Thursday, October 25, 2018

When I stopped listening to the crowd...



*This article was first published online at Christian Today.

I’m sick and tired of listening to the crowd. It’s tiring. It’s demanding. It’s not always truthful. It’s sometimes uplifting and other times not.

If God could shout a message loud and clear, I’d be ready to hear it.

Let me side track a few moments.

As the State of the Union Address was being delivered, the secret service ensured one of the state secretaries stayed behind in the White House. In the unlikely event that a catastrophe took place, this person would assume the position of President of the United States.

He or she is classified as the ‘designated survivor.’

As I sat on my couch watching this new Netflix TV series, the character Tom Kirkman (played by Kiefer Sutherland – you may remember his from the series ‘24’) was hurriedly sworn in as POTUS. Then he was thrust into the Situation Room and had to help stabilise the political tension in the Middle East, and prevent the U.S.A from going into economic meltdown, all the while dealing with his own insecurities of being in such a prominent position.

Episode one, done and dusted.

The show reveals Tom Kirkman as just a ‘secretary for urban development’, someone who many characters in the show believe was not capable of being President of the free world. Leadership was thrust upon him. Though was he ready?

You can hear the questions loud and clear. Who am I to be President? Am I really who people say I am? Are the critics right, should I step down? Or do I have the capacity?

Taking a step back from this fictitious adventure, and considering my own life, I have had to deal with my own sense of adequacy. Am I called by God to be a full-time minister? If I am, then am I qualified enough for this work? Will people recognise my capacity and calling? Will others support me on the journey? And what do I do if there is a disconnect between what I think about me, and what others think about me?

I promise you, I’m not a raving lunatic. I just have lots of questions.

Truth about yourself can seem elusive and even seemingly subjective when you listen to all the noise in the crowd. People have different opinions on you. Sorry to break the bad news. Not everyone thinks you’re amazing. Some think you’re awesome. Others misunderstand you. Others talk about you behind your back, but others have your back.

This was no different to Jesus Christ.

Consider for a moment, that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. Some just called him Joseph’s son. ‘He’s just a little boy born in Nazareth. I’ll believe he’s the Messiah when I see some more proof!’

Jesus called himself the son of Man, and the son of God, sent from the Father. He knew the Father had sent him, that he was the promised Messiah to bring salvation to the world. Many in today’s culture just think Jesus was a nice man who walked on the earth teaching nice moral ethics. (I suggest to you, if Jesus walked around saying he was the Son of God and that he is, ‘the Light of the World’, he either was, or he’s a lunatic!)

Jesus died on the cross for the sins of humanity. Some just thought he was crucified like any other convicted criminal of the day.

Jesus rose from the grace to conquer sin and give new life and hope. Some scholars today work hard to discredit the authenticity of the reality of the resurrection narrative.

Some people of his day absolutely misunderstood who he was.

People can say what they want

All I’m saying is, people can say all kinds of things about you, but that then doesn’t change the truth of who you are. People can make assertions about your work performance. People can talk about your family when you’re not in the room. And through all the noise, there is one truth that I feel like God is screaming out to tell you.

That’s why I published Jo Brookshaw’s latest drawing called ‘Daughter Zion.’ Take another look at it. In Isaiah 58:1 the Bible says, ‘Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet.’ This picture is of my daughter Shekinah, giving out humungous shout to the Lord.

Consider your own thoughts about your life. Some of us have negative self-talk that drowns out the rest of what we hear.

It’s hard to hear God above the sound of our own insecurities.

Some of us have been abused and mistreated and so the core of who we truly are is lost in the hurt, pain and bitterness. But God is shouting out something to you today…

You are who I say you are!

That is, you find your identity in who God says you are, not in who you may or may not think you are, and surely not what the crowd says about you.

A moment of preaching

Forgive me, because I’m a preacher by trade, so permit me a moment:

You are made in God’s image.

You are a child of God.

You are loved beyond measure.

Your personality is hand-crafted.

Your sin does not define you.

Your looks do not fully describe you.

You are who God says you are.

Tom Kirkman and Pete Brookshaw will need to keep discovering who they truly are. Tom is capable to be President. Pete is loved by God more than he realises.

What about you?

Can you hear God yelling out… ‘You are who I say you are!’


Pete Brookshaw is the Senior Minister of The Salvation Army Craigieburn. He has a Bachelor of both Business and Theology and is passionate about the church being dynamic and effective in the world and creating communities of faith that are outward-focused, innovative, passionate about the lost and committed to societal change. He has been blogging since 2006 at www.petebrookshaw.com about leadership and faith and you can find him on:

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