Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We Only Have One Jerusalem

I have been on several mission trips in my life. They are exciting. It is always good to see God do much in a short period of time, and it is always a little disconcerting to me. Why does He seem to do so much in some places, and so little in others? Why does He seem to do so much when we go on mission trips? Some say that it is just because that is fresh ground. Mission trips to unreached people are fresh, they have not heard the gospel before, they are not hardened, and so they believe easily and quickly. Yet, there are some unreached groups that never believe. some say that we are jaded in this country, hardened by so much preaching and by the spectacle of religion that has turned some off to the gospel. And, still, revivals break out even in the Bible belt.

The answer I have found is simple. It is unbelief. "And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief." (Mat. 13:58) When people did not believe, Jesus did not do much in that place. Whenever the gospel is preached and believed, lives are changed. When the gospel is preached and unbelieved, lives are not changed. The unbelief of the crowd, however, is not what is on my heart. Only God can quicken a heart, only He can open deaf ears, and only He can draw men to the gospel of His Son. What about the unbelief of the preacher? Paul professed, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Rom.1:16)

When we see great things happen on the foreign mission field, and we return to our own homes and see the "same old" church and community, we can be at risk of unbelief. We can begin to doubt that the gospel is the power of God for savlation in our Jerusalem. The issue then is not the unbelief of our community. The issue is our lack of confidence in God's ability to save anyone, anywhere.

There are hundreds of foreign countries in which to preach the gospel, but I have only One Jerusalem. My home is in Many, Louisiana. I minister daily in two Louisiana parishes and one Texas county. While I still desire to go and preach the gospel in the unreached nations of the world, I live in an increasingly unreached nation and community.

My Jerusalem is my calling, especially for this year, and I have been convicted of my unbelief that God could save here, and so I have given myself to my Jerusalem. As surely as my public ministry will fail if I do not take care of my own family, my ministry around the world will fail if I fail to believe God in my Jerusalem.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel, but do not fail to believe that the gospel is still able to save in your Jerusalem. You have only One.