Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Bravehearted Gospel and dying to self.

I just finished listening and watching Eric and Leslie Ludy's second online event. They were talking about the message in their new book The Bravehearted Gospel. (To be honest, even though I got a virtual advance review copy, I have not read it yet, due to technical difficulties.) Despite not having read the book yet, I think I have an basic concept of what the book's about: returning the church to the true Gospel; fighting and standing up for the truth that is in the Word of God. The Ludys are passionate about Jesus and about calling His followers to truly follow Him. Along with their video feed tonight, there was a video clip and an audio sermon, both of powerful preaching by Paris Reidhead. They can be accessed at www.braveheartedgospel.com. One of the things from the very end of the audio sermon that stuck with me was this story. (here is a excerpt from a transcript of the actual sermon.)

Two young Moravians heard of an island in the West Indies where an atheist British owner had 2000 to 3000 slaves. And the owner had said, "No preacher, no clergyman, will ever stay on this island. If he's ship wrecked we'll keep him in a separate house until he has to leave, but he's never going to talk to any of us about God, I'm through with all that nonsense." Three thousand slaves from the jungles of Africa brought to an island in the Atlantic and there to live and die without hearing of Christ.

Two young Moravians heard about it. They sold themselves to the British planter and used the money they received from their sale, for he paid no more than he would for any slave, to pay their passage out to his island for he wouldn't even transport them. As the ship left its' pier in the river at Hamburg and was going out into the North Sea carried with the tide, the Moravians had come from Herrenhut to see these two lads off, in their early twenties. Never to return again, for this wasn't a four year term, they sold themselves into life time slavery. Simply that as slaves, they could be as Christians where these others were. The families were there weeping, for they knew they would never see them again. And they wondered why they were going and questioned the wisdom of it. As the gap widened and the housings had been cast off and were being curled up there on the pier, and the young boys saw the widening gap, one lad with his arm linked through the arm of his fellow, raised his hand and shouted across the gap the last words that were heard from them, they were these, "MAY THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING!" This became the call of Moravian missions. And this is the only reason for being, That the Lamb that was slain may receive the reward of His suffering!

When it was finished, I was just shocked. When I read in the Bible Jesus' teachings to "count the cost and take up your cross" and to "die to yourself", it doesn't usually sink in what it means to "die to yourself". To have all my dreams, joys, wishes, comforts, inclinations and opinions not just subservient, but cast aside entirely, deserted. Dead. To really live out the song "I Surrender All". To give unconditionally without thought to self... that sounds familiar. It sounds like love. It sounds like Jesus.


  1. Hey Liz! Got your e-mail...thanks for finally sending one. Guess I just wanted to know what was up, which was answered in these blogs of yours.

    That's a really cool story. After you finish what you're in the middle of reading and are looking for new material, I would strongly encourage you to pick up Walking with God, by John Eldridge. The theme you mentioned in the story of the Morovians, of completely and totally surrendering (or, in a very real sense, killing) our wants and desires for God, permeates the book. Eldridge really demonstrates how to have an intensely personal, minute-by-minute walk with God. Not a set of rules or regulations, not a corporate head knowledge, but a living, growing RELATIONSHIP with God...talking to Him and hearing from Him...2-way communication. Unfortunately I don't think I'm being very clear, but just trust me that it is awesome. It's truly revolutionized the way I look at my faith.

    That's really awesome that you see the submission that's needed for God to have a powerful impact in your life. I hope I'm not being pretentious or putting words in your mouth; I'm just commenting on what (I think! ;-) you're saying.

    There's this great quote in C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity where he says, "It begins the moment you wake up. All your plans and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. The first job consists in shoving them all away; the second consists in letting that quieter, deeper, stronger life flow in..." I make a point to try and do this early in the morning, if not every day, then at least a few days out of my week. This definitely takes some sacrifice (like getting up at 5:30, lol), but it is well worth it! You go to a quiet place free from distractions, and you surrender yourself to God. This can be hard, because those wild animals previously mentioned are still prowling around the perimeter of your awareness. Again in Mere Christianity, Lewis states "We're not merely creatures that need improvement, but rebels that must lay down our arms."

    But, once you've mentally put yourself under the submission of Christ, recognizing yourself as the servant and He as the master, God will speak. He waits patiently at the edge of our conversations, at the edge of our chores and busy-ness, for us to look up and notice him. He won't rudely interrupt us, but he'll wait until we see the futility of living apart from Him. I'm not saying that you are, but just trying to show how easy it is to get wrapped up in things.

    [Sorry if I'm boring you here, but this is a big lesson that God's taught me recently and so I feel led to share it with others. I already posted a similar comment on Corey's myspace.]

    I just begin by praying for people. I pray for your family, for my other friends, for my Mom, my brother...whoever God brings to my mind. And as I do, He fills me with His strength. So then I begin my day calm and relaxed, recognizing Him as the one in control. It's much easier for me to subordinate my desires to the needs of others when I do that.

    Anyways, I apologize for being so long-winded, but you know me. ;-)-
    It's awesome you got a blog...I won't pester you to write on it, but now I know perhaps someone will continue to read what I post on here. Have a blessed day. I'm praying that God gives you such a strength in your dependence on him that others sit up and take notice. That God will give you the strength and words to spread His love to your peers and associates, and that you would feel an intensely personal relationship with Him that guides and protects you. God Bless.


  2. Awesome blog! I've only had time to listen to half of the sermon (lunch breaks need to be longer haha) but it was good before I even read that story you posted. Wow... Could I do that? I sure hope I could. I hope you don't mind now that I'll comment on Shane's comment as well as I'd probably be repeating myself from my emails and such. I'll agree with your last paragraph though. It is an all or nothing life long commitment. You are either for God or against him (how politically incorrect! I want my choices in shades of gray! lol).

    Anyway, I have not had a chance to read Walking with God, by John Eldridge but will make it my next book if I can (reading Sinner by Ted Dekker right now!!!).
    As for finding that quiet moment with God in the mornings, it is so hard! I mean, I already get up at 5:30 for work! I can't really totally focus on anything from the moment I wake up (shower, eat, drive, work, eat, work, drive, eat, finally possibly some free time depending on the day). I hate that I can't spend time with God each morning! I'm personally really excited for school to start as I'll be able to actually set aside some time in the morning to pray and set my priorities and thoughts on God (earliest class is 8 on two days). This is a good thing too as school has a lot of temptations and just a general evil darkness it seems. As for when I'm home, I still really haven't figured out how to have a good quiet time with God. I can listen to the New Testament on my Sandisk at work usually (listened to the whole new testament, though not in order, about twice now) and usually have some time to spend reading the Bible in the evening. You guys have any other ideas? As a side note, if you can, I would really suggest getting the Bible in audio and really listening. The one I'm listening to is the one that they gave out at the second concert the 6gs played at. God'sfest I think it was. Just like writing versus speaking tends to bring out different feelings, ideas, and just general style from a person (at least I know I tend to explain some things better written while others spoken and they tend to have different styles), listening to the Bible seems to bring out different things versus reading it. Not saying either is better then the other. Give it a try. Especially if it is well read, you can really feel the possible emotions portrayed in what was spoken. I know passages have struck me differently when listened to then when read. Just a thought. :) Of course I just may be noticing passages I didn't really notice before reading the Bravehearted Gospel.

    God Bless you all!
    Corey <><

  3. Shane, you don't have to apologize for long-commenting. You were definitely not boring me (don't you remember, boredom is a choice that I don't make ;) Your insights are a blessing, not a curse. Yours as well, Corey. I can see God working in you both!

    "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." - Philippians 1:2-6


  4. Thanks Liz. Btw, you guys, I've started posting again on my blog, theintrovertspeaksout.blogspot.com.
    Drop by when you can. Adios!