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It’s not about us

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Bengali children at a HARD (Humanitarian Aid for Rural Development)

We’ve been discussing the ten most important spiritual truths I’ve learned, starting with the earliest and continuing to the most recent. 

This morning we come to #3: It’s not about us.

It’s been said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”  My life is a testimony to the truth of that axiom.  Janet and I were happily serving First Baptist Church in Midland, Texas when a pastor search committee from Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia contacted us.  We loved the people and culture of West Texas and couldn’t imagine that God was moving us.  Several months later, the committee called again.  This time we sensed God’s clear and urgent leading, and moved to Atlanta in 1994.

“Second-Ponce,” as it’s known, is one of the great, historic churches of the South.  It began life as Second Baptist Church, founded in downtown Atlanta in 1854.  The bell in the steeple was used to warn Atlanta of the coming of General Sherman.  The congregation eventually merged with Ponce de Leon Baptist Church–thus its hyphenated name.  In 1939 it located in Buckhead, a wealthy suburb of the city.

A week after our move, I met the man who would become my best friend in Atlanta.  John White is a very successful businessman; his wife and daughters are beautiful and gifted.  John invited me to lunch, where he shared his passion to see the Spirit move through his church in a transforming way.  He told me of a group of men who had been praying together to this end and asked if I would be interested in meeting them.  They quickly became a covenant group for me–during the years I lived in Atlanta we met often and served Jesus together.

When our church began a contemporary service, John was enlisted to serve as its worship coordinator.  He handled everything, from engaging musicians to determining acoustics and technology.  There were many weeks when he volunteered as many hours at the church as he spent at work.  We soon saw the fruit of his labors–people coming to Christ, marriages healed, the church expanding in miraculous ways.

When asked how he could sacrifice so much time and energy for this ministry, John always replied the same way: “It’s not about us.”  God is the only audience of worship and life.  His glory is what matters.  His Kingdom is what endures.  When we serve him unconditionally and passionately, he makes our lives more significant and joyful than we can imagine.

John the Baptist said of Jesus, “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30).  Would Jesus say that you are living for his glory or yours?