Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Learning from Billy

Now that the holidays are in full swing, I have ample opportunity to spend time in silence and solitude, considering what God may have for me in 2010. The last week or so has been a great time of catching up on reading and studying 1 & 2 Timothy, two books that document Paul's encouragement to Timothy as he plants churches, combats heresy and evangelizes. 2 Tim 4:5 has been of great encouragement to me lately, especially after reading an article from TheResurgence.com about church planters. In the passage, Paul reminds Timothy to not lose his mind in all situations and do the work of an evangelist. While my calling to help put campus movements on San Diego university campuses may not be identical to a church in the traditional sense, I believe there are some ecclesiastical similarities. Many of, if not all, the principles discussed were well suited to my situation and as a result, I was encouraged.

Meditating on this passage and the article led me to pursue additional reading on how to stay cool under fire and start figuring out a working profile of an evangelist. It's absolutely going to be a work in progress, but I started by reading the autobiography of Billy Graham and staying in 1 & 2 Timothy. While Jesus is the obvious prototype (for lack of a better word) for conducting ourselves throughout life and ministry, I have gained much wisdom from Billy's life and ministry thus far. Three things have stood out in my reading of the autobiography:

1. He obeyed his God-given calling and pursued it passionately.
2. He was a man of prayer.
3. He understood God's grace through Jesus because the first person he preached to was himself. Only after preaching to himself was he able to adequately communicate it to others who needed to hear it.

In all three of those things, I see Jesus. Jesus pursued his calling with obedience and passion, prayed like it was going out of style, and communicated grace through his words and actions. Practicing this sounds like poker: a minute to learn, a lifetime to master.