Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to Heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
As most AMTC'ers know, I became a committed Christian in late 2006 at the age of 51. Adam She committed in October 2008 at the age of 27, and AMTC changed, too. Actors, Models and Talent Competition became Actors, Models and Talent for Christ.
God is raising an army of performers, and our job is to prepare them for an unprecedented mission field: arts and entertainment. This growing hotspot escaped the tender attention of the church. Some denounced its depravity. Others were indifferent. Many were enchanted and served new gods.
While American Christians took countless mission trips to overseas locations, they ignored the black hole in their own backyard called media. Under the direction of 'The prince of the power of the air' (Ephesians 2:2), it grew bigger and bigger--prospering in the decades of our inattention or submission.
The goal of this black hole is to swallow up the world--at least everyone not tied securely to Jesus.
But God has a different goal: to save the world 'That mortality may be swallowed up by life' (2 Corinthians 5:4). Enter stage right actors, models and talent for Christ: a church without a roof. Its performers? Priests without a pulpit. Adam and I were chosen to lead this new movement. But who are we to lead an international church with thousands of rising stars?
We aren't qualified by today's church standards. Raised by unenlightened sinners, we grew up as unenlightened sinners--until God got our attention and subsequently, our hearts. Even then, we did not attend seminaries or receive degrees. Maybe we're like the penitent tax collector in Luke, or even Zacchaeus: so thrilled to become a follower of Christ that his enthusiasm led him to great acts of devotion.*
Zacchaeus gave away money--a lot of it. We gave away AMTC--all of it. We gave it up to God, along with all of our previous plans. A smug sense of Christian superiority was never a possibility for us. Neither was rising in Christian circles. We began our mission as outsiders.
As God did for David in the caves, so He did for us. He called many to join us. Because a new army was banding together to do His business, and nothing about this army was business 'as usual.'
To Be Continued...
* Story of Zacchaeus: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+19%3A1-10&version=NKJV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Christian Credentials series.