We're expanding our territory! Through the Grace of God, the gifts of His people, and the talents of our staff, we here at Crossroads are excited to dive head-first into a fresh approach of spreading the Gospel. This new frontier is found in our multichannel availability on the internet called Crossroads 360.
The other day, while considering what a daunting task this initiative really is, I found myself drawing inspiration from those who have gone before. People like 18th century theologian and evangelist, John Wesley.
During the course of his 88 years, besides being the founder of the Methodist church, Wesley did much to promote the concept of mankind's intimate connection to God through His Son, Jesus. He was a pioneer in the "open-air" church services and over the course of his ministry it is estimated that he preached to hundreds of thousands of people. However, John Wesley's humble beginnings were not quite so impressive. Just look at a series of excerpts discovered in one of his personal diaries. He wrote:
May 5th, Sunday morning:
Preached in St. Anne's. . . was asked NOT to come back anymore.
May 5th, Sunday evening:
Preached in St. John's. Deacons said "Get out and stay out."
Preached in St. Jude's. Can't go back there either.
May 19th, Sunday morning:
Preached in St. Somebody Else's. Deacons called a special meeting and said I couldn't return.
May 19th, Sunday evening:
Preached on the street. Kicked off the street.
Preached in a meadow. Chased out of the meadow as bull was turned loose during the service.
June 2nd, Sunday morning:
Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.
June 2nd, Sunday afternoon:
Preached in an open pasture. Ten thousand people came out to listen.
The determined perseverance of a person led by God. He may not have been consistently successful. . . but he was successfully consistent. And it is just that kind of perseverance that we are striving towards. The Apostle Paul beautifully summed up our Divine motivation this way:
"...I have not yet been made perfect. But I move on to take hold of what Christ Jesus took hold of me for. Brothers and sisters, I don't consider that I have taken hold of it yet. But here is the one thing I do. I forget what is behind me. I push hard toward what is ahead of me. I move on toward the goal to win the prize. God has appointed me to win it. The heavenly prize is Christ Jesus Himself." (Philippians 3:12b-14 NIrV)
I love that last part: the heavenly prize is Christ Jesus Himself. As we keep Him as our primary focus, sharing His love as our ultimate goal, we cannot go wrong. That's not to say we won't encounter the occasional bull attempting to run us off the field. It's just that we are determined that he will never succeed in getting us off of God's course. As with John Wesley, no amount of discouragement will ever do that. As author Eugene Peterson paraphrased,
"...God is beckoning us onward - to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back." (Philippians 3:14 MSG)