This is the summation of Mark Hoover, pastor of New Spring Church in Wichita, Kansas. He spoke at a recent national meeting of the Baptist Bible Fellowship International. I took some notes and I hope this will encourage you as it encouraged me to continue to serve Jesus.
Several factor make today’s society increasingly difficult for any kind of Christian ministry:
- There is a growing hostility toward Christianity.
- We have a distracted audience (social media, entertainment, etc)
- The American church is not healthy.
- Fewer people are surrendering into ministry and getting involved in the work of the Lord.
Though ministry is difficult, God is still doing some great things. The key is not to try to change culture. The key is to change what we have total control of – ourselves.
Mark shared three warriors and three battles. 2 Samuel 23 lists several of the men who were leaders in King David’s army. Three of these soldiers are provide principles for Christian ministry and service.
Remain true to your call.
“And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the Lord wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.” (2 Samuel 23:9)
Eleazar fought for David until his hand “clave unto the sword.” He fought side by side with his king. He took the sword until the sword took hold of him. He did not give up or quit.
God still calls people into ministry. But many are dropping out. Eleazar is a reminder to keep fighting with the sword (Word of God – Hebrews 4:12) until God wins the battle for you.
Be careful of the seemingly unimportant.
“And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the Lord wrought a great victory.” (2 Samuel 23:11)
The Israelite army ran away. Why? Maybe because it was just a bean (lentil) field. Why did Shammah stay to fight alone? Because the enemy was in the bean field.
Many Christians are being defeated because the enemy (Satan) is attacking in areas that appear unimportant. It’s just a ‘bean field.’ But if the devil is in the bean field it becomes a battlefield.
“Neither give place to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:27)
Act normal even in abnormal conditions.
“And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:” (2 Samuel 23:20)
Benaiah was having an abnormally bad day. He faced the worst enemy (lion) in the worst condition (snowy day) and in the worst location (pit). But he decided to react normally and chase the lion anyway. Thus, he got the victory.
Sometimes Satan attacks us in multiple areas of our life simultaneously. He wants us to think that everything is against us. So what do we do when we feel like everything is going against us? Chase the enemy anyway.
To chase means you find a way to do normal in abnormal conditions. Don’t let the abnormal conditions keep you from doing what you should normally do. Keep chasing. Keep fighting. To chase means you are confident of the victory even in the worst situation. Rather than become defensive, you become offensive. It is often when we are attacked on multiple fronts that God brings the greatest victories.