Pastor Ron E. Thompson: The Christian Adventure

Pastor Ron E. Thompson

There is a sign in front of Rally’s, a fast-food hamburger chain in the western states, that reads: “Unlimited time only! Rally burgers Special 79 cents”. How in the world could something be sale priced for an unlimited time only? This is what is called an oxymoron, a combination of words that contradict each other, often used for emphasis. Some examples are: “Automatic transmission is a mandatory option!” “Jumbo shrimp.” “Ill health.” Ted Kennedy once accused the Republicans of a “transparent cover-up.” When we think of adventure, we conjure up images of flights in outer space, exploring the depths of the sea for treasure, or going on a safari in Africa – a sort of Jacques Cousteau experience, sailing on the Calypso. The dictionary seems to agree and includes “the encounter of danger. A daring, hazardous undertaking. To take a risk.” To most people, there is nothing particularly adventurous about sitting routinely in a three-quarter empty church every week, half-heartedly singing hymns written 200-300 years ago, living a boring, predictable, play-it-safe, black-and-white life. Many people in the world feel that if they commit to Christ, all adventure will drain from their lives. Not so!

There is nothing more exciting, challenging, and adventure-packed than living for Jesus Christ. To be sure, there are thrills and adventure experienced by those who are not yet Christians, but they are like the colorful fireworks display on the fourth of July that light up the sky for a moment only to burn out quickly. The pleasures of sin are real, but they only last for a season. In contrast to that, the Christian adventure begins when we truly submit our lives in obedience to God and pray “Here am I, Lord, send me” (Isaiah 6:8 NKJV). It is the privilege of impacting other people for eternity – pouring oneself into the lives of others and watching God work. Being a Christian is not a stiff, colorless, inflexible way of life. Yes, it is a daring adventure – lived at the edge of expectation. It is precisely this reality that the unsaved need to see played out in our lives. A long-faced, boring, lukewarm Christian may be doing more harm than good to the cause of Christ. What, then, is it about this Christian adventure that makes it unique?

  1. We will need facts for this adventure. The Gospel of Christ is a statement of facts (I Corinthians 15:1-4). Facts are always true. You may not believe a fact, but it is still true. He that believes in the Son has everlasting life. That is a fact because John 3:36 says so. The Corinthian Church did not understand God’s calling and their relation to Him. Instead of all they had received, there were problems of divisions, scandals, lawsuits, immorality, and quarreling. Instead of the church changing the city, the city was changing the church. These believers had lost the fact that Jesus was among them. He not only set the program for the church but gave them the power to carry it out. That is a problem with churches today. Members recognize the Lord on Sunday, but Monday through Saturday they live as though Christ was absent. Church members today need to realize that Christ’s presence in them provides the church with a sense of adventure that opens doors to various avenues of service.
  2. We will need faith for this adventure. Paul told the church at Galatia the fact that he was crucified with Christ. Christ lived in him and the life he was now living was by faith (Galatians 2:20). I appreciate these words from Bible scholar, John Walvoord: “Abraham was a man of faith who believed he could live in God’s place, who believed in God’s provision for him in time and eternity, who believed the promise of a son whom God would give him miraculously, and who believed in God’s divine power of resurrection. Our Christian faith today stands upon the same foundation. Like Abraham, we are called to live by faith in the living God who will accomplish for us in time and eternity all that He has promised in His love and grace.”
  3. We will have feelings during this adventure. Billy Graham has said: “There is room for feeling in saving faith, but we are not saved by it. When I understood something of Christ’s love for me as a sinner, I responded with a love for Christ, and love has feeling. Joy is a feeling. Inward peace is a feeling. Love for others is a feeling.” However, we should not place all our energy into feelings because they can change, and often, they are false feelings. If we feel we are not good enough, that does not make it true. You are enough because Christ is enough. Colossians 2:10 MSG says: “When you come to him that fullness comes together for you too. His power extends over everything.”

If you could have heard the testimony of my associate, the late Tony DeRosa, about his gang days, drug use, and subsequent imprisonment, it would certainly sound like a wild and active adventure. But if you asked him how life has been since he turned it over to Jesus Christ, he would reply “it has been the greatest adventure I have ever taken. It does not compare with my old life.”  Wow! Who would put “adventure” and Christianity in the same sentence? This is another oxymoron.

These words from Hebrews 6:12 NLT remind me of this adventure of faith: “Then, knowing what lies ahead for you, you won’t become bored with being a Christian nor become spiritually dull and indifferent, but you will be anxious to follow the example of those who receive all that God has promised them because of their strong faith and patience.” Beloved, it is time you entered that race, and what an adventure that will be!

Pastor Ron E Thompson

Ron E. Thompson is a retired pastor/evangelist having had a ministry spanning over sixty years. He served as pastor of churches in Indiana, Virginia, Arizona, and South Carolina. As Director of Brethren Evangelistic Ministries, he held numerous evangelistic and revival crusades in twenty-two states. He led a team that conducted evangelism seminars throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. Ron is author of two books: Hurricane Evangelism and Sermons in Song. He is also a musician, having studied piano under noted composer-conductor, Hubert Tillery. Music has served him well as an avocation in his life and ministry. He currently is a pianist at the Fountain of Life Bible Church in Johnson City, TN. Ron received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bridgewater College and his Master of Divinity degree from Grace Theological Seminary. He did graduate studies at Wheaton College and the Billy Graham School of Evangelism. He attended the North American Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in1994. Ron’s home is in Limestone, Tennessee. He is the father of two daughters: Evangeline Hales, a musician at Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA and violinist with the Lynchburg Symphony; Dr. Melody Archer, Retired Administrator and Principal of Tri-Cities Christian Schools, Blountville, TN.

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