I was doing a bit more reading this week (finally nice to get back to it after such a busy month) and came across this provocative article. It’s written by Brad Nelson and can be found on the Next Wave e-Zine website.
It is reprinted for our consideration:
For several weeks I’ve been studying the significance of facing. Only I have never actually taken the time to connect the concept of facing to praxis.
The story of Lazarus being raised from the dead makes for a good metaphor. Having heard about Lazarus’ sickness, Jesus eventually decides to turn and walk back to Judea—all the while knowing that Lazarus is, in fact, already dead. Jesus knows he’s not walking toward Lazarus. He’s walking towards a tomb and a shiva ceremony. And while Jesus certainly knows the dramatic ending this story will have, that does not prevent him from weeping. This picture of Jesus turning his face and walking toward the pain is striking to me.
Thank you to all those who wrote to voice their appreciation for the previous article on this topic, but thankyou most of all to Terry Mengle of Kent, Washington in the USA whose transparent and heartfelt e-mail stirred me deeply and led me on a further quest for language to describe how to make the shift from having a focus on making an impact to achieving genuine penetration in peoples’ lives. Terry wrote:
“I enjoyed your article and sent it out to several friends. It caused quite a stir, but some of us were wondering if you would elaborate about the difference between impact and penetration. Many of my friends hope you will say more about this topic and what you feel the Lord is saying about this. How do you aim for penetration?- without impact? What makes for effective penetration? As a pastor for 30 some years I recognize now that I often went for impact with little lasting fruit. In fact, after serious consideration I feel I gained little of lasting value for all the effort. We must not let the younger generation make the same mistake. How can we help them avoid this costly error?”
There is much I could say in response to Terry’s e-mail, but allow me to simply tell you a story and then make a few basic observations.
About six years ago I was asked by a friend to come over to his church in Hermanus, South Africa to dedicate their new facility because I had been prophetically involved with catalysing its construction. As you can imagine, it was an incredibly busy time for my friend Mario Marchio. As the church’s founder, he was overseeing the completion of a building that was not only intended for use by his church and their attached Christian school, but he was about to announce to every church in their town of about 30,000 that this new 850 seat auditorium was available to every church, free of charge, whenever they needed it because, while it might have been built by Bosko Ministries, it belonged to the Kingdom.
A day or so after the packed dedication service, Mario took me for a drive to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of the African continent. It’s a windswept part of the world with nothing much to see except to be able to say you’ve been there and that you’ve seen the place where two oceans geographically meet. Big deal, eh? Well, it will always be a big deal for me, because it was on the drive home that Mario penetrated my heart and changed me forever.