2 Chronicles 7:14
…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (ESV)
- This Sunday I talked about the honor of being invited to and attending the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC (with Pastors Stewart and Rodriguez) last week as an illustration for my sermon on John 15:18-16:4a. You can listen to this at www.goodwillchurch.org.
- I still think the line in the sermon that captures the category-busting experience of the National Prayer Breakfast for me is the one that recalls when I was asked, “Do you have your Jesus book?”
- The “Jesus” book is a small, beautiful, hardcover book that contains the four Gospels and the Book of Acts. That’s all. The “Jesus” book contains no other content, not even a copyright notice. I had to ask to learn that the Bible text is from the J.B. Philips translation (1958). Yes, I now have my “Jesus” book. So did every person in attendance. Many were Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or non-religious, from what I could see. All took their new “Jesus” books with them.
- No President of the United States has missed or failed to bring his best to the National Prayer Breakfast for each of the 66 years we’ve had it. President Trump was no exception. Every president prior, from Eisenhower to Obama, has his most memorable comments recorded in the booklet we were handed at our tables.
- Per the published material they put on our plates with our “Jesus” books, the National Prayer Breakfast is centered on “the Spirit of Jesus of Nazareth.”
- The “fellowship” – the “friends” behind this huge operation that hosts 3,500 invited guests from 140-160 countries at the Hilton in Washington – world and religious leaders from all over the globe – they want us to befriend people and share Jesus with them. I had what felt like divine appointments with many insiders of this group. They were focused on personally encouraging me to learn from them and to be encouraged. “Befriend and share Jesus with the leaders you can reach.” That’s it. Amazing, eh? Very convicting. I spoke with someone else who went this year. We agreed that this may lead us to do things that we would not otherwise choose to do. The real risk is not in being bold for Christ. The real risk comes from not being bold for Him. I am risk-averse, so this means it’s time to ante up for Jesus of Nazareth. The National Prayer Breakfast taught me that I can simply contact a leader I might see as far over me in the government or the military and offer my time, friendship, and prayer. There is no end to the stories of how this approach changes the lives of all involved! (Yikes!)
- I have to think about the cynicism I brought to the event. I expected a heavy dose of ecumenism. I did not expect what we all got: a potent, unapologetic, authentic, gracious witness to Jesus Christ. “Lord, I believe. Help me with my unbelief.”
- Seeing Scotty and Tiffany Smiley – who I’ve hosted or enjoyed someone else hosting in our area 3 different times in the last years – and seeing Matthew West – who will be at Goodwill this July… well, this made me think about how small God makes our world. I am just this guy who said “yes” to Him a while ago and He – God – has gone so far overboard in blessing me and connecting me. I will not serve before obscure men, right? Amen! God is crazy like this. He doesn’t know when to stop.
- If you’re reading this, how can you question that Jesus is seeking to bless you AND use you in His purposes for this world? He is calling you. He will equip you. He is already working behind the curtain. He will not be denied. People all over the world want to hear about Him… and only Him. “If my people… pray.”
- We ought to continue to pray for Congressman Steve Scalise and his continued healing from being shot. We ought to pray for his friendship with Congressman Cedric Richmond too. It’s all about our relationships. America is a nation of relationships, beginning with our relationship with God through Jesus of Nazareth. Friendship is the key to life. It is no small thing that Jesus said He no longer calls us servants, but friends.
- May God richly encourage and bless you this week!