Monday, December 20, 2010


"And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power...
If any among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise." - Paul to the Corinthians

Dynamic - adj., "of or relating to physical energy or force."

A little while ago I mentioned to Melissa that I'd grown to hate the word "dynamic." Just to be lovingly obtuse, Melissa said she loves it. She said that it's a terrific word for describing the Gospel. She just had to bring the Gospel into it, didn't she. Like wives the world over she's right, always right, never wrong, ever.

So why do I hate the word? For the past 5 years or so in ministry I've been hearing it in relationship with great speakers and teachers. Possibly it's because I'm not a great speaker, so I forfeit my dynamism. Jealousy is no small demon. But I think I also have a good reason for being uncomfortable with the word being applied to people. I think we worship them.

We worship great teachers, speakers and pastors when we apply to them what we should be applying to their message. Paul makes this clear in 1 Corinthians 2 & 3. He's nothing but a servant and his message, which he spoke with great "weakness, fear and trembling," is everything.

There are a bunch of reasons why I put mere mortals on pedestals. One of the most perilous is that I put them on a pedestal in order to distance their message from me. If their message is truly "dynamic" in that it contains the powerful and transforming message of the Gospel, it often makes me want to hide. A form of hiding that I use is, "Wow! He must be a really holy guy. That's an amazing message."

I then put that preacher, teacher or speaker on a pedestal and pray that God would somehow make me like them. That's simply not the Gospel. That's idol worship that is discouraging and, eventually, deadly. It kills our walk with Christ because God's standard is not some teacher, preacher, speaker or writer (we do this with them as well - but I'll forgive you if you worship me, j/k), it's his son Jesus Christ.

We are called to be like Jesus Christ. So when someone is admired for his dynamism, I can't help hating the word. Because I know where buzz words like these lead. They lead to people worship.

On a side note, how many of you have heard about a "dynamic" speaker and gone to listen to him/her with great excitement and have simply been wowed by their passion and intellect. And leaving you've thought, "That was awesome! I didn't get it, but it was awesome!" Sometimes we're just thick, but sometimes these "dynamic" individuals don't transmit anything real or transformative. Or their dynamism overshadows their message's dynamism.

People worship is foolishness to God. For obvious reasons. He wants us to receive his dynamism in the person of his Son and through his Holy Spirit. And at the end of 1 Corinthians 3 we find that we have "all things" already in Christ.
"For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's"
That's why Melissa is right, as always. The Gospel is very dynamic. It's so dynamic that Paul intentionally played the fool by worldly standards in order that people like me wouldn't be tempted to hide their lives in his dynamism. Hide your life in Christ.

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