Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pulled Upward

C. Brian Larson writes, "No matter what our station, daily life in a fallen world is a walk through a gauntlet of belittlement...(we) are bombarded by false values and beliefs that cheapen God's creation, by personal slights and insults, by Satan's accusations. (Our) minds are assaulted by scabrous images in the media and by profanity that is objectionable to God precisely because it debases the creation... After such a week, it's a wonder that a person can walk into church with any sense of worth..."
This is so true. We listen to the voices around us pelting us with the fecal remnants of a Godless life like monkeys throwing their mess around in the zoo cage. We cannot help but come home each night with those demonic visages filling our minds and the accusations of a Godless society ringing in our ears. We struggle on through the week. But after a few days of this brow beating we come into the presence of God. (Some people say that the day of the church building is gone but I prefer to walk into the house where my pastors and elders are praying and interceding for me through out the week; to a place where I have met God numerous times before; to the altar where my vows were taken, my children dedicated to the will of God, my sins were bared before a forgiving God.)

Into that place I walk, and I find the presence of God. From the moment the music starts and the worshipful singing begins I feel myself pulled upward. Like a hand gently lifting my tired body from the heap of the worthless self... my legs strengthen. My back begins to straighten up and my wounded heart begins to release the anxiety it is carrying and beats more freely. A few deep breaths and the presence of God comes to give me succor and strength. Then comes the preaching of the Word of God. The speaker has pondered and prayed; he has listened and labored to find the words that will communicate God's intent for his beloved. The Word is not condemning, nor is it a scolding voice. God is not frustrated, not angry in some sort of divine petulance but he is inviting, calling out, reaching to me to lift me up. He is lifting me to him. The Word of the preacher comes and lifts my soul and I begin to see with a new vision, so unlike the one sold to me by the world. I smell hope cooking in the oven of my soul, I hear courage coming into the vacuum of my once fearful heart, I feel the rush of a new strength coming into me as I see that it is true... Nothing is impossible with God!

My legs gain the strength to stand, my heart knows that I can face another day, my spirit begins to take on the indomitable presence of God. I am shaped, formed and reformed. I am empowered, encouraged and enamored with the one who died for me. I am responding to the Spirit's challenge to me... "will you rise again and take up the challenge of another week?" Rise I do, knowing that I am not alone- to a vacuous world so in need of what I have already received, yet unknowing. And in the hope that I can make a difference for one before it is too late I prepare to make another charge, not in my strength but in the strength of the one who lifts me to his breast and imparts his power in me.

That is the reason I go to church, to be pulled upward.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Camping Misses the Call

Well, it has happened again. Another person who, though he evidently can read what the scripture clearly says about setting dates for the Lord's return, thinks he knows better. Hmmm- maybe he is just stupid! Yeah that is it, he is a dingbat! Except the rest of the world now thinks that we are the same kind of dingbat!

Coworkers will now raise one eyebrow and ask "Doesn't your church believe in the return of Jesus?" "Yes but..." you will fain to explain the difference as you drop your eyes to the floor and shuffle your uneasy feet. This is the same thing that happens when anyone violates the clear command of scripture. Jesus taught in Matthew 24.36 that "...of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone." NASB. But the dingbat always thinks he is above the restrictions of scripture, and even when the members of the Trinity aren't sharing the information there is always some dude who thinks he made the cut and Jesus is left without the knowledge.

Here is a little Biblical instruction for dingbats and future dingbats- the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus... it is impossible for him to tell you when he is coming back because (as Mt 24.36 clearly says) he doesn't know!!!!

There are lots of people who think that they have the right to circumvent the clear teaching of scripture by walking according to their own thinking. Camping's 'Prophecy' is a glaring hindrance to witness for the king and will sting the church and stifle the witness of the local church and the individuals in those communities (Thanks alot Harold!)But what about those that hold bitterness, get drunk, sleep around, etc. Aren't they ignoring the clear teaching of the Word too? So I guess they are hindrances on a smaller scale.

So - my advice- read and obey the Word of God to the best of your ability. Don't be a dingbat!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Full House beats a Pair

"Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full." Luke 15.23

In this parable Jesus reveals a matter of the Father's heart. Sometimes we can think that God has an affinity for small gatherings. Church leaders often think that the smaller intimate gatherings of the believers afford more vulnerability and intimacy. And they are correct in that assumption. Small can be advantageous, but it is the Lord's will that his kingdom be crowded.Father God wants his house full!

God isn't worried about overcrowding. Did you ever think that God intends us to be city dwellers in eternity? John saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, descending from heaven (Rev 21.1). While some of us think that it would be pleasant to have 50 acres to wander in our glorified bodies through out eternity- it seems God wants us together. While Jesus was concerned that "few would find it", the narrow way is available to many and God wants all to enter in.

Don't you think that the church should be more diligent in inviting in those around us so that Heaven might be "full". So do you love someone enough to invite them to join you forever? What can we do to invite the whole neighborhood to heaven with us?

Maybe you and I should invite somebody today!