Nothing gives me greater pleasure in this life than watching a young person heed the Call on his life. Everyday God intervenes in or even interrupts the natural flow of events in a person's existence. He radically, often abruptly, changes the trajectory of a life. God changes destiny.
I've witnessed this over and over. It proves the existence of God and strengthens the faith of those willing to believe in Him. God changes lives and those changed people reach the world around them.
Early in my ministry I had the privilege of leading a college aged group at my church and remember a young man in his early twenties that attended the group a few times. He had at least ten friends in tow. The kid was a natural leader. Tullian only stuck around for a few weeks before life took him on to things bigger and better, but a handful of his friends hung out for several months taking part in Bible studies, volleyball matches, and beach barbeques.
As a young minister, I have to admit that I was star struck to have one of Billy Graham's grandkids sitting in my Bible study. I'd fantasize that I would say something deeply spiritual that God had not yet revealed to anyone else and word would get back to Graham and he'd call me personally inviting me to co-author one of his books or fill in at a crusade. I'm pretty sure I was more excited about ministry heavy weights than I was about God.
Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, you can watch someone's career unfold from afar. That I've done with Tchividjian's ministry. I've followed his blog, read and reviewed one of his books, and listen to his sermons delivered to my MP3 player courtesy of iTunes.
I read as he posted about church merger meetings. I've never seen this kind of a process happen both so publicly yet so humbly. Pastors can be amazingly territorial. In my not so humble opinion, Tchividjian is the model for the church merging process.
So it's depressing, quite frankly, to learn of the incredible opposition he's facing at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church since he's been invited to take the pulpit, unanimously approved by the church's elders, and swept into the position of lead minister with a 90% membership majority vote.
Whenever God is doing something good, it doesn't come off without opposition. In the Gospels there is constant conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees. Now, I know I've made it clear that I admire Tchividjian as a man of God, but I'm not casting him as Jesus in this story. He's not. He's just a guy that decided to follow Jesus no matter what the expectations, no matter what the cost.
I am casting his opponents in the role of the Pharisees, however. They are naturals for the part. They're hyper-actively-spiritual and religiously rigid. They are in the minority but louder than the majority. Strangely cruel forcing a fight while Tchividjian's father lay in a bed in an intensive care unit. They resist newness and freshness even when God Himself is so obviously at work behind the scenes. They ignore the existence of God. And, I predict, no matter how events play out, just like the Pharisees, they will never concede. They'll cover up wrongs, spin outcomes and shift blame. Old tactics, indeed.
Even though this all bums me out, I'm looking to the future with excitement. God continues to prepare Tchividjian for bigger and better. It will take Tullian and his beautiful family some time to heal from this assault (so PRAY for them), but the wisdom and strength and faith that will result will be legendary in our generation.