Saturday, January 17, 2009

Now is the Time for Impact

One recurring theme that I have encountered among those in seminary or various aspects of ministerial training is the assumption that their kingdom impact with somehow come once their training is done. I lament this sad sentiment mainly because it fails to account for the myriad opportunities constantly presented to believers throughout life, regardless of what season they are in. The sense of "already, though not yet" is an eschatological notion derived from reflecting on the nature of Christ's kingdom. However, it also has applications to the minister's impact as well. Even though one might be undergoing training for ministry impact, there are a multitude of chances for effective service "already," though the career may "not yet" materialize until the training season is completed.

For example, I have embraced this attitude regarding service in the church during my time attending Dallas Theological Seminary. Though clearly in a season of training in preparation for a ministry career, I've known that plentiful doors for meaningful impact are already open. I simply am not content to wait until conditions are "just right" before God will use me. This has resulted in some marvelous (I've marveled at them) ministry roles and responsibilities during our time in Texas. From formal teaching, to lead pastor and now back in children's ministry, God has not let up.

At Gateway Fellowship, I have the blessed privilege of presenting "The Bright Knight" story to a church once again. It's not just any story that seems to keep the kids interested, it's my story. By this I mean that it conveys my passion for my life's calling as a minister, a communicator and a teacher of God's people. It paints the picture as to why I'm compelled to training people in Christ, to see them grow in the knowledge of his grace and to see them develop into ministers of his mission. Below is a short clip recorded by my friends David and Deb Shelton:

I've preached with passion and resolve before. I've taught with animated conviction. But seldom do I share my soul with an assembled body of God's people like when they hear about how Daniel was called by the King to leave his village, traverse through Slombog Swamp and over the Lonely Plains and pass through the Rocky Ridges to arrive at the Crystal Mountain. Once there, he was to retrieve a backpack full of the Precious Mineral and return with it back to the High Mountain range, so that once he threw the mineral into the High Mountain Lake the poison in the water would be burned away, providing the King's people with pure water to drink. The pure water gives life, after the poisoned water brought death. The King could certainly purify the water himself, for his very touch burns away poison. However, for reasons which seem good to him, he has decided that the water must be purified through the faithful duties of those he commissions for the quest of going out to retrieve the mineral that will burn poison away for a generation.

Whenever the King selects a new knight to perform this quest for their generation, he sends them out with their own supply of pure water (taken straight from the Front Gate Fountain directly in front of the Crystal Tower - the King's castle). The pure water brings life. The pure water has regenerative effects. The newly commissioned knight can see things they couldn't see before, hear new things, has new abilities, new strength and new perception that wasn't part of their previous experience. The pure water even regenerates their skin so that they reflect sunlight and moonlight more than usual. As a result, they stand out when they first leave the royal hall. People can spot them on the street. Neighbors and passerby point them out and stare. The glowing stranger can only mean one thing: the king has commissioned and sent out someone new. Because of this a saying arose in the Valley of Joy through the generations - those fitting the physical description, accompanied by the great horn of commission heard sounding from The Crystal Tower, came to be called The Bright Knight.

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