Friday, May 19, 2006

Submergent and Decreasing...ever Decreasing

There is a battle my friends, a battle for power, and every where I look there is a desire for recognition and power, to be a leader of a movement or an organisation...this must stop...this is not the way of the Gospel.

Picked this article up today and I counsel you to read it and listen...original article by, click on following title to read full is a pdf file.

John 3: 28-36 The Proper Imbalance
(A Sermon preached by Senior Associate Dean Willie J. Jennings
at the Duke University Chapel
For the 2003 Baccalaureate of Duke Divinity School)

John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease."

He must increase but I must decrease. These words capture the character of Christian
ministry. We who live in service to Christ must interpret our lives through these words.
That crucial exegesis of our lives through these words can never end, because God will
never bring it to an end. This exegesis is eternal.

There is a truth in John’s words so basic, so terrifying that we often ignore it. What is that
truth? God does not share. God does not share our lives with our family, with our friends,
with our churches, with our spouse. God does not even share our lives with us. God in
Christ seeks to re-pattern our lives so that his voice and his message become our life.

There is no balance here. No Christ and me, fifty-fifty, half and half. Failure forms in our
life in trying to find a place for the Messiah’s life in our lives. There is no balance, only a
holy imbalance.

God has come into this world to do what we cannot do. We must never forget this. We
cannot resist the lure of violence as a power that allows us to get our way. We cannot
overcome the horror of death. We cannot drive away the despair in peoples’ lives. We
cannot transform this world into a beloved community.

John understood this – Christ must increase. This is both a plea and a statement of fact.
The cunning of reason crumbles before the stratagems of the evil one. The power of the
strongest body fades at the onslaught of the forces of death. We can save no one. We
have no power to transform any life. Christ must increase. And increase he shall – God in

Jesus has broken the power of death and has taken hold of all creation as the focus of
God’s redeeming love. This will be seen. This will be known by all flesh.

All that remains is the decrease. You are not the Messiah. My friends, anyone in ministry
must say this to themselves at least once a day. But you must also say, “I prepare the way
for him.” The decrease gives us everything. The decrease is not about taking away, but
giving way. It is giving Jesus the stage of our lives to do his work. John the Baptist got it
just right. The stage must be set (prepare the way) -- all that remains is the decrease.

The journey of ministry is the giving way. The journey of ministry is not a journey of
self-discovery, or self-realization, or self-revelation. If you are using ministry as a way to
search for yourself, get out now. It’s not too late. Go do something else with your life. I
say this only to save you from the disappointment that awaits you. You will never find
yourself in ministry. Never!

It is not about you or me. It is about Jesus Christ. We preach and live Christ not
ourselves. We prepare the way for him. All that remains is the decrease. And with this
decrease, the one sent from the Father will pour out his Spirit on us without measure.

With this decrease, God’s restoring and renewing power will be seen in our lives. With
the decrease, the Son of God will be exalted and glorified through our lives.

My friends, the moment is critical, the hour crucial. Lives are at stake. Christ must
increase and we must decrease! Will you yield to the Spirit of the living God? Will you
give way to Jesus Christ? If you do, then the journey you will take will be filled with
awesome surprises. And with each step and at every stop God will be there.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.


christian lies said...

Interesting. So I take it the writer does not belive, We are God ?


OR do a Google Search on
yoga "we are god"

It has stopped raining - I expect my prayers worked.

dinsy said...

Thanks for making the type bigger, I can read it now.

How far do you take this? If all the way (we must decrease to nothing) does this imply that there is no tiny speck of good in us anywhere? If there is some good in us, then it would be done away with if it decreased to nothing. If we only decrease some (a bit, a lot, mostly) where does it stop?

Anonymous said...

Not "nothing:" Ephesians 1; also Ch. 5... John 17. John 14:1-6. We who are His are loved by the Father as Christ is loved.

There is "none righteous," no, not one" - but we are His workmanship and we are prized by Him. Psalm 139. We have none of our own righteousness; we have Christ's righteousness imputed to us. We are to lay a righteous claim to or for anything we do at Christ's feet, and there only. There is the beauty and the truth - and obligation of worship - of John 3:30.


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