Evangelizing…

Having studied and prepared for this last Sunday’s homily, it struck me what St. Peter says in his Pentecost sermon. Quoting the prophet Joel, the apostle preaches the word of the Lord: “‘In the last days I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,’ declares the Lord.” All flesh.
We often say that the pouring out is through Baptism, and I don’t disagree, but perhaps there is more(?).
How does the Father pour out the Spirit? Through the Son. When? On the cross (breathed out His Spirit); at Pentecost; in Jn. 20:21 (among others?). But we choose sides: is it an outpouring for salvation? For ministry? For judgment? Yes.
The Spirit of the Lord has been poured out on all flesh, just as the Christ died not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world. Pentecost was the sign for this. Perhaps when evangelizing (when “gospeling” the unbeliever), instead of trying to simply and only convince him that Jesus died for his sins and was raised for his justification, as it is often the case that sinners don’t think they either sin or need to be justified, perhaps we ought say to the sinner, “Of course you need to gather to Christ (which is better than saying, “Go to church”) Your Lord and your God has poured out His Spirit on you. Therefore repent and be baptized and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you and your children.”
Our Lord Jesus is their Lord and their God. Their unbelief does not make Him any less so, even as it condemns them. Moreover, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Now, no one says, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Spirit.

Something to ponder.

My God is Bigger than Yours

I submitted this as the “Pastor’s Thoughts” in our local newspaper (Hoisington Dispatch). Hopefully it will spark some conversations.

My God is Bigger than Yours
By the Rev. Mark Lovett
Come, you who say you have no God, you who say there is no God. Come, you who say that God is fashioned in the image of man, a gene, a crutch, or an illusion. Come, you who call your God “Money” or “Possessions” or “Social Status”. Come, you who call your God “Tradition” or “Personal Taste” or “Politically Correct”. Come, you who call your God “Allah” or “Karma” or “Mother Earth”. Come, you who call your God “Live and Let Live” or “Peace” or “Humanity”. Come, you who call your God “Equal Rights” or “Free Choice” or “Relativism”. Come, you who call your God by whatever name seems appropriate to you in the moment, whether that name is “Love” or “Mercy” or “Going Green,” or whether you call your God “Do Not Judge Me” or “Free Will”. Come, you who think your God is powerful and mighty, able to cure the ills of society, the pains of injustice, and the evils of oppression. Come, you that believe in your God called “Reason” or “Reasonableness” or “Common Sense”. Come, you who trust in your God called “Spirituality” or “Religion” or “Religious Enough”. Come, you who worship your God called “Evolution” or “Science” or “Enlightenment”. Come, you who sacrifice on the altars of the God you call “Middle Class” or “The Bible” or “Prosperity”. Come, you who worship the God called “Church” or “Morally Upright” or “My Faith is Between Me and God”. Come you who sacrifice to the God you call “No One Knows the Real God” or “All Religions Are the Same” or whose God has a name that ends with an “-ism”. Come, you who worship the God called “Faith”. Come, and I will show you the one true God.
The one true God is not like your god. His ways are not your ways. He is not God because He is fair, treating everyone the same. He is not God because He frees from addiction, poverty, or injustice. He is not God because He is fashionable or popular or politically correct. He is not God because He makes us feel good or loved or because He overcomes social and racial barriers. He is not God because He puts money in the bank or cars in the drive or food in the belly. All of these things He does, but if you only know Him by these things, then you see only His backside and not His face. If all you know of God are these things, then you only know His shadow and not His substance so that you do not worship God but an image of God, which is idolatry. Money will disappear and the poor we will always have with us; friends will forsake, family will move, spirituality will wane, reasonableness will change, taboos will rise and fall, morality will waste away, political freedom is an illusion, control ends with death, and relativism is the slave of the strong. But the one true God is bigger than these gods.
The one true God is not subject to the whims of men or the fashions of nations. He is not swayed by reason, wealth, or whine. No other god is as strong as my God. For neither Allah nor Krishna, neither wealth nor want, neither freedom nor slavery, neither Americans nor Pakistanis, neither science nor mysticism, neither morality nor relativism, neither equality nor oppression, neither philosophy or common sense, neither tradition nor personal taste, none of these false gods have done what my God has done; none of these are as strong or as powerful as my God, for my God has destroyed what no other god can even fight. My God has beaten death itself. What has your god done?
My God’s name? Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, the Son of Mary; the Lord of all.