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Raising The Banner

Raising The Banner

In the past few months of wrestling with the specific callings that God has given me, I came to realize that I was approaching my writing the wrong way. After some prayer and introspection, I came to the conclusion that I had to change some things if I was to get off the ground. Most obviously, I changed the name. But there is a new spirit and purpose here, too.

The name “Raising The Banner” comes directly from an Audio Adrenaline song, which in turn comes from a story in 2 Chronicles 20. The story isn’t just about God’s providence. It’s also about the abundance of faith that the people expressed in response to His promises. I love the response of God’s people in this story, and I want this place to embody the same spirit.

When Judah raised the banner

In 2 Chronicles 20:17, the nation of Judah (the southern half of Israel) was under attack from foreign invaders. The nation turned to God for guidance and cried out for deliverance. God gave the people of Judah the following command in reply to their petitions:

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

Upon close inspection, there’s a bit of ambiguity in there. “You will not have to fight this battle” and “Go out and face them” seem like contradictory statements to me. Sometimes, I spend so much time trying to understand the specifics of God’s promises that I forget to live according to the parts I do understand. Fortunately, the nation of Judah didn’t have the same problem on this occasion. They saw the prophecy not as a problem to be rectified, but as a challenge to be met. If God was going to fight for them, then why bother bringing their swords and shields into battle?

The army set out to face their enemies, armed with trumpets and banners, and praising the name of their God at the top of their voices. Long story short, the invading armies (who had previously split up) heard the commotion and assumed they were late to the battle. The armies met and bulldozed each other in a panic. By the time Judah arrived, there was nothing left but the plunder.

My call and God’s glory

Last year, I received a unique call to start a blog. I named it EverythingStoering, and I assumed that I would be teaching the world about Christ (out of my vast wisdom, of course…). After a year of struggling off and on, I realized I had missed the point entirely. No one has ever become great in the Kingdom of God by trying to be important here on Earth. I’m not a teacher, scholar, or theologian. If I’m going to follow this call God has given me, I should start by following the example of Judah in this story.

My goal here is not primarily to teach. It seems foolish of me to think that my words can have any real strength of their own. They are only powerful insofar as they are steeped in the person and power of Jesus Christ. I’ll be spending a lot of time (at least at first) preaching to my own heart and reminding my spirit of the joy set before me. It might look a little like the reflective writing in the Psalms. When it comes down to it, I just want to lift the beauty of the Gospel up for the world to see.

The greatest story ever told

This Gospel of Jesus Christ in itself is beautiful, multifaceted, and infinite. It’s the easiest thing to write about because it presents itself uniquely to every single person alive. I’m convinced that every man, woman, and child could spend every minute of their lives talking about what Christ has done without ceasing to find new things to say. John said as much in his gospel:

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25)

This can’t of course mean that Jesus did an inordinate number of things in His three year ministry. A careful observer could have made a timeline. Rather, I think it means that any book which is focused on the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be infinitesimal compared to the whole of the Gospel, and therefore will be infinitely unique. I’ve read an entire book on the interpretation of a single parable before (and more than once, too)!

C.S. Lewis once tried to boil all of Christianity down into a single book titled Mere Christianity. But Paul, the great evangelist and writer of half the New Testament was able to reduce it further: “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2). When you boil it all down, you always get the same thing. Christ Crucified, the core message of our faith, must be at the core of any endeavor I chose to take on if I hope to succeed in anything I do here.

In Conclusion

So I’m starting a new blog, with a better name and a fresh focus. I have no idea where this is going. I don’t know how good my writing abilities are. Frankly, it doesn’t matter much. I believe that God has called me, and I know that I am writing about the only subject that matters (and will continue to matter) for all of eternity. I’m simply going to raise the banner and pray that God wins the battles.

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