Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Homily 46: Now I See (as preached by an orthodox rebel)

"I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior. I have declared and have saved, and I have shown, when there was no strange god among you; therefore you are my witnesses...that I am God." Is. 43:11-12

It is good to take stock of what God has done in your life, for His real activity in the midst of your real world is the very foundation of evangelism. We err when we think that evangelism is about delivering some prepared speech or memorized strategy that's composed of various verses, talking points, and arguments. Unless something is real to you, it will reek of insincerity (and if there is one thing our generation is acutely aware of, it is insincerity). No one believes the salesman who does not believe in his own product. That is why even the greasiest of them have to at least feign interest. If their heart is not in it, you will know. Likewise, no one believes the evangelism of someone to whom God is reducible to soundbites (or even feigned interest!). To be a "witness" for God and Christ does not mean taking the party-line out of some dutiful yet empty sense of loyalty. Rather, "that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you" (I John 1:3). The precedent is simple: it is all a matter of reality, not dull responsibility. You bear witness because you have tasted and seen (in some way) that the Lord is good.

That is why it is wise to take stock of God's goodness to you, all of His goodness, both in your life specifically and in believers' lives in general. Ask yourself: How has God manifested His goodness to you in the past week? month? year? (It is easier to find out than you think, for even small things make grand testimony: God is in the details.) What does His incarnation mean to you? What does His w/Word mean to you? The point is that God is in the business of proving Himself, and He never demands what He hasn't already earned. If He declares us to be His "witnesses," then obviously we have witnessed something. Furthermore, whether or not we have witnessed something speaks to the most important question of all: is this whole "God" thing real to you? Do you really believe in who He is? in what He has done? what He is doing? Or are you merely playing at religion? playing at spirituality? playing at mysticism? going to church and doing your duty and spouting the right phrases like a machine? I have news for you: God is not interested in machines but rather flesh and blood people that can bear witness to His actual goodness in space and time. He is looking for those who will be marked by His goodness and thus go tell His story because it has become their story. The Christian life is about God becoming more and more real to you everyday, for He builds His case in His children. Is your life a testament to the reality of God?

-Jon Vowell (c) 2013


  1. I am a quieter soul than my daughter and I stand amazed at what I see in her day-to-day relationship with her Savior. She talks to Him the way she talks to me--as a parent, as a friend, as someone who understands her. He is ever-present in her personal sphere. She thanks him--joyfully--whenever something good occurs, she asks for His guidance when things trouble her, she gets angry at Him and unloads her pent-up frustration on Him (I have heard her through the walls sometimes as she questioned Him and railed about something), but, mostly, she just leans on Him in every kind of circumstance and pours out her heart at His feet. Acts 17:28 is very real for her. And anyone spending a good amount of time with her cannot help but see that God is REAL and is in the here-and-now--for she testifies to that with her daily living. She often senses a need in someone else and offers to pray for them--right then and there. I listen to her pray and I can tell, she IS talking to Someone she KNOWS. Her witness is absolute because she lives and breathes it--NOT just says it. She can tell you without hesitation all He has done for her. She gives me inspiration to be a better witness myself!!

  2. "What happened to our voice
    What happened to our influence
    Tell me who will listen to uneducated congregants
    and why should they, when all we have to say is
    Bumper sticker doctrine and cute catch phrases
    Does this amaze us that no one will take us seriously
    We talk big but then we sit in atrophy
    Apathy they make comedy of our hypocrisy
    Unaware of true biblical philosophy" -Orange County Supertones, Escape from Reason

    Great post. It made me think of this song.

    1. D:

      I've heard that song. It's awesome.