If you received the e-newsletter we sent out yesterday, you’ll know that Michael and I are currently in Montana, at what is called the “SBS Boost.” The Boost takes place every two years, and is an opportunity for Biblical Studies staff from YWAM campuses throughout North America, to get together and to talk about the challenges we face in our programs, the ways we can improve in what we offer our students, and the trends taking place in both YWAM and the church. Michael and I had the great opportunity to meet people from YWAM locations in Tijuana, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Montana, and others, and that was a highlight for us. But the major takeaway (at least for me) was being reminded of the centrality of the Gospel and that the cross needs to be our focus as we minister and teach.
You’d think that this would be a no-brainer – we are Bible teachers after all! But as we were reminded throughout the week, the Gospel continues to be compromised in the world. It’s not considered “politically correct” to state that Jesus is the only way to salvation – that all people are entirely sinful, and unless we believe that He has taken on the punishment for our sins by being nailed to the cross, we will not be saved. Jesus – God Himself – took our sin upon Himself, and defeated death, so that those who believe in what He has done, will live forever with Him. As Peter in Acts 4:12 puts it: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
A couple weeks ago, Michael and I had the pleasure of spending five days with the Mountain Venture Discipleship Training School, prepping food for them as they camped in Kananaskis. On each week of a typical DTS, a specific topic is addressed – it could be relationships, the father heart of God, missions, Bible study, etc. While we were camping with the DTS, the topic of the week was “Christianity 101.” Though Michael and I didn’t get to sit in on entire lectures (we had meals to prepare), we had the opportunity to listen to snippets here and there, and as you may guess, the real message of the week was the Gospel. The Truth that God created the world, man rebelled, breaking the perfect relationship that existed between man and God, and that ever since, God has been orchestrating His plan of salvation. The Law could not save us, but Jesus took on the just punishment for our sin – death, and those who believe are forever found “in Him.” As was said during the Boost this week, those words – “in Him” – are the two most important words in the Bible. In Him we have died to sin, and in Him we have been raised to new life in Christ (Romans 6:5-11). Because His righteousness is counted to our credit based on His taking our place on the cross, those who believe are raised up with Him; God has “seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:6-8).
God has really been highlighting the centrality of the Gospel – of the cross – to me over these last few weeks, but another major theme of my time this week has been realizing I can do better. I can do better in the job that I do, whether it is in SBS or in Titus. I can invest in students more, I can be more thorough in my grading, I can be more intentional about reading more broadly so my lectures are richer. More importantly, however, I can do better in sharing the Gospel, whether it is with my students as I teach the Word, whether it is with strangers I meet, whether it is with people I already know who do not know the Truth.
On the last day of the DTS camping trip, the lecturer challenged the students to not tell themselves that because they “don’t have the gift of evangelism,” they are somehow excused from preaching the Gospel. I am so guilty of this. As an introvert, I’d convinced myself that I’m exempt from sharing the Truth. That is totally unbiblical. When Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20), He didn’t add, “except for you introverts. You get a free pass on this one.” God has called us all to share the Gospel – God has called me to share the Gospel. This means I need to bring my SBS lectures back to the centrality of the cross. This means I need to be listening to the Holy Spirit, obeying when I’m told to share the Truth, whether that is with a friend, a family member, or a complete stranger.
The Gospel is the most loving message in the world – we have been saved by grace. We are wholly undeserving – I am wholly undeserving – but God’s love has made a way for us to be restored into relationship with Him. Praise God! This is the best news in the world. Why wouldn’t I want to spend my life sharing it?! Lord, help me to make the Gospel – help me to make You – the centre of my life in every way.