Faith in Turbulent Times

Faith in Turbulent Times

One of the great leaders of New Testament is the Apostle Paul and he gives us this exhortation in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)  Psalm 116:8-9 says, “For you O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 116:8-9)

A saint has been defined as “a man in whom Christ lives.”  The real leader of the church preaches and lives in Christ.  Men are captivated by Christians who live out what they believe.  Mankind will not necessarily agree with what a man preaches, but they will take note of how he lives.

Around this time of the year, one should consider the life of St. Patrick, especially since there is a day dedicated in his honor.

St. Patrick said “Am I willing to draw closer to God in turbulent times.”   It was during St. Patrick’s time in slavery that he grew to have faith in prayer.  He wrote, “I would pray constantly during the daylight hours… and faith grew…  During the day I would say as many as 100 prayers and at night only slightly less.” God helped St. Patrick find his freedom from six years of slavery.  St. Patrick writes, “I use to pasture the flock each day.  Praying in the icy coldness, in rain…  And it was there of course that one night in my sleep I heard a voice saying to me, ‘You do well to fast; soon you will depart for your home country.’  …a short time later there was a voice prophesying, ‘Behold, your ship is ready’ And it is not close… two hundred miles away…  …Shortly thereafter I turned and fled…  …by the power of God who directed my route until I reached that ship.”

Mark Driscoll wrote about St. Patrick’s faith in troubled times,  Patrick’s unorthodox ministry methods, which had brought so much fruit among the Irish, also brought much opposition from the Roman Catholic Church. Because Patrick was so far removed from Roman civilization and church [body politics] he was seen by some as an instigator of unwelcome changes. This led to great conflicts between the Roman and Celtic Christians.

The Romans considered these and other variations by the Celtic Christian leaders to be acts of insubordination. In the end, the Roman Church should have learned from Patrick, who is one of the greatest missionaries who has ever lived. (These truths are substantiated in Patrick’s Biography; Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Times Herald; Mark Driscroll, Church History; The quote above was taken from a message I read years ago, the preacher was unknown to me)

Perhaps St. Patrick knew Luke 18:6, “…And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night?  Will He keep putting them off?  I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly…”  (Luke 18:6)

The Great Commission

The Great Commission

One of the great leaders of New Testament is the Apostle Paul and he gives us this exhortation in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

A saint has been defined as “a man in whom Christ lives.”  The real leader of the church preaches and lives in Christ.  Men are captivated by Christians who live out what they believe.  Mankind will not necessarily agree with what a man preaches, but they will take note of how he lives.

Around this time of the year, one should consider the life of St. Patrick, especially since there is a day dedicated in his honor.

Matthew 28:18-20 says, “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in of the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”  This is the heart that is reflected in the life and speech of St. Patrick who said, “Am I willing and able to forgive those who have caused pain in my life? Am I willing to follow the call of God and even give my life to those who enslaved me?”

St. Patrick had a unique missionary strategy:

“In faith, the forty-something year-old Patrick sold all of his possessions, including the land he had inherited from his father, to fund his missionary journey to Ireland. He worked as an itinerant preacher and paid large sums of money to various tribal chiefs to ensure he could travel safely through their lands and preach the gospel. His strategy was completely unique, and he functioned like a missionary trying to relate to the Irish people and communicate the gospel in their culture by using such things as three-leaf clovers to explain the gospel. Upon entering a pagan clan, Patrick would seek to first convert the tribal leaders and other people of influence. He would then pray for the sick, cast demons out of the possessed, preach the Bible, and use both musical and visual arts to compel people to put their faith in Jesus. If enough converts were present he would build a simple church that did not resemble ornate Roman architecture, baptize the converts, and hand over the church to a convert he had trained to be the pastor so that he could move on to repeat the process with another clan. Patrick gave his life to the people who had enslaved him until he died at 77 years of age. He had seen untold thousands of people converted to Christ.  Of the 150 tribes, 30-40 of them became substantially Christian. He had trained 1,000 pastors, planted 700 churches, and was the first noted person in history to take a strong public stand against slavery.” (Mark Driscroll, Church History)

Genuine Conversion

Genuine Conversion

One of the great leaders of New Testament is the Apostle Paul and he gives us this exhortation in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

A saint has been defined as “a man in whom Christ lives.”  The real leader of the church preaches and lives in Christ.  Men are captivated by Christians who live out what they believe.  Mankind will not necessarily agree with what a man preaches, but they will take note of how he lives.

Around this time of the year, one should consider the life of St. Patrick, especially since there is a day dedicated in his honor.  St. Patrick had a season of bondage that opened his eyes to Christ. When he was about sixteen, he was captured from his home in Great Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Times Herald; Mark Driscroll, Church History; Patrick’s Biography)

His confession, “I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many, had for a father the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a priest… I was taken captive about sixteen years of age. I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people according to our sins.  We were quite drawn away from God.  We did not keep His precepts, nor were we obedient to our priests who used to remind us of our salvation. The Lord brought down on us the fury of His being and scattered us among many nations, even to the ends of the earth, where I, in my smallness, am now to be found among foreigners.  And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance.  And He watched over me before I knew Him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and He protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son.” (These truths are substantiated in Patrick’s Biography; Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Times Herald;  Mark Driscroll, Church History; The quote above was taken from a message I read years ago, the preacher unknown to me)

One truth worth grasping, St. Patrick had a genuine conversion, a man making no excuses for his past, a person who realized his need for the Lord. Will you imitate his faith in Christ?

St. Patrick Whose He?

St. Patrick, Whose He?

One of the great leaders of New Testament is the Apostle Paul and he gives us this exhortation in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

A saint has been defined as “a man in whom Christ lives.”  The real leader of the church preaches and lives in Christ.  Men are captivated by Christians who live out what they believe.  Mankind will not necessarily agree with what a man preaches, but they will take note of how he lives.

Around this time of the year, one should consider the life of St. Patrick, especially since there is a day dedicated in his honor. Unfortunately, many people only observe his holiday, March 17, by drinking themselves silly, which is totally contrary to the spirit of the man who Christianized Ireland.  In fact, Patrick shows what God can do through someone who is committed fully to Him.  (Thomas Cahill How the Irish Saved Civilization)  Articles found in Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, The Times Herald, written by Mark Driscroll and Patrick’s Biography contain information about St. Patrick, indicating that March 17, the date of his death is celebrated inside and out side Ireland as a religious and cultural holiday.  In the dioceses of Ireland, it is a holy day of obligation; it is also a celebration of Ireland itself. St. Patrick is on the list of saints, and was declared a saint in heaven by many Catholic Churches. St. Patrick was also venerated in the Orthodox Catholic Church.  The Episcopal Church annually honors St. Patrick with the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, which falls during the Christian season of Lent. For more than 1,000 years, the Irish have observed St. Patrick’s Day as a religious holiday. Traditionally, on St. Patrick’s Day, Irish families would attend church in the morning and celebrate later—including eating a traditional meal of cabbage and Irish bacon.

Christians who walk in obedience to God’s call upon their lives are worthy of our attention and we should imitate their faith.  It would be good for us to evaluate the outcome of St. Patrick’s life.  St. Patrick was known as the “Apostle of Ireland.” He wrote, “I am a servant of Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” ~ Patrick

As a person does a serious study on the life of St. Patrick they will come to these conclusions: 1). He was a man who had a genuine conversion. 2.) His Key Focus of life was on the “Great Commission. 3.) He grew in his faith in turbulent times through prayer. 4.) His prayer life open the door for guidance. And 5.) He enjoyed seeing what God can do.

Do you have the Lord’s few on St. Patrick?  One that has a sacrificial heart for the lost to know Jesus.  Or, are you like the multitude who have a worldly perspective?   One that leads to a life of indulgence on that which displeases God!