By Brian Nixon, Special to ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS – August 15, 2016) — Pastor, author, and former president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Dr. James Emery White recently spoke at Calvary Albuquerque, delivering a message from the book of Esther. In this teaching, entitled “Becoming a Maker of History,” Dr. White touched on how we can be swept away by the call of Christ, helping shape history for God’s glory.
As I listened to the message, I summarized it with five “c’s”: call, capture, cost, challenge, and commitment.
In the call section, Dr. White reminded us to reach out to a lost and dying world by actively participating in the Great Commission, reiterating the fact that with the Great Commission comes a cultural commission — a call to transform our world. Dr. White stated, “The kingdom is meant to come, which means the Christian is revolutionary, dangerous, in the best sense of the words.” From a historical vantage point, Christians have always led in cultural and kingdom endeavors. Dr. White then asked, “What are we — Christians living today — doing in our day towards this end? The great danger is that we do nothing.”
The second point of the message can be summarized as capture. Here, Dr. White used Esther as an example of a person who found an opportunity afforded her by God to seize the moment. Dr. White stated, “God will provide and inject instances in the ebb and flow of our life to do something remarkable and life changing.” For Esther it was capturing the moment to allow God to set in motion meaningful history. Dr. White summarized these instances as “kairos moments.” The Greek word kairos describes a moment in time that holds deep significance; it is a supreme moment. Dr. White’s question for the congregation was “How will we capture the time afforded to us to make a ‘kairos moment?’ How will we use our position and influence for God’s kingdom?”
The third section I summarized as cost. Dr. White stated that every “kairos moment” has a cost; there is a “price tag—something we must give, a sacrifice—in order to change history.” Every person must come face to face with the cost. But as Dr. White also stated, sadly, “Many people let the cost count them out.” Dr. White questioned, “What if there is no significance without sacrifice?” In the end, it is as German martyr Dietrich Bonheoffer stated, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
The fourth section of Dr. White’s message could be summarized as challenge. Dr. White reminded us that Mordecai (Esther’s uncle) knew history was going to be made (God was at work), so Mordecai laid out a challenge to Esther: submit yourself to God and allow God to make history through you (see Esther 4:12-14). With submission to God, the question is not that history will be made (God wants to use people for His purposes), but that a person surrendered to God will make it; it is a question of obedience and willingness. God will conduct His affairs according to His will, changing our culture. Dr. White asked, “Are you willing to rise to the challenge to be used by God?”
The final point I described as commitment. When the opportunity arose for Esther to act, she did—even in the face of death (see Esther 4:12-16). Esther stated, “If I perish, I perish” (v. 16). Esther found that God’s heavenly will transcended her earthly understanding. And instead of Esther’s death, God allowed the demise of her archenemy, Haman. Mordecai challenged Esther, but it took a commitment for her to follow the call. And as Dr. White reminded us, “Because of Esther’s commitment, her decision led to a changed culture and paved the way for the coming Christ” (by keeping the Jews alive so that the Davidic covenant remained intact).
In a world that seems out of whack, Dr. White’s message was a wonderful reminder to yearn to be a history maker by fulfilling the call (the Great Commission), capturing opportunities to be used by God, counting the cost—and being willing to pay the price, stepping up to the challenge, and having commitment to follow the call.
How we need more history makers in our world! Start with the person you see in the mirror each and every day. Who knows, you, too, can be an Esther.
To hear the message in its entirety, click here: http://www.calvaryabq.org/teachings_view.asp?ServiceID=4099&AcceptsCookies=yes
For more information on Dr. James Emery White, click here: http://www.churchandculture.org/james-emery-white
Photo captions: 1) Dr. James Emery White speaking at another event. 2) Dietrich Bonheoffer. 3) Christ Among the Dragons. 4) Brian Nixon.
About the writer: Brian Nixon is a writer, musician, and minister. He’s a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus (BA) and is a Fellow at Oxford Graduate School (D.Phil.). To learn more, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Nixon.
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