get to Him or to bring others to Him. When Jesus was just being Jesus – he could not even hide from people if he tried. (Yes, there are also those who grow increasingly hostile to Jesus – but this isn’t about them right now). As I read I am overwhelmed with passion, with desire, with delight and deep longing.
And then I pause to consider the trends, the fads, the programs, and paper-back buzzwords and techno-idolatry that I see pushed as “how we’re going to really reach this generation.” Let’s be clear – I love technology and I love communication, leadership and administration. I don’t have time or interest to defend myself on those fronts. My point is that if more leaders were more honest – a great deal of what is pushed and polished has nothing to do with what occupied so much of Christ’s time and energy. I struggle with wanting a better facility, more staff, more funds for more sophisticated operations, and all the same stuff that most leaders wish they had more of or better. And I don’t apologize for wanting all of it. There’s no reason not to be excellent.
But the gospel. The gospel itself is really, really enough. It’s more than enough. There isn’t a facility in my county that could contain the people crowding inside if they thought Jesus was really there touching broken lives. No one would care about acoustics or esthetics. Like those so many long years ago, they’d come to hear and be healed. I believe the Gospel is still powerful. I believe it is still the power of God. I believe the Name of Jesus still authorizes healing and deliverance. I believe untold numbers of people need both. I believe the gospel still works.
So with renewed resolve I will preach and practice the gospel. I trust the Holy Spirit to help me, to guide me, to teach and lead me – and to be the Power and Presence of Christ to us and through us now. My world still needs good news; the Gospel is still the best news.