“And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” (Luke 10:25-28)
Christian life is a life of relationship and purpose.
By relationship, I mean that Christian faith is about relationship, not religion. It is about a relationship of love with the God who first loved us and sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins so that we might be reconciled to God and have everlasting life. (John 3:16; 1 John 6:19)
By purpose, I mean that just as God expressed his incredible love for us through His purposes in sending Jesus and His Holy Spirit, so we are to express back our love for God by fulfilling the purposes the Lord has for us. (John 14:21, 20:21) Jesus joined His Father in all He saw His Father doing, and we are to join our Lord Jesus in what He has done and is doing – loving our neighbor by declaring the Gospel to the poor, powerless and spiritually blind, and by setting free those who are oppressed and in bondage. (John 15:19; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Luke 4:18) The Great Commandment says we are to express this love with all we are – heart, soul, mind and strength. (Mark 12:28-31)
“Adoration” is a good modern English word for this type of love. Both the Free Dictionary and Dictionary.com define “adoration” as: “fervent and devoted love”, “reverent homage”, “the act of worship”, and “the act of paying honor to God”. We are to adore God and to adore those who God adores.
These biblical truths are always important to remember, but today, my friends, they are also a set-up for an extraordinarily important announcement. On October 1, 2017, every Christian and every Christian congregation in our region will have the opportunity to wonderfully express their adoration of the Lord and their neighbor by participating in Adoration 2017.
Adoration 2017 began as a profoundly simple “only God can do this” vision given by the Lord to Thomas Cook, a recent ETSU graduate. Bring 1,000 churches together in unity to worship and pray. By the hand of God, it has blossomed into an awesome movement spearheaded by a terrific team of young faith-filled adults and supported by both university leadership and a strong cast of area spiritual leaders.
Please, please explore the website, Adorationlife.com, so you can become as informed and excited as I am about their insight, dedication and organization. The new ETSU football stadium will be the site for this 6 PM gathering of 1,000 churches. In addition to worship and prayer, and the witness to the lost created by 1,000 churches expressing the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, there will an educational focus on how Christians can unite to respond to the horrific prescription drug abuse epidemic that plagues our Appalachian region. Adoration in relationship and purpose!
There is nothing remotely like Adoration 2017 happening anywhere else in our nation. Everywhere else, secular college campuses are known for their lack of faith and worldliness. National polls report that young adults are leaving the Church in droves. Christian congregations are still primarily “doing their own thing”.
But here, in our humble hills of Tennessee and Virginia, we have an opportunity to reverse all of that by supporting the young Christian leadership that our Lord has raised up, and by doing something God has been asking His people to do for a long time. Come together and glorify Him.
In the midst of all this incredibly good news comes the bad news. Despite the hard work of the Adoration 2017 team, and despite front page coverage of this amazing event in the Kingsport Times-News and other area newspapers, there are presently only 91 churches signed up in support, and there are only 60 days to go.
In any other circumstance, getting 91 churches together would be deemed an outstanding feat, particularly since these 91 come from 22 different counties, but God wants 1,000 and He has more than enough congregations in this area to accomplish His goal.
I earnestly ask every Christian who reads this column to do these five things. First, check out http://adorationlife.com/about/supporters-list/ to see if your congregation has signed up in support. (You will be amazed at the church names that are missing)
Second, if your congregation has not signed up, speak to your church leadership and get signed up! The Adoration 2017 team needs your affirmation.
Third, use your Facebook and other social media accounts to get the word out throughout East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, and beyond. Every voice is important in this call to rally together!
Fourth, commit to personally attend on October 1 if you are able. And fifth, commit to ongoing prayer that Adoration 2017 will be all God has envisioned it to be!
God bless you, and God bless our community.