What is Ministry?

Dallas Willard Part 12 of 34

In 1993 Dallas began teaching an intensive two-week residential course for Fuller Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program. His task was to teach about spiritual life in a systematic way so that its full connection to the work of the minister was clear. These sessions from 2012 are from Dallas’s last year of teaching the course before he died. Though a bulk of the course was usually centered on the nature and practice of disciplines, the beginning of the course dealt with more theological themes like the nature of spiritual reality and the end of the course dealt with topics in spirituality like vocational issues. [Editor’s Note: We know that the class was taped on other occasions and would be glad to find these recordings.]

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So, let’s begin by thinking a bit about Isaiah 40. You know these words, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” Now, I want to ask you to think a little bit as we begin this morning about “waiting on the Lord” and whether or not this is true or this just is something that we sing to ourselves to get us through the tough spots. Verse 27 of Isaiah 40 starts out, “Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord.’” In other words, the Lord doesn’t know what is happening to me. “And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God?” God is not watching. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.” In other words, you can’t figure it out. “He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.” [1:19]

 

Now, I am hoping that starting out with spirituality and spirit and all of that gives you an end to understanding what’s being said here. How is God with us? How does He strengthen us and so on. “Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles…” The eagle does a bit of flapping often when it’s starting if it doesn’t have a crag on a high mountain to jump off of or a tree but after that, they just adjust their wings to the breeze. They tilt their wings and very subtle movements of feathers to catch the current that lifts them up and that is what it means to “mount up with wings like eagles.” How do eagles do it? By simply depending upon the air currents and adjusting themselves to that. In a manner of speaking, the eagle waits upon the wind. “They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weary.” Now, as we say down south, “Is that just whistling Dixie? OR does that actually refer to something that is real? And, what is it to wait upon the Lord? There are some lovely words in Psalms 62: “My soul waits in silence for God only; He only is my rock and my salvation. My stronghold, I shall not be greatly shaken.” Verse 5: Psalms 62, “My soul wait in silence for God only. My hope is from Him. My stronghold on God my salvation and my glory rests.” Verse 11: “One God has spoken, twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God.” Power belongs to God. “And loving kindness is Thine, oh Lord for thou dost recompense a man according to his works.” And then the next Psalm goes on to talk about, “my soul thirsts for thee, my flesh yearns for thee to see the power and thy glory because thy loving kindness is better than life. My lips will praise thee. My soul is satisfied with marrow and fatness as with marrow and fatness and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips. When I remember you on my bed, I meditate on you in the night watches for thou hast been my help and in the shadow of thy wings, I sing for joy. My soul clings to thee; thy right hand upholds me.” [4:23]

 

So, that’s the heart of what we’ve been talking about is the reality of God and how He, as a spiritual being relates to human beings as spiritual beings. This is something that happens in what we have been calling the invisible landscape. How is God with us? He is with us by acting in relationship to our consciousness and our actions.  That’s how He is with us. A great part of His being with us is our turning to Him. He will not normally run over us if we are not paying attention. As Brother Lawrence points out a major part of the practice of the presence of God is talking to God and listening for God but in that relationship, we also see God acting and the action of God is the primary manifestation of Him being with us and that changes everything.

 

We have a friend named Deter Zander. I don’t know if you know Deter Zander but he has had a tremendous ministry and at the height of his effectiveness, he had a stroke and that stroke didn’t totally disable him but it made it impossible for him to lead and he has written a little thing and I’ll leave a couple copies over here called, “The Kingdom of Cardboard and Spoils.” “If I am the King of all I survey, then I am King of cardboard and spoils. My Kingdom is a noisy, windowless room in the back of a Trader Joe’s grocery store. Here are the haphazard stacks of empty cardboard boxes. Here is the giant box box bailer. Here are the shopping carts marked “spoils.” Their wire frames brimming with still good fruit, meats, and flowers. In Dallas Willard’s book, The Divine Conspiracy, he defines Kingdom as a room that is uniquely our own where our choice determines what happens. My Kingdom used to be a stage, a microphone, a piano and an audience of thousands. My Kingdom was a performance, a show, and then came the stroke. Now, five days a week I arrive at Traders Joes in the early dark hours before the son cracks the horizon. I push my mop up and down aisles, sweep my broom into corners and collect the debris from the day before. The store is quiet, empty; there is no audience in this Kingdom but that’s okay because I am not performing. There is no “stage Deter” here. No superman seeking to wow the masses with feats of spiritual strength; just me; just Deter, the guy who mops the floor, who bails the empty cardboard boxes for recycling; who delivers the spoils to the Salvation Army. There is something beautiful about this simple medial work though. I take the food marked as “spoils” for example; it’s all still good. The fruit is good. The meat is good. The flowers are good but they are not perfect. Anything that has an expiration date of today cannot be put on the store for sale and if a pear so much as rolls off the smooth green pyramid of fellow pears, it gets put in the spoils pile. It’s not perfect anymore. So, the Trader Joe’s employees fill shiny carts with all the perfectly edible imperfection and wheel the load back to my Kingdom. My last task of the day is to load the van with the spoils and deliver it to the local Salvation Army where it will feel the hungry who don’t care at all that the apples are lopsided; that their hamburger is in the waning stages of freshness. They don’t care how it looks. They just want to eat. To me, this here in my back room, this is what is real. Not the right aisles, suburban shoppers making their menu selections from stacks of perfection. I understand the spoils. I can relate because, I too am spoils. Over and over and over again I used to be packaged as perfect. [And anyone who has never seen Deter in action can hardly appreciate that. I mean, he was an amazing guy in his performances. Sometimes you thought that keyboard was levitating the way he got on it.] But, now, stripped of my talent, my stage and my six-figure salary, I relish the imperfection. I revel in the spoils. As I break down these empty squares of cardboard, abandoned boxes that once held protected good far more valuable than themselves, I survey my Kingdom and I am pleased. I feed the cardboard piles into the giant maul of the bailer and chuckle to myself and I think, I am recycled Deter. I am emptied and crumpled and stained and ready to be used again in a new way in a new life. Work was hard today. I am tired. The knuckles of my twisted right hand are scraped raw. The hand is numb so I don’t feel when I bash it against something harder than skin. Do you know what? It’s okay. I come home after work and I think, it’s good today. It’s not a sermon; not a performance. It’s not perfection, but the cardboard is recycled. The spoils are feeding the hungry and today, I am thinking life is good. Life is very good. Deter got it. [12:38] I’ll put a couple copies of this up here is you care to look at it or copy it. I have his permission to do that, so, well, I think that puts things in well, quite a good perspective and when I look at people like Deter or like Joni, I just have to recognize that’s an incredible miracle which I don’t know from the inside. [13:28]

 

Let’s go back to the notebook, page 31. We’ve been slowly laying a foundation and the course as a whole has a very simple structure and I will from time to time, remind you of that but we have just spent some time on what is the gospel and I cannot over-emphasis how important it is for us to understand the message of Jesus and understand how it is not something separable from Him. What He is as our Savior, our Teacher, our Lord, our Friend, and remember He said to His people towards the end of His life, “I no longer call you servants, but I call you friends.” Now, that is in part His reworking of God and putting us really in a very different position than people commonly think of when they think of being a servant of Christ or however they manage to interpret their role in relationship to Him. Friends, see. We are now engaged in a work with Him and He distinguishes friends from servants. Simply in terms of servants, do not understand what their master is doing and so they are kind of standing around waiting to be told what to do. That’s not the place we find ourselves as we move into His fellowship and become His disciples and move on in our growth, personal maturation, growing up in His work. He told them or gave an account of or picture in Luke 17; I wonder if you ever preached a sermon on this or heard one preached. This is a context in which He is talking about forgiveness and this is a subheading under His general understanding of love in the fellowship of believers and He has just blown the minds of His disciples by talking about how often or how much they are to forgive. He says, “How often shall I forgive my brother?” Well, verse 4 of Luke 17, “If he sins against you seven times in a day and returns to you seven times saying I repent, forgive him.” And the apostles said, “Lord, increase our faith.” Now you know in another passage, this is put in terms of Peter and Peter is asking how many times he should forgive and Jesus says, “Well, not seven times but seven times seventy.” Now, you have to think about that. Was He actually saying, “You just tick them off; you have a little counter and when you get up to one more than seven times seventy, you say, ‘I’m not going to forgive you.’” Is that what Jesus is teaching? Well, I hope you realize that’s not what He is teaching that you count them off and when you get to seven times seventy, you say, “No more, baby, I’m not going to forgive you.” See, what He is teaching is a lesson under the general heading of going beyond the Scribes and the Pharisees. A Scribe and Pharisee would count and when he got to 491 times or something like that, he would say, “No more; I’m not going to forgive you.” That’s the righteousness of the Scribe and the Pharisee. The righteousness of the Kingdom of the Heavens, which is beyond the righteousness of the Scribe and the Pharisee, understands that you don’t do things that way. You don’t set these limits and say, I’ve done my duty.” Here in Luke 17, the Lord said, verse 6, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, be uprooted and be planted in the sea and it would obey you.” Verse 7: “Which of you having a slave plowing or tending sheep will say to him when he has come in from the field, come immediately and sit down and eat,” and the implication, of course is no one. No one would do that. What would you say? You say, “Prepare something for me to eat and properly cloth yourself and serve me.” Get your tuxedo on until I have eaten and drunk and afterwards, you will eat and drink. Now, does he thank the slave because he did the things, which were commanded? No, he doesn’t. That’s the point. He doesn’t thank the slave because he does the things he is commanded to do. ”So, you too, when you do all the things you are commanded, say, we are unworthy slaves. We have done only that which we ought to have done.” Now, it would be nice if I could take time and I can’t this morning to take you to 2 Kings 13, verses 18 & 19. I’ll give you a reference to add to this story. 2 Kings 13:18-19.

 

So, what you are looking at here is an open door for people who are able to pursue what is good, what is Godly, what is beneficial to others without having to be told what to do, and it breaks you out of this idea of religion as a sort of doing what Jesus said. It’s much more than that and in many ways; Jesus’ teaching tries to bring us beyond that. And so, we wait on the Lord for things that are impossible and that lands us squarely in ministry because guess what is impossible? Ministry. So, when you go back and look at where we started, as you go, make disciples of all nations. Well, that’s impossible. But, they did it. Making disciples is something you have to open yourself to the greatness of God and dwell there as you introduce people to Jesus and His Kingdom and invite them to step in and try the water and see what life can be like in the Kingdom of God.

 

Now, on page 31, I have given a number of ways of trying to describe ministry. Before we get into it, we want to say over ad over and the last day of the seminar, we return to this theme. Your ministry is not your job. [23:12] Your ministry is not your job. So, let’s put that in the margin somewhere so we will keep seeing it. It may be that there is more or less of a coincidence between your job and your ministry and one is apt to think that’s a good idea but your job and your ministry are two different things. Now, you might by faith and growth, be able to bring them together in a greater or lesser degree. I am sure that would be wonderful if it worked out, but very often, for those of us who are in a position of working for a particular group or organization, we find our job very dissatisfying. [24:13] We can become unhappy and bitter about that and when we hear verses like the one I read—promotion, power belong to God, we may think we are not seeing very much of that, right? So it’s very important to understand that your ministry is not your job. Your ministry is basically that part of God’s work that He has committed to you. He is your employer and that’s why in Colossians 3 and 4 and other parts of the Scripture, you find Paul teaching about, “Who do you work for?” You say, well, you work for Christ. He is your paymaster. You see, your ministry is what God gives to you; it’s that part of His work and your time that He is committed to you. I will come back to that next week because we want to talk about again, the difference between your job, your ministry, your work and your life and those are crucial distinctions to draw. [25:37]

 

But, now here I have given you a few ways of thinking about ministry and first of all, page 31, ministry is carrying on the work that Jesus Himself did. It is taking His yoke upon you. When we take His yoke upon us that means we join Him in His work. That’s what the yoke refers to and in that yoke, we find that the work is easy, the burden is light. We get a description of why that is—well, because, I am meek and lowly of heart and you will find rest to your soul. “Take my yoke upon you, learn of me” and I think that just means that we teach what Jesus taught, did what He does as far as it’s in us and looking for more and we do it in the way that Jesus did it.  So, now, there, we have to study the gospels and how that works out in Acts—just to watch how people did this. What were they depending upon when the acted as carrying out the work that God had given to them? So, I suggest here that you look at the things that Jesus said announcing the availability of life in the Kingdom of God now. You see, everything we talk about in these weeks or these days, it all comes down to the moment of interaction with people and just think of conveying to people in all of their troubles and disappointments and so on—announcing that they can live in the Kingdom of God now. [28:04] That’s a part of His ministry. Do we do that? Life in the Kingdom of God now through confidence in Jesus, “preach what Jesus preached in the manner He preached it” and then watch. I have given you the two references here. I think you know them and I won’t turn to them but in Matthew and Luke, the two references to what He sent them out to do. He sent them out to announce the availability of the Kingdom, right here, right now, to anyone who will simply step into it by faith in Jesus. He is the door and so, that’s what we invite people to do.

 

We have already talked about the threefold ministry of Jesus Himself as He proclaimed, manifested, and taught. Very interesting that a primary manifestation in the first people that He sent out was actually ‘not taking provisions with them.” On the first trip out, He told them, “Don’t take two pairs of shoes or extra clothing or food or money. Don’t take any money with you.” Now, He later revises that but He wanted these people as they went out to be living from what they were talking about. In other words, the provision was to come from the Kingdom of God through people—or not. When they are preaching the availability of the Kingdom of God, He wants people to be able to look at them and say, “Oh, I see how that works. I see how that works.” Now, I’ll stop in a moment and we can come back and you can question all of this and talk about it but very often I think people don’t understand what Jesus was telling them.  You know, He wanted them to be living from what they were advertising—to be drinking the soft drinks they were selling and that is a huge issue for ministers. Are you living from what you are talking? [31:05]

 

So, now, He is in charge of the outcome of our ministry. We don’t manage that and one of the things that we can learn living in the Kingdom of God with Jesus is “don’t take charge of outcomes.” That again is so important that we will have to talk about it later. Taking charge of outcomes is deadly to ministry, to life, the easy life in the easy yoke and if you are going to try to manage the outcomes, I tell you it will not be an easy yoke and it will not be light. He is in charge of the outcomes. [31:56] Now, your people often will want you to take charge of the outcomes and then they will judge your success by the outcomes, as they understand success. And that is where I think we have to say, “No, I don’t accept that.” Maybe you won’t say it to them but in our practice we say, “We are servants of Jesus, not of you.” Churches generally don’t understand the work of ministry. We have to teach them. We have to show them what it is and I think, they very quickly see that it’s better that way than their way.

 

So, the second thing I give here is, ministry is injecting by word and deed the reality substance and life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into human life and relationships. I give you some more verses there. Luke 11:20 is one that gets overlooked so maybe I could just stomp my foot a little on that one. This is the situation in which the Pharisees are doing what they do best—judging people or judging Him and their judgment is that this guy is casting out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons. Now, you know, where did they get that profound insight? Well, they got it by an inference because they looked at Jesus and they saw He was not acting like the Pharisees thought He should act. He was doing things like healing people on the Sabbath and hanging around with people who weren’t respectable and so on.  So their inference was, well, He does cast out demons so where could He be getting this? Oh, well from the prince of demons. And you will still hear that kind of judgment today. Now, Jesus says in verse 20: “If I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.” That’s ministry! Ministry to the Kingdom of God; it’s not done by human power and so, He turns the tables on the Pharisees and makes a comment about how it’s unlikely that it is Beelzebub that is doing this and so, if now I’m doing it by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God—what is the Kingdom of God?—God in action, right, remember? The Kingdom of God has come upon you injecting by word and deed the reality substance and life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into human life and relationships. Now, you can only do that if you are waiting in expectation for God to act as you act.  Waiting does not mean you are doing nothing though that sometimes helps but it means, as you act, expecting God to act. [35:52] Expecting God—now, we have to train ourselves for that. It doesn’t just come naturally. In fact, we are naturally inclined to depend on ourselves. Going with the passage there in Luke, I like the wording in Isaiah, chapter 64. This is a kind of a historical interpretation about how things went with the people of Israel in their history. They were always looking back and saying, “Where is the one who did all that stuff? Our fathers have told us about it but we haven’t seen any of it.” Does that sound familiar? Now, this is a beautiful statement, verse 10 of Isaiah 63, sorry I said 64. It’s 63: “They rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy and fought against them. Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses, and they said, “Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Sprit in the midst of them? Where is He who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses?” See, that’s how Moses acted. Moses acted with God and it was God’s glorious arm that accomplished these things. “The one who divided the waters to make for Himself an everlasting name; Who led them through the depths like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble. So that goes with the finger of God now and that’s how you and I, if we do anything at all in the Kingdom must work. His glorious arm went at the right hand of Justin and Johnny and Bill and Doug. See, that’s how it’s going to go…Richard, Tom, Steve, you. So, now when you are in ministry, always think about the glorious arm, okay?  That would be worth making a bracelet with an arm on it or a necklace with an arm on it—His glorious arm went at the right hand of Moses. Now, am I making any sense at all to you with this?  [Yes] Okay.

 

We are talking about ministry and we’ve already talked about Romans 14:17: “The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness, peace, and joy of such a quality that only the Holy Spirit can produce it.” Not just human jollies we are talking about here. Not just conforming to all of the expected behaviors of our group. Not just peace as numbness and insensitivity to what’s happening. That’s ministry. [40:05]

Third day—I want to make it clear because we‘ve got to spend time on the body today—very important when we come to understand the transformation that actually happens in persons. Ministry is receiving the fullness of God into our bodies.

 

What do we mean when we read Paul and he is saying, “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” Is that something that you and I can expect to happen? Jesus said in John 7: “He that believes on me, from his belly”—I’m so glad he said, “belly.” Most of the translators nowadays can’t say, “belly” so they say something like “heart.” You don’t get it if that’s what you have to say.  I’m so glad He didn’t say from their mouth shall flow rivers of living water. From their belly, that’s their guts. And the people who wrote the Bible and the people who lived in those days, they thought you lived from your guts. When they use heart, they don’t mean that pump. They are referring to the ultimate source of action; that’s your guts. Now, you have an interesting group that Paul singles out on two occasions and he says, “Their God is their belly.” Remember that? Their God is their belly. Philippians, hmmmm, what, 3 or 2? Their God is their belly. They worship their feelings. They worship them; they serve them.  Their God is their belly. Belly is not to be worshipped; it’s to be transformed. [42:29] That’s what you are memorizing Colossians 3: “Put on therefore as the elect of God, Holy and Beloved, bowels.” Bowels…oooooohhh. Guts! It’s so funny; the wonderful lady that helped me with The Divine Conspiracy and the editing process just begged me, “Don’t say bowels. Say heart.” I finally gave into her at least on a few occasions. Heart doesn’t get it. It’s your guts we are talking about and that was understood to be the part of your body that you really lived from. [43:11]

 

“Receiving the fullness of God” and we are going to be talking about how spiritual disciplines transforms that level of your life.  Now, we see interesting illustrations of this in the life of Jesus and in the people in the book of Acts where bodily contact, even the shadow of Peter had a tremendous affect. We look at the practice of laying on of hands; that’s bodily behavior and the clear presumption that when this is done by the elders, something is transformed to the body of the person. So, we have to do justice to this. It hasn’t got to us yet if it hasn’t got to our guts and the rest of our body.  Now, we know a good deal more about the brain and other parts of the body but we know that there is a transformation of the brain that is important in how we automatically think and how we automatically feel. Just neurology now has established the effects of re-routing the stuff in your brain for what you do and that’s really important to understand. You cannot bypass the body in understanding taking on the character of Christ so we must say more about that, but for now, it’s just that we do justice to this fact that the body is transformed and I guarantee you that you have seen that. You have seen people and you have known people whose bodies have been transformed. Sometimes they have to be old people because it’s not a process that, in our world, people make much speed with but that’s partly because they don’t know about it and it’s crucial to understand how ministry moves beyond our conscious efforts. Those who study communications, for example, will tell you that most of what is communicated comes through body language, not through what we say and for you and I, the people we minister to are going to remember who we were long after they’ve forgotten everything we’ve said. That’s the power that is here in ministry.  So, I’ve tried to give you a summary statement here at the bottom of 31. “We minister the reign of God. God in action.” That’s what we minister. [46:43]

 

Now, when Ananias and Sapphira died an untimely death, they fell across the wires of a current that was powerfully running and it killed them. That’s the reality. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 11 talks about the danger involved in taking the Lord’s Supper or sacrament in the wrong way and he says, “some people are sick, others are dead.” I don’t know if our church would stand up under the fact of people dying of the sacrament. That’s the reality that is flowing here and so, we want to keep that in mind when we think about ministry. We minister the reign of God and where the reign of God is powerfully present, it’s dangerous. You don’t want to get crosswise on it.  “We minister the reality, truth and power of God’s person and Kingdom.” That’s what we bring to others. We do it by doing what Jesus did as He did it in reliance upon His presence with us. We minister from community, the people of God through time and at a place and time. We minister out of our own experience of God. [48:35] This Word—His Word and His Kingdom—it is an experiential thing that we learn and grow in. In Matthew 13 where Jesus is teaching about how to teach the Kingdom, He says, “The Scribe who is learned in the Kingdom of God is like a house holder that brings tuff out of his holdings, things both old and new.” See? He is talking about teaching out of experience. You cannot do this except by teaching out of your experience in some ways. You have to teach from your experiences; otherwise, it just becomes empty words. [49:19]

 

Now, you know, I don’t know how you feel about that but that really makes be feel inadequate but guess what, I am inadequate. So, now shall I stop? No, I just go ahead recognizing as Paul says in your passage that you are reading each day, “Our adequacy is of God.” You remember that? In 2 Corinthians 3: “Our adequacy is of God.” So, now we are back to the arm, back to the finger of God. That’s what we work with—we count on that, we expect it.  Sometimes, we wait in silence for it.

 

And, as we will see, no later than by noon tomorrow, disciplines such as silence and solitude are primary to help us take our hands off the steering wheel and our foot off the pedal and that is crucial in ministry.

 

Now, we minister in the midst of and with angels. Count on their presence. We said last time we don’t command them but they help us and God commands them and He has a lot of them by the way—myriads of angels and in conflict with Satan and his subordinates who work against us because they oppose God.  So, that’s the field of ministry. Are you able to identify that? You see it happen? Maybe not just for you but with others? You see, that’s what is going on so Paul says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood” and here I am in this bloody battle with a deacon or an elder; well it ain’t him and it’s not just me trying to win the battle. It’s part of a larger picture. Within that larger picture, I am able to love him or her and speak the truth in love, stand steady and watch for the glorious arm. That’s the key. If you have trouble with people you are working with or with the church or with an organization of some sort, well you have to just recognize that that’s practically par for the course; business as usual. Why? Well, because of the opponent. You read in Ephesians about the heavenly places and you find that, actually, Satan is in the Heavenly places. What’s the Heavenly places? That’s the first Heaven that we talked about. That’s the air around you, right here. He’s there. We are seated with Christ Jesus in Heavenly places; not beyond the moon—here. So, we have Paul’s advice, if you then be risen with Him, seek those things that are above. Set your affections on things above, not on things right here. That’s where the battle is. So you just walk peaceably in the middle of that and carry out your ministry. [53:55]

 

Q: In Romans 14:18, what does Paul mean when he says our service to Christ is approved by men?

 

That’s a part that we often don’t do justice to—is the way that a person who serves God in the power of the Holy Spirit in righteousness, peace and joy will find approval from men. Not always because there will be the ones who are “after you” and “trying to do you in.” Right? And, very likely, that will be by drawing you into some silly thing about eating. Who do you think stirs up controversies like that that tend to preoccupy our churches? Well, you know who does, right? Now, what I would say, Richard is challenge that verse in your life and become a person or be a person who has a quality of righteousness, peace and joy that only can be explained by the action of the glorious arm and see what men do. Well, some of them will want to kill you; there is no doubt about that. See, we misunderstand badly if we think that the populous in the people generally disapproved of Christ or the apostles and the Christians in the first chapters in the book of Acts so, that’s something that we really have to understand and work through. Now, not everyone is going to love us if we do that. In fact, some will hate us even more if we manifest that kind of righteousness, peace and joy. [55:57]

 

Q: Could you tell us stories of your own experience of these Ministries?

 

I think I could. I don’t generally do that but, for example, I have never sought to publish a book. Never intended to write in religion. I did intend to write in Philosophy and I think I would have to say, and you have Keith and Jan here, who have known me for a long time, that whatever has been accomplished in that direction, down to particular passages and particular parts of the books, have been a manifestation of God’s finger. To me, that illustrates what I am talking about here in terms of ministry. Now, there have been other exciting events in my life where I think my life has been saved and by God’s action but that’s, I think harder to validate. I don’t have any doubt about it but it’s much easier I think to stick to the occasions of ministry and say, “Well, look at that.” You can look at that and then you have to decide what you are going to make of it because that’s always open to interpretation and it should be. In the case of Jesus Himself here, for example, here He was casting out demons and people were saying it’s Beelzebub, so you can’t sort of overwhelm people and convince them with that but you can encourage them to try it and see if it isn’t validated in their own experience but I just mention that one thing which is something that is public and people can make up their own minds about what it means. Is that a start? [58:30]

 

We’ve got a bunch of questions here now. Todd, can we start up with you again because if we don’t break now, we will wind up at lunch. So, we will start with your comment when we come back. Please come back in 15 minutes or so.

Listen to all parts in this Spirituality and Ministry 2012 series