In a rousing presentation at the Cross19 Conference in Kentucky on Friday, Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear told young Christians gathered for the event that the Holy Spirit has already equipped them with the power to be witnesses to the world and urged them to dream big because small dreams and visions don’t honor Jesus.
“We do not honor Jesus through small dreams or small visions. I don’t mean that you need to anticipate being great in yourself, but you need to become a part of a story that has a grand vision and you need to ask Jesus who is proving His willingness to do it,” Greear, who also leads Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, said at the youth event.
“When Jesus is standing here in Luke 24, before these disciples and He says, ‘Look at what I just did for the salvation of the nations.' Are you really gonna honor me by small ambitions and small dreams? You need to dream about the nations worshiping. Your dreams need to be in proportion to the value of my sacrifice. Jesus did not die so you could have a comfortable career and a mediocre life,” Greear said.
“He died so that you could bring the nations to worship. He didn’t die so that we could huddle together in churches and bemoan the dying state of our culture. He died so that the Gospel could be proclaimed to all peoples in all nations, and He’s given His promises and the guarantee of His Spirit to ensure that could happen. Does what you’re planning with your life align with the promises in His Word?” he asked.
The CROSS movement aims to mobilize young people between 18 and 25 to help evangelize the world. The 2019 conference, which started in Louisville on Wednesday, will come to a close on Saturday.
Leaning on Scripture, personal anecdotes and quotes from other Christian thinkers, Greear told the group that if they were still thinking about what God’s will for their life is, on a basic level, they should already know they are called to be witnesses of God’s power.
“You say, 'What’s this got to do with me? I don’t feel called.' I’ve been waiting for it with this conference, this kinda tingly moment when everything seems to go blurry and all of a sudden I hear the voice of God in my heart say, ‘Thou art the one,’ and I stand up ... That doesn’t happen,” he said.
“A witness and a professional preacher are not the same thing. You are my witnesses. Every believer is a witness. We have to get over this idea that calling is this mystical experience that a sacred few people in the Christian life ever go through. I always tell students at my church that many of them have what I call the ‘Cheerios method’ of discerning the will of God.
“You stare at your Cheerios and you wait on your Cheerios to spell out something meaningful. ... I stared at my Cheerios for years and all they ever spelled out was oooooo,” he quipped as the audience erupted in laughter.
He said in the most basic sense “you don’t need a special call to leverage your life for the Great Commission. The call to leverage your life for the Great Commission was included in the call to follow Jesus … When you accepted the call to follow Jesus, you de facto accepted the call to missions. The question is no longer if you are called. The question now is only where and how you are called.”
God’s will, he said, is not lost.
Greear added: “2 Peter 3: 9, the Lord is not willing that any should perish but He’s willing that all should come to repentance. We’re not talking about finding God’s will, we don’t need a still small voice when you’ve got a plainly written verse.”
He said that at his church he tells students to do whatever they are good at to the glory of God as well as somewhere strategic for the mission of God. He also reminded the group that when they think about working for Christ, it's the power of the Holy Spirit which will allow them to do God’s will.
And as they go about being witnesses for Christ, Greear encouraged the audience to not to be limited by what God did in the past.
“I almost think that God might say to us, ‘Would you shut up about the Reformation. Would you shut up about the student volunteer movement. ... Would you shut up about the early Church. Yeah, I moved back then and those are great things for you to review but I’m not a God of the past, I’m a God of today and I’m a God of the future. My name is not I Was, it is I AM. And there are still 6,400 unreached people groups which means that the greatest movements of God are in front of us, not behind us.' They have to be because this Gospel is going to be preached in all these nations,” he said.