Passion of the Haystack
Current mood: excited
Preface: For those who have already heard me in my passionate physco worldview which blossomed at home, adapted at YWAM, it is now growing it deeper and deeper through a new class, Perspectives, which I’ve been taking. I am dedicating this to those back home, the ReVoLuTiOn, though I believe it is for all of us.
Sometimes we think it won’t happen. Its just day to day life, how could that ever change our little corner of the world? How can so few people change the dynamics of a city? Or a region, of the world? Well, I can assure you first of all YOU NEVER WILL if your trying to be big. I know for us artsy/music people fame is what we crave. And maybe that’s just extroverts in general. I don’t know about introverts, as I am not one, but if I asked my husband I am sure he would say that’s not exactly what he pursues. But Introvert or extrovert, I can say that we want it to be all about us. The way we act, and communicate all goes through this filter marked “me.” Sadly the world doesn’t revolve around us, or at least everyone else hasn’t realized yet it revolves around me. So, Unless our desires change so that we are living not to do what we want to, make us bigger, or become famous….we are never going to get there. Get where? Making God famous. To have this revolution we can’t be living to make us big, it has to be to make God big. Did you know that if you study the Bible from Beginning to end, not reading it through the filter of “me” (what do I get out of this), you will discover that God’s purpose is to make His name glorified. It makes sense, He is God after all. He deserves it. Its not selfish either, it just comes with His character being God. Did you know that to glorify God is the same thing as making Him famous? That’s basically what the Greek and Hebrew meanings of it mean in our modern day English. Make Him famous by helping people to know Him, to come into a relationship with Him where they too can worship Him and make Him famous even more. How can we make God famous if we are trying to live for ourselves, and in a sense, to make ourselves famous? We can’t. But let me assure you, the closer you get to God, and the more you know Him and see His purpose, the more you will desire to make God famous.
Okay, now lets get around to making God famous. That is essentially what we are trying to do for our revolution: Making God famous where we are to the ends of the earth. Its possible. It really is. God desires for all people to know Him. He loves them. So of course He will make a way. And He wants to use YOU. Can you do it? Yes. Don’t believe me?
Let me tell you a story about a haystack. There once was a haystack in Massachusetts. I am sure it was like most haystacks, excepting some animals had eaten hay from the bottom if it, making a cave-like feature in it. One day, while some college students (yes, young people like you) were out taking a walk, a thunderstorm caught them and they took refuge in this haystack. Now, mind you, these were Christian young men. In fact, one of them was very passionate, he became a Christian at 17 after his dad had been praying for years that he would, and not only that, but that he would give his life to missions (which was unheard of at the time). This dude, Mills, leads them in a discussion of the obligation we have to making God famous. They then took advantage of this haystack and started to pray. Not just for them, through the “me” filter, but for the nations of the world. And that started something. In fact, it started a whole movement. They started the first student missionary society in America: “The Society of the Brethren”. I am sure that was a hip and cool name back then, though in our ears it might sound like some disturbed fraternity club. What it was, though, was a group of young people dedicated to making God famous in the world. This started another group: The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Now this is important. This was the first Missionary agency in America. Lets review really quickly: This one passionate guy started praying with His buddies. These guys impassioned some others to basically start the whole American movement of thinking beyond ourselves to do what God asked us to: make His name famous in the earth by making followers(disciples) of Him. Started by one young guy! Its not like He planned all this out! And you don’t think you can’t do something too? If your working to make God famous while following His leading, its a Big Fat Lie if your believing otherwise.
Okay, okay, so what happens next? This all happened in the early eighteen hundreds, less than 100 years since a few protestant Christians were actually thinking about fulfilling the great commission (also started by some young people). William Carey really got this off to a start, saying that we should tell other people in the world about Jesus, to which the English Christians responded “If God wants to save the heathen he can do it without your help, or ours.” Wow. They were sosooo compassionate. Anyways, the Haystack people were among the first of the modern Christian world movement. Over fifty years later, two of the kids of one of the missionaries sent out by the above-talked-about society fluffed a few more feathers. So, this movement -you guessed it- was also started by a few young prayerful passionate and determined people. This brother and sister saw how God still wasn’t being made famous like He should be. So they started praying. And God got a few other young people around the country praying also. They ended up happening to meet at this Christian conference at a college, again, in Massachusetts. Apparently Massachusetts is the place. So they decided to pray together. The conference wasn’t meeting in the evenings, so they asked if they could talk a little then, for those who wanted to come. In fact, they decided that they would have a declaration card also, a declaration to commit your life to God to spread His fame in all the world. They were praying to get 100 people sign it by the end of the conference, which, go figure, happened. They then organized their group a little better naming it the Student Volunteer Movement. It spread. It boomed. Within the next thirty years a hundred thousand students became missionaries or spent their whole lives supporting those missionaries and spreading God’s fame where they were at. Note: It was their whole life. In today’s population standards, that is equal to 5 million young people. Non-Christian Sociologists have no other name to call this generation in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s but the missionary generation. I never learned that in history class! In fact, you’d never guess, but the YMCA was one of the major supporters of the SVM, they helped it grow dramatically! Now we just play racket ball and learn yoga or jazzercise there. This movement was so huge that at a secular university, Penn state, over 95f the students were dedicated to missions and evangelism! How cool and crazy is that? Yes, this particular movement died out, but since then there have been other ones.
Now we are in our own. Of course its not known yet, its not in your history book. But we are starting it. In fact it might never be in a history book, because Jesus might come back before it will be written. In our generation it is actually plausible for the whole world to hear of Jesus if we are diligent and follow God. We are not supposed to wait for the end of the world while living our own lives. Biblically, we are supposed to make it come, because Jesus said that He will not come back until His kingdom is preached to all people. That’s our job. Not just the extrovert, you introverts are also called to that. This has never been completeable until today, although its still close to 1/3 the world’s population. From these history lessons we can see a few major themes.
The first would be prayer. I like this description of prayer attributed to David Wells (whoever He is). Its basically saying that prayer is supposed to be rebellion. Rebellion to what the world considers normal. When we lose heart and don’t pray, we are basically saying that everything which we see is bad, not in line with God’s will Biblically, and not perfect should be accepted as normal. We are resigning ourselves to say, “yah, this is the way it just is.” But it is so not the way it should be! We are to rebel against our desire to live for “me,” rebel against the selfishness, drugs, porn, pride, indifference, rebel against the hatred, racism, and lack of us doing things to spread God’s fame….etc…. WE are to rebel against anything that is not how God wants it to be. We to fight a revolution in prayer for Lompoc or wherever we live, not resigning ourselves to “I can’t do anything.” Don’t fall for that! Also, when we resign ourselves we are saying that God will not overcome the evil. Now that seems evil in itself to think, because God really can do everything. He Has, and promises to overcome all evil in fullness. WE can’t just wait it out until we die, knowing it will get worse, and hope that Jesus will come back soon to rescue the world in all its evil (which He WON’T until we do our job of taking the gospel to everyone). Someone like US must take action. I am not asking you to freak everyone out by doing crazy things. I am asking you to really PRAY. And then do the crazy things God tells you to do after you pray No, seriously, I stink at praying like I know God wants me to. But my lack of prayer comes from 2 things: Not believing that God is Big and Good enough to answer my prayers and believing things are not bad, resigning myself to be okay with the way things are. So on a flip side, If I am to pray, I have to Believe God can change the situation, and I have to believe that He is not famous enough yet, His kingdom sure hasn’t come enough yet, His will is not done enough yet, things are not OKAY! Now when I believe these things, I want to pray. Otherwise I am settling. Settling is never okay.
So, the haystack and the missionary generation prayed. They also, like I was talking about earlier, seemed to care more about making God well-known so He could be worshiped than caring about themselves. What is it in your life that keeps you from caring about that more? Let me see….these are a few things on and off at times in my life which I might have cared more about for myself than to do something for God’s name to become great (famous) in all the earth: Relationships, Guys, my husband, career, becoming famous myself, people’s opinions, getting more money, being comfortable, me in general etc…. Ya. We all deal with these idols. But that’s not an excuse to keep holding on to them. Unless we are passionate about making God’s name more well-known than we are passionate about living for ourselves, let me reiterate, We will not be world or our corner of the world changers. We will not revolutionize. We will not spread God’s name. We will not Care enough to, because we are more important. Our own life, education, career, relationships, comfort…..those are more important than instigating a revolution for the King. A revolution which proclaims “Long live the King and may His name be Glorified in all the Earth!” We too can change the world starting with one haystack at a time.