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OneThing – Corey Russell

January 3, 2009

Okay. Back for the specifics.

Corey Russell spoke the first night to call our generation into the wilderness. And call he did.

He started talking about the consecrated life and the call of the Nazarite. He went to Amos, where the Lord charges Israel – and in our day, the Church – with spoiling the gifts of God (His nazarites and prophets) by dulling their message in order to ease their own guilty conscious’.

johnThen, he moved to John the Baptist and Matthew 11. I’ve been coming to this, but I think Matthew 11 is now – officially – my favorite chapter in the entire Bible. And according to Corey, it hinges on verse six, “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

John – at this point – is in prison, soon to be beheaded for his faithful witness. Two chapters earlier, Jesus forgives and heals a paralytic, calls a tax collector to follow Him, restores a little girl’s life, heals the woman with the issue of blood, and heals two blind men and a mute. Yet John – is cousin and forerunner – He leaves in prison to be killed while He tells John’s disciples, “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

Corey Russell’s paraphrase: John is the clearest picture of the unoffended life.

Because John the Baptist spent one to two decades in the wilderness, preparing for a very short ministry. (“We’re into six months of preparation for two decades of ministry. It doesn’t work like that!”) He prayed. He fasted. He studied the Word day after day after day. When the time came, He knew that part of his calling was to decrease when Jesus came on the scene, and He died unoffended at the full revelation of who Jesus is.

Then he gets to verse 7 and Jesus questioning the crowd, “Why did you go to the wilderness?” The conference? The prayer meeting? Church on Sunday morning? Because it makes you a “good Christian?” Because the worship team is hot? Because your friends are there? Because it’s controversial? Or did you go to hear the message being preached so you could jump in and submit your life to it?

It’s not enough to passively read a Bible. It’s not enough to sit in church once or twice a week and hit up a cool conference every once in a while. It needs to upset your lifestyle. It needs to upset my lifestyle, because He’s coming again and He’s looking for forerunners.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2009 7:11 pm

    In this world, I have an ability that often helps me see three or four moves ahead… comes in handy in business and playing chess. But I had a realization today that this “gift”, if you will, also hinders me from setting a goal when I can’t see in advance exactly how I can accomplish it. I need to upset my lifestyle and start moving in some directions, even without a plan.

  2. Lex permalink
    January 5, 2009 2:17 pm

    Amen! Proverbs says if we trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding, He will direct our paths!

  3. January 5, 2009 10:20 pm

    Hi Lex,

    I came over from Mark’s place and thought I’d share a few thoughts.

    I think that someone would have to read a lot into Matthew 11 to think that John was not hurting in prison. Jesus’ word about offense was directed at a hurting John the Baptist. How could John not be in pain.. even the wilderness does not prepare you for prison life.. John felt the pain of unfair imprisonment.. it is probably why he sent his disciples to Jesus.. I don’t think that he was asking how Jesus was doing.. he was wanting help from Him.

    I think that the clear message is that often the life of a follower of Christ involves pain.. sometimes unfair imprisonment.. unfair chronic sickness.. and sometimes these trials can result in a misdirected offense. Jesus tells us that our lives are blessed when we are not offended by unanswered prayer and unmet divine expectations.. it is part of the answer to the issue of pain.

    Hope this didn’t offend.. I may have missed the point of your post all together.

    Shalom, Bob

  4. Lex permalink
    January 5, 2009 10:36 pm


    You certainly didn’t offend. Although in my attempt to summarize an hour+ sermon, I may not have explained very well either.

    I’m sure that John was probably hurting in prison. Corey addressed the idea that John was confused about Jesus’ identity, or in some back-sliden condition when he sent his disciples to the Lord. Corey defended the idea that John knew perfectly well who Jesus was, and that he sent his disciples to Him so they could hear it and trust Jesus for themselves.

    I think the point is exactly what you articulated. Corey used John the Baptist as an example of a man who led a difficult/painful (but righteous) life, and remained un-offended at Jesus’ leadership.

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