I just returned from speaking at a conference with Milt Rodriguez in Ohio. It was a great experience. Because I’m back-logged from being away, I don’t have time to write the post that I had wanted to for this week. So I’ll save that one for next Monday, God willing.
But I do want to make a few observations about our conference.
1. A number of Christians who are involved in the present missional movement confessed “I thought I had known the Lord, and now I realize I really don’t know Him very well. I want and need to know Him deeply.”
2. Quite a few believers said, “I’ve been a Christian all my life and have been to many different types of churches and have heard thousands of sermons, how come no one is preaching this? I’ve never heard this before. Why?
3. A number of the folks who have been reading missional books said, “I now realize that I’ve been serving God in my own strength. I really don’t know how to live by an indwelling Lord, I admit it. I want to eat from the tree of life and not from not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, as I have been. I’m excited to know that I actually can live by Jesus Christ.”
4. Some of them, weeping, said that they had been set free. They confessed that they had always known in their minds that the Lord loved them, they would repeat it and tell others the same thing, but it really didn’t register deep within their hearts. But this weekend, something broke and it broke them.
During one of his talks, Milt talked about the difference between “the root” and “the fruit.” That much of Christianity today is focused on “the fruit” — doing something for God. Looking at the earthly life of Jesus. And of course, trying to imitate it. Instead of focusing on “the root” — the source of life, which is Christ in us, which naturally, organically, and without effort or strain produces the fruit, once it’s tapped into.
My main sharing had to do with some of the nuances of living by an indwelling Christ, the difference between eating from the two trees (practically), a practical beginning on how to encounter the Lord Jesus through Scripture, and the bait and switch gospel.
I also unloaded my heart about those young men out there who are trying to do something for God. The entire weekend we spoke out of Romans 8. As I said in the introduction, “we’re going to take a bath in Romans 8 this weekend.” What a glorious chapter it is.
Milt then said something that resonated with lots of people in the room. He said, “when I was 21 years old I was encouraged to serve the Lord and I did, at full steam. Yet I had just gotten saved! And the reality was, I hardly knew the Lord. I thought I did and I was ambitious to serve Him. But years later I realized that I really didn’t know my Lord that well. I was trying to serve a God and tell others about a God that I knew little about experientially.
This is the dilemma that so many Christians in their 20s and 30s face today.
Update: Click here to listen to two of the messages I delivered that weekend. They are called “Living by the Spirit” and “If God is For Us.”