Cal Jernigan – Senior Pastor
Just the other day I heard Bill Hybels casually say something that stopped me in my tracks and got me to thinking. What he said was this,
“If you as a leader are out of step with what’s happening in the world, you are out of step.”
His point was very simple. If you aren’t aware of what’s making the news, you have very little chance of making an impact on this world. To not know the news is to make yourself “old news” very quickly.
Let’s be clear. Staying informed of the going’s on of this world is a time consuming task. It always has been. The crazy thing about the news is…it never ends! There is always something new in the news. And just as soon as you understand one story and are beginning to get a grasp of it, it becomes “old news” because something else just happened. Oh yeah, and by the way, this new thing happened in yet another place on the planet you probably have never heard of. Tell me again, where exactly is Burundi? Now I’m supposed to understand what happened there?
Thinking about this invariably takes me back to being a student in school when I was just a young buck. In those days, I had no idea how big this planet was or how complicated life on this terrestrial ball was. Back then there was this subject called “Social Studies” which was supposed to help you learn about these things. I remember we were supposed to take time every day to learn the news and be able to articulate to others in our class what was happening. The crazy thing about this is in that day there was only a handful of ways to get the news… the TV (a couple of times a day; three channel options) and the newspaper that was delivered to your door (with a morning and an evening option…remember the Phoenix Gazette?). These really were the only viable options you had. Of course you could always read magazines if you didn’t mind the news being a few weeks old when you got around to it.
Think about how all this has changed! Today we have the internet which allows us to look up anything instantly, 24-hour cable news channels, news apps that send out alerts to our smartphones, digitized magazines, Facebook and Twitter feeds, email, blogs, cell phones, and, oh yeah, TV’s and newspapers!
So… are you aware of what’s going on in the world? Did you hear? Are you keeping up?
In the Old Testament there is something wonderful said about one particular group of leaders. They are referred to as “the men of the tribe of Issachar.” 1 Chronicles 12:32 refers to these leaders as people “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” These were informed folks who had a pulse on what the world was doing and what God wanted his people doing in the world.
Why does all of this matter? Simply because, as Richard Stearns the President of World Vision puts it, believers in Jesus are “the white blood cells” God uses to fight the cancer of death and decay in this world. Because of this, God wants to send us to the places of pain, hurt, rejection, suffering, disease, injustice, poverty and death. That’s what we were made for! God wants to send us there! Since this is who we are—and what we are–we cannot play it safe. We cannot hang out where there is no infection. We cannot just cling to one another because we like one another and we feel comfortable in each other’s presence. We were MADE FOR MORE than this!!! We were made to make a difference!
And how will we know where these places of suffering and pain are that God would want to send us?
Just take a look at the news.Click here for the photo credit on this post