You can watch this talk from Erwin McManus on iTunes. Go to iTunes. In the search box type “Mosaic”. Scroll down to the podcasts and pick “Mosaic Erwin McManus”. This talk is from September 13th “A Voice in the Wilderness”. You can download the video or the audio. I suggest you save this so you’ll have permanent access to it. Here are the notes from today…
Read Mark 1:1-8 and John 1:1-12 and 19-28 in preparation for this. Pick the Word up. Engage with it.
We find ourselves thinking, “If God exists, He should make himself readily available to us.” We think God is silent but we just keep losing Him in the noise that haunts our brains.
John is sent as a voice from the wilderness. “I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord – just as the prophet Isaiah said.”
When John appears, there had been 400 years of silence between God and humanity. Zechariah, his father, was a priest and had been selected to go into the Holy of Holies … his one chance at performing that ceremony. In there, he is approached by Gabriel telling him that his wife was going to have a son named John. Zechariah questions this – “how is this possible, my wife is old?” and he is struck silent because he did not believe.
If we are going to have a voice in wilderness, we have to commit to shatter the silence. It is not that God isn’t speaking, He speaks through His people and they’ve lost their capacity to speak to the world.
John came as a witness to the light. His job was to make sure the people recognized the light. Our job is not only to shatter the silence but to dispel the darkness.
The light of God isn’t condemning – though people think it is. When we stand in the light, we see things that had been hidden. We blame God because He caught us naked. We think the light made us naked. It didn’t. We were already naked just hidden in the dark. The light exposed your already hidden condition.
When you step into the light, you realize it was never about revealing your brokenness but bringing your healing. Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing if people looked at you and me and they saw us pointing to a light that freed us from a life of guilt and shame? Freed us from judgment and condemnation so they could trust the light because they trust us?
That’s why McManus calls his community Mosaic because they openly acknowledge they are broken and fragmented people – irregular, sometimes perceived as worthless pieces – brought together by the Masterful artist to create something beautiful when His light shines through them.
When the light and life of God dwells in us, we become a work of art and a guiding light to those who are desperate to find hope.
John came to point to the light, not the darkness. A barbarian in the wilderness came and spoke to the people, not some pious priest from a temple. John – in all of his dirt, grit, animal skin, eating locust and honey – could speak to the people and say “repent” and they’d listen. The “perfect” priest from the temple could have no such effect on people as a man who’d come from the desert, where the evil spirits lived. He’d seen battle and grit and darkness and he pointed to the light.
People don’t need you talking about God in the comfort and convenience of your safe lives. They need to know if we can step into the darkness and come out stronger than when we went in.
It is the power of your testimony. It is the power of “real”. It is “authentic manhood”.
The human spirit seems drawn to domestication and away from the mystery of a life filled with adventure and risk. Jesus didn’t save you “from the world”. He saved you “for the world”. The church isn’t supposed to be a hiding place to protect us from the rest of humanity. If you believe, you do not need a safe haven.
Isaiah 40 predicts Jesus – “A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert. Every valley will be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will be leveled; the uneven ground will become smooth, and the rough places, plain. And the glory of the LORD will appear, and all humanity will see it together, for the LORD has spoken. A voice was saying “Cry out!” … the grass withers and the flowers will fade but the word of our God endures forever … God is the creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to his understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men will stumble and fall, but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and now grow tired; they will walk and not grow faint.”
God is saying to you – “I know you’re weary. I know you’re tired. I know you’ve stumbled and have fallen. I know you are broken and that you have weaknesses but I will pour strength into you in times of weakness, pour hope into you in times of despair. I will pour life into you when you are nothing but death warmed over. I don’t get tired. I will put my strength in you and you will soar like wings of eagles.”
As believers, we know this to be true. We are to be salt and light. We are a mosaic of broken and fallen men but we have been restored by the Father and as His light shines through us, other men want this.
God did not save you for a cushy life. He saved you to be a warrior in His battle – to rescue the hearts of others by the power of your testimony of what God has done in your life.
There is no greater call OUTWARD for us. There is no greater cure for “incurvatus” living than to pour your life out for others to point them to the LIGHT.