Transform them by the Truth...your word is truth, (John 17:17).
I periodically get invited to speak at events where most of the other speakers have much more impressive credentials than mine. They are often introduced as the pastor of "one of the largest and fastest growing churches in American." Just to joke around, when I step to the podium, I explain to the crowd that I am the pastor of "one of the smallest and slowest growing churches in America." There are usually a good number of pastors of normal size churches (50% in American are smaller than 100 members) that seem to relate.
But now I have a problem. I helped Mark Burnett and Roma Downey on "The Bible" series. Yesterday I read that 50 million people have watched some portion of the show. It has become the largest "bible study" in human history! Someone should notify Guinness! The book people...not the brewery. Maybe I can now be introduced by saying my church isn't large, but I did help "teach" the world's largest bible study? What do you think? You're right...probably too much ego. Oh well. I have the gift of obscurity... what can I say?
How cool is it that tens of millions of people are watching "The Bible"? Many of those viewers have probably never opened the actual book. The dream of the Burnetts is that the series will serve as a catalyst for a world-wide renewal of encounter with the Bible. The series will probably spread to European and South American audiences shortly. Instead of talking about tens of millions of viewers, it is possible that we will be talking about hundreds of millions of viewers. And the best parts of the series are still to come! This coming Sunday the episode will finish the Old Testament overview and move into a much more detailed telling of the life of Jesus. Having seen the footage, I can tell you that it is fantastic!
Today's text was spoken by Jesus in what is called his "High Priestly Prayer". He is praying for us, and the world, that his truth will produce transformation in the lives of those who hear and read it. "Sanctify" is a word that speaks of inner, spiritual, transformation. Indulge my paraphrase of the text. If watching the series leads people into an ongoing encounter with the Bible, and if all of us allow the Spirit to use it to change our lives, then the series will be a world-changer. Lets pray that is what happens.