Thursday, April 28, 2011

Who Will Go For Me

I was truly blown away and saddened last night to hear of the passing of someone that I consider to be a "General" in the army of God. David Wilkerson was in a car accident and was killed. One of the saddest things I think is that much of the current generation of the Christian church may not be that familiar with the life and ministry of a great man of God. That is regrettable.

I remember early on in my life, sometime in the late seventies, our church showed a movie called "The Cross and The Switchblade." I remember that being a big deal because, being raised in a pretty strict Pentecostal church, movies weren't really something that was, shall we say, encouraged. Here I was though watching this movie about this crazy preacher with a heart to minister to young gang members. As I think about it now, I understand the calling of God, and how that can lead you into some unusual situations, but at the time I just thought He was crazy. I kept expecting one of the gang members to kill him off and that would be the end of the movie. That never happened. In fact, as this preacher continued to tell of the love of God to these young men and woman, he began to have some amazing fruit. In fact, Several worldwide ministries were born out of the obedience of this "Crazy Preacher."

Over the years, David Wilkerson has done some pretty incredible things to advance God's Kingdom in some pretty dark places. He has also had his fair share of controversy, but what man following God's call does not? I think the world has lost a mighty man of God.

My thoughts though, have turned to the thought of who's next. Over the last few years there have been several, for lack of a better term, "Big Time" Preachers that have passed on. None of them were perfect men, but they have had huge impacts on the lives of thousands. Now another man of God has gone on to his reward, and another "General" Billy Graham may also be finishing his race soon. So, Who's next?

I notice as I read scripture that many times when a man of God has finished His race, another person will step in and take that "Mantle" of leadership. Moses had Joshua, Elijah had Elisha, even Paul had his Timothy. There are others, but you get my point. Who will be the ones to step up and say, "I will take this baton, and run with it?" Who will be the one to say I will be the voice of God to a generation. Where are the mighty men and woman of God that will lay down their lives and reputations, and aspirations to preach the gospel to a world that is living in it's final days?

How often do we look at the things going on in the world and say to ourselves, "Somebody should do something or say something about this." We wait for the next David Wilkerson, or Billy Graham to ride in on a white horse and "save the day." It seems that the somebody never shows up, and the something never gets said. When will we realize that we are the ones who have the opportunity to pick up the baton and run?

I love the story of the Disciple that comes to Jesus, and as they survey the huge crowd of people that has gathered, discuss how they are going to be fed. The disciple says, "Hey we should point these people to Denny's or Chili's or something so they can go eat. They are going to die. Jesus response was not what the disciple expected. Jesus said, "You give them something to eat!" What??? Me?? How am I supposed to feed them? It would take a years wages! Was Jesus Ignorant? Did He not understand they didn't have any food or money? No, Actually Jesus understood that it doesn't take great resources to do great things, it just takes faith and a little action to back it up. Jesus has the disciples sit the people down and proceeds to do an amazing miracle. Why do we think God can't use us to do mighty miracles as well?

Who is going to be the next great man or woman of God? It could be you, if you will just believe, be patient and stand strong. Who knows what God could do in your life. Pick up your baton, whatever that baton may be, and run your race. Don't wait for tomorrow! Start right now, and watch God do great things.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Facebook, Twitter and Fortune Cookie Christianity

I'm sure we've all done it at one time or another. We enjoy our delicious Chinese food, and then the waitress comes by with those funny little cookies with the fortune inside. Now to be honest with you, I don't like to eat fortune cookies, but I am always curious what it says on the inside. So, I crack open that cookie, rip out that tiny piece of paper and read what great wisdom it has for me today. It's usually something really deep like "Friends are good." Wow! now there is some revelation. After I have digested this amazing piece of advice from my cookie, I usually throw the paper on my plate, and go pay for my food and leave. For that one moment, I can't wait to see what the paper says, but after that it's on with life.

I LOVE Social Networking. I've loved it for quite a while now. I started out on MSN Spaces, until everyone migrated to Myspace. You know, Myspace, You remember that don't you? Well anyway, All of the sudden, after all the time I spent choosing my song and choosing a super-cool background, getting some sweet music videos and getting all of my BFF's up on my page, everyone bailed on myspace. Myspace became "so five minutes ago." Everyone was talking about this thing called facebook. I resisted at first. I mean surely there is nothing more cool than myspace. After a while I realized that resistance was futile, and I signed up for my very own facebook page. Shortly after signing up for facebook, everyone started talking about "twittering." I thought to myself, what is this "twittering" the people speak of? Is it some sort of condition you need medication for? Is it something that requires a restroom? I don't know! What is twittering?

Then I found out. Twitter was another avenue for social networking, where I would face the incredible challenge of taking this vast sum of information in my head and condensing it down to 140 characters or less. I MUST do it! So, I signed up for my twitter account. Then I found out you could link it to your facebook account so you would only have to make one post and it would post on both pages! I Can't believe it!!! I'm in Social Networking heaven!!! Now I, Tom Osborne, can let the whole world know that I am going to get gas in my car. Or that I'm way excited that my favorite football team just scored a touchdown, or that I'm having an amazing cup of green tea with just the right amount of honey, and that it is YUMMY!!! Followed up by a couple of these :) :) so you now I'm very happy about it. You know, it's the stuff the entire world is waiting on pins and needles to hear from me.
Come to think of it, I guess Social networking does have it's ridiculous side.

On the flip side though, as a pastor, I've found social networking can be a pretty useful tool. I can share information, or announcements. I can share what I feel like God is doing in my life and the life of the church, and on several occasions, I've been able to have some very serious discussions with people that don't go to my church, or that live in other places. Sometimes, I just read a scripture in The Bible that inspires me, and I want to share it with everyone. Social networking also has a very useful and powerful side.

There is one thing though that I've been pondering. For the Christian, Social networking can become sort of a place for "fortune cookie Christianity." What I mean by that is, I see people all the time posting scripture, or quotes by famous Christians, or maybe just some deep thought that came to some persons mind. That's all great, but the question is this. Does it become like a fortune cookie? I mean honestly, we can read a quote someone posts and think, wow they must be some sort of spiritual giant. When the truth is, maybe they googled "Cool christian quotes," and posted the first thing that popped up, but it really doesn't have any true impact on their lives, or ours.

How about us? We read that tweet or facebook post or for that last 2 or 3 of you that myspace post, and we say to ourselves, wow that's cool. However, just like me after my Chinese food, we scroll right on down to the next tweet or post and forget what we just read. Do we post a cool scripture on prayer, but at the same time we spend more time on facebook, than actually praying? Do we post our 140 or less character Bible verse without really stopping to consider how that verse applies to our life? Worse yet, are there times when we live our entire lives like a giant tweet. Everything is quick, fast and in a hurry. No time carved out to really seek the deep things of God, or to hear the voice of God. Just a quick 140 characters worth of "devotion" and then off to the rat race.

I'm not trying to throw some hyper-religious condemnation at anyone. It's just a thought. Do we really think about what we are posting, or think about what someone else is posting, or is it just another fortune cookie to us. Sometimes, right in the middle of the ridiculous, we can find some real wisdom from God, if we would just slow down and pay attention. You never know, maybe God likes social networking too. Instead of having an @IAMGOD account, maybe He just likes to borrow yours and mine. Maybe when I read someone elses tweet or post, God is trying to break into my crazy paced life, and speak to me in 140 characters of less. Am I paying attention?

BTW if you don't follow me on twitter(@TRC3) or facebook(, you really should. My posts and tweets will be the most inspiring, thought provoking and life-changing things you will ever read!.................or they may be completely ridiculous. :) :)
Be Blessed Tom