I recently sat down with two Christian leaders that I greatly honor and respect: Gayle Erwin and K.P. Yohannan. On two separate occasions these men were at Calvary of Albuquerque in New Mexico to speak about and share their respectful ministries, Servant Quarters (www.servant.org) and Gospel for Asia (www.gfa.org).
|Gayle Erwin teaching at Calvary
I interviewed both for an upcoming project on the book of Revelation. Prior to their speaking engagements, I asked them three straightforward questions about the final book of the Bible. Their answers were both engaging and challenging.
Without getting into great detail—you’ll need to wait for the finished product—I was struck by a common theme both insinuated in their answers: today’s church today, like the seven churches discussed in Revelation, greatly needs a revitalized love for Christ and His mission in the contemporary world. Yes, the church has problems; but the church also serves a Lord who wants to bless and lead His people.
So how does one begin to be a blessing to both God and our fellow humans?
Gayle’s answer was given in his message on “The Father Style.” First and foremost, know the character of the One whom we serve: Our Father. His name means compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in mercy, faithful, merciful, loving, and forgiving (see Exodus 34:5-7). For Gayle, the Christian’s quest to be salt and light in the world begins with the knowledge of who God is and how His identity plays out in our life and service to others. As his famous book “The Jesus Style” declares, the answer is found in styling ourselves after Jesus.
|K.P. Yohannan teaching from Mark 10|
K.P. Yohannan’s answer was just as penetrating. Using the new Gospel for Asia Ministry Bridge of Hope (www.gfa.org/sponsorachild) as his springboard, K.P. challenged the church to be like Christ, to learn from Jesus, and to follow Christ in humility. Using Mark 10:13 as his text, K.P. reminded the congregation that we are to have the mind of Christ in all we do. So if Jesus has a high view of helping those in need—in this case children—then so should we.
In one of his newest books, “Destined to Soar”, K.P. writes, “This humility of Christ will not become a reality in my life by accident… It only comes by my deliberate willingness to obey what Jesus told me to do: to take His yoke upon me. That means from now on, Jesus and I are yoked together. Where He goes, I go; where He turns, I turn; when he stops to comfort a widow, bless a child, or wash His disciples’ feet, I do the same.”
According to Gayle and K.P., the key to becoming Christ-like is not found in slick sermons, self-help books, or religious entrapments. No. The key lies in obeying Christ, following Him, and entrusting ourselves to be led by the Spirit toward His person and work.
Or as K.P. reminds us, “With all the frantic activities of modern-day Christianity, it is time for us to learn that it is not the plans we make or the programs that matter most, but the simple truth of letting His life flow through us.”
Shakespeare’s Hamlet opens with the line, “To be, or not to be– that is the question.” Shakespeare goes on to expound various scenarios Hamlet muses over his relation with Ophelia. As Christians, we can also pose the question. Instead of deliberating various answers to the question, our resolve should be firm: we yearn to be like Christ. Or as Paul clearly declared, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.”
In Christ, we have the question and the answer wrapped up in Him. We do well to follow!