"When I was a small boy," says Bruce Larson, "I attended church every Sunday at a big Gothic Presbyterian bastion in Chicago. The preaching was powerful and the music was great. But for me, the most awesome moment in the morning service was the offertory, when twelve solemn, frock-coated ushers marched in lock-step down the main aisle to receive the brass plates for collecting the offering. These men, so serious about their business of serving the Lord in this magnificent house of worship, were the business and professional leaders of Chicago.
"One of the twelve ushers was a man named Frank Loesch. He was not a very imposing-looking man, but in Chicago he was a living legend, for he was the man who had stood up to Al Capone. In the prohibition years, Capone's rule was absolute. The local and state police and even the Federal Bureau of Investigation were afraid to oppose him. But single-handedly, Frank Loesch, as a Christian layman and without any government support, organized the Chicago Crime Commission, a group of citizens that was determined to take Mr. Capone to court and put him away. During the months that the Crime Commission met, Frank Loesch's life was in constant danger. There were threats on the lives of his family and friends. But he never wavered. Ultimately, he won the case against Capone and was the instrument for removing this blight from the city of Chicago. Frank Loesch had risked his life to live out God's call on his life.
"Each Sunday at this point in the service, my father, a Chicago businessman himself, never failed to poke me and silently point to Frank Loesch with pride. Sometimes I'd catch a tear in my father's eye. For my dad, and for all of us, this was and is what authentic Christian living is all about."
There is nothing like a living example of truth to dispel the fog from our brains and motivate us to action. Truth clothed in flesh is like meeting a famous radio personality for the first time; it's amazing how different they look from what you had imagined.
My brothers and sisters around the world, it is time to live out our faith and to graciously stand for what we know to be right. It's time to seek God for our families, towns, cities, countries, and world. Yesterday I went with a friend of mine, early in the morning, to walk around a high school and pray for the students, teachers, principal, vice principal, parents, maintenance crew, and every other person connected to the school. There is so much violence, drug abuse, immorality, and general hopelessness among our teens these days that such anguish has certainly reached heaven's ears. Certainly God is concerned about the oppression people are under and has come down to see if the situation is as grave as he's been told!
Genesis 18:20 So the Lord said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so blatant 18:21 that I must go down and see if they are as wicked as the outcry suggests. If not, I want to know."
Jonah 4:10 The Lord said, "You were upset about this little plant, something for which you have not worked nor did you do anything to make it grow. It grew up overnight and died the next day. 4:11 Should I not be even more concerned about Nineveh this enormous city? There are more than one hundred twenty thousand people in it who do not know right from wrong, as well as many animals!"
We're praying for ways to serve and bless all those connected to the school: "Lord, lead us in our prayers! Lead us into the kinds of ministries you want to see developed there. What is the best way to serve these people, share the gospel, and disciple them?" Our ultimate aim is to see a vibrant, Spirit-led, scripturally relevant church planted at the school and all sorts of ministries going on for the kids and staff there. We want to see the Lord of love, life, and liberty exalted in that place. We want to see people worship Him with zeal, power, and understanding. We want to see them delivered from their addictions, futility, and idolatry and brought into the kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Col 1:13-14).
Look carefully at what God said to Moses:
Exodus 3:7 Then the Lord said, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt. I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 3:8 I have come down to deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up from that land to a land that is both good and large, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the territory of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 3:9 And now, indeed, the cry of the Israelites has come to me, and I have also seen how severely the Egyptians oppress them. 3:10 So now, go, and I will send you [Moses] to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt."
Notice how the idea of "deliverance" is God's, but he chooses to send people to serve Him in the process of saving others. God is the One who sees oppression; we are those who either create it or comply with it. But God stands against it and marshals himself and others to do something redemptive about it.
But notice that he doesn't do it alone. He says, "I have come down to deliver..." but then he commands Moses, telling him to "go!" For some reason it seems that God loves to involve people in his plans. God sees oppression, so he sends a person to bring about a new state of affairs where righteousness, peace, and love reign! In other words, we get the privilege of walking with him and participating first hand in his world-changing plans! Wow!
So ask yourself a question today: "God, what great plan of yours are you calling me into? How can I serve you like Frank Loesch served you? What are you doing in my midst and how can I get on board?" You may find yourself caught up in story of wild proportions! Just read on in Exodus and see what I mean...