You may not know it, since the eyes of the nations seem to be on the presidential election in the United States of America as I write this on November 7, 2012, but the eyes of the nations are also focused on a meeting in Bali, Indonesia. Well, maybe the nations do not fully know that this meeting is taking place in Bali, but the nations are certainly represented.
Over 500 attendees from over 50 nations have descended on Bali to consider the major challenges facing the church today as we seek to bring the gospel to the world. Walking the hallways of the Aston Hotel in downtown Bali is like a “Who’s Who of the Most Influential Church Leaders in the World.” You would never know it. Passing them in the hallway would not draw any attention to them. They look like your everyday average person, much like you and me. A casual conversation would reveal nothing special about them. They can make small talk with the best of them. However, if you were to sit and listen to their stories, it would cause you to want to re-write Hebrews 11 so that you could insert their names into this “Hall of Faith” chapter, a listing of “men of whom this world is not worthy.”
Many hours of prayer and many hours of preparation have led to this four-day conference of many hours of discussion and many hours of strategizing. It is the desire of the leadership team, who planned the conference, that these long days of conferencing will result in a well-defined strategy with clear action steps, issuing a call to the global church to strive together in forward movement under the headship of Christ to be faithful in proclaiming his name. These action steps will also be adopted by these faithful saints, and they will continue in their faithfulness, adding to their jeweled crowns that no doubt await them in their heavenly home. They are not the kind of people who simply “desire,” they bring it to reality. God moves in them, and they respond with faithfulness. What does this have to do with my transformation or yours?
Being surrounded by such a great “cloud of witnesses” has led me to ponder the stewardship of my own life. With many years behind me, I have had to face the sad reality, numerous times, that I have had many desires in my heart, good godly desires, that never “saw the light of day.” I am certain that I am not alone in this. Perhaps you have had similar experiences. In a moment you had a good godly desire, a good intention, but you never followed through and made it a reality. Let’s consider a prayer of Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12. Paul prayed, “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul prays for two items: 1) that God may make the Thessalonians worthy of his calling; and 2) that God may fulfill their every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power. It is the second point that I want to emphasize and encourage you to pray this prayer for yourself. Paul prays that God will take those good desires of the heart and fulfill them, making them a reality, not just a good desire. Do you have good desires? Do you want to join with what God is doing? Is God stirring your heart to action and yet you are not responding? Have you had a history of “desires” that do not make it to reality and instead die a slow death? My encouragement to you is to pray that “God may fulfill your every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power”! Pray this for yourself. Pray this for your church. Pray that your good godly desires will be fulfilled. Who knows? Maybe you or I will be considered among the faithful of this world, “men of whom the world is not worthy.”
May the Lord work powerfully through you as he is through this group of men and women gathered here in Bali. May you be partners with them in the work that they are doing in this world…in reality, not just in desire.