About two weeks ago, my wife Mindee and I had the privilege to go to the Minnesota Vikings game in the brand new US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. I have been a big fan of the football team ever since I was very young and so this was something I was exceptionally excited about. I had never been inside of the brand new stadium before. I had only ever driven past the brand new fortress in complete awe of its enormity. I couldn’t wait to see it from the inside. Game day finally came and we scurried down the interstate full of excitement to watch our favorite team play some Thursday Night Football.
We arrived about two and a half hours early to the stadium. After walking around admiring the outside of the stadium for awhile, we finally entered the gates. My initial thought that we would be there with plenty of time before other fans filtered into the stadium was completely wrong. It was already packed about an hour and a half early. We walked around the whole stadium in a passionately flowing purple stream of Vikings fans. As we walked around the new stadium my eyes were widened and my jaw was dropped the whole time. I couldn’t help but contrast the magnificence and beauty of this new stadium to the old run-down Metro-dome I had been in several times. I felt so grateful that we had the honor to be inside such a tremendous place to watch our favorite team.
After walking around the stadium we took our seats about six rows from the top of the stadium (which were still expensive seats) and watched as our team was introduced out on the field. I had never seen so many passionate people fill a stadium like that before. People from all different places were clothed in purple and gold from head to toe shouting and jumping up and down in excitement and praise of this team. As I scanned the stadium for a second time my mind immediately thought of what we have been talking about in church for awhile now, namely “Living on Mission.”
Unusual Thoughts During a Football Game
I couldn’t help but think of the book of Revelation as I was taking in this whole experience. I thought about how this brand new stadium had been ushered in to replace the old broken down stadium. As I thought about that, I couldn’t help but think about how God is going to restore our broken down, fallen world by ushering in a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21).
I thought about how in awe I was at this new magnificent stadium as I explored it’s splendor. As I thought about that, I couldn’t help but wonder what my reaction will be living in the perfection of heaven in an eternity with God. I know it will be far more than just jaw dropping and eye widening.
I thought about the passionate sea of purple around the entire stadium surrounding the field with loud praise. As I thought about the approximately 66,000 people from all around, clothed in purple, I couldn’t help but to be reminded of John’s witness in Revelation 7:9-10:
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
What an amazing picture! A multitude from all over, clothed in the righteousness of Christ praising our God!
As I felt honored by being able to watch my favorite team right in front of my face in such an impressive place, I couldn’t help but wonder how honored I would feel to spend an eternity with my Savior face to face in heaven.
Now obviously it is quite far-fetched to compare a new football stadium to an eternity in heaven with God. However, I think the Spirit works to remind us in unique ways of what we have to look forward to because of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. This was one of those ways.
As I scanned the stadium throughout the game, I couldn’t help but wonder how many people in this stadium actually knew Jesus as their Lord and savior and live in obedience to Him. I don’t know their hearts, but if I had to guess it would probably be a small percentage. As I cheered on my team throughout the game and watched others around me cheer I thought to myself, “I want to stand beside all of these passionate people in heaven rejoicing and praising God.” I felt so motivated to live on mission.
An Ambassador’s Desire
When our hearts desire is that people have a personal relationship with Jesus and one day spend an eternity in heaven with him, we will go to great depths to tell others about him and love others with his love. We will joyfully and boldly live on mission.
The great Jonathan Edwards once prayed, “Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs.” Family, as we look at others, would we consider their eternal souls. Let’s run our race with a kingdom mindset. As we encounter our everyday ordinary interactions, would we be prayerful and expectant that the extraordinary could happen.
You have a great honor and responsibility child of God; you are an ambassador of the Most High. You get to live on mission for Him.
Living on mission can present many struggles, but it will all be worth it one day. On that glorious day we will all be together gathered around the throne praising our God forever.
I can’t wait for that day.
Samuel Johnson was born on September 18, 1709, and was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer.
How Can We Pursue A Long Repentance In The Same Direction?
This last Sunday, in Calvary’s morning gathering, we studied the book of Haggai together as part of God’s Whole Story. Together we heard God speak through his prophet to his people after the exile, challenging them to remain faithful and to rebuild the temple.
The book of Haggai is the second shortest book in the Old Testament. It has 4 oracles (think: sermons), 2 chapters, and about 1,100 words.
In the book of Jeremiah we read of God’s intention for Daniel and all of those with him who have been exiled from the land of promise.
We are in a sermon series called The Whole Story, so named because we started off with the assumption, and belief really, that the whole Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus. Each and every book is a bit like a chapter that contributes to the overall story that God is telling.
We Are Calvary
To say that we live in times of rapid change may be the very height of understatement. Our culture, and its norms, is changing at an unprecedented rate, making it increasingly challenging for the church to remain relevant—and faithful—in proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God, in a way that will bring about the expansion of that kingdom.
This past Sunday we (finally) made it out of the weighty, dark, somber, and serious writings of the Prophets of the Exile, and stepped into the Return from Exile of the people of God. Our first look into this aspect of the redemptive drama comes via three courageous servants of Yahweh—Zerrubabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. There story is found in the book of Ezra-Nehemiah (although our English Bibles separate them, through the centuries the Jewish people have always treated them as one book; so we will too.)
Especially When You Don't Feel Like It
Sunday is just about my favorite day of the week (“just about”…because my day off each week, our family’s Sabbath Saturday, is a tie or really close second). I love getting up that morning, making my smoothie, sitting in my favorite chair in our fireplace room, and pulling my Bible onto my lap. I relish the time spent listening to my Father speak, and I delight in those moments spent talking with him about the morning’s ministry, the people in our gathering that I hope he will transform, as well as the eleven other pastors (and their congregations) on whom I pray his blessing every Sunday.