When the world persecutes us, we must remember that the world fights in a battle with a predetermined outcome. There is no glimmer of hope for its victory, for it will ultimately come to ruin and destruction under the wrath and judgment of God.
You know, there a moments within the Christian life that make you question God. Sometimes these questions are good, helping us draw closer to Him in spirit and in truth, and some are damaging. In an effort to delineate the differences between the two, I am hoping to quickly outline how open God is to questions of a kind, and how absolutely closed He is to questions of another.
I asked a question at the beginning of the last post, a question that continues to resonate within me as I write this post almost 2 weeks later. That question was, “When did Jesus stop being enough?” We have need now to draw people into worship, into community, into the event that is “church” and in the midst of it all, who is glorified, who is the focus? Many churches making decision based on what is trendy or new or cutting edge such places generally place their own image or “church” ahead of the person of Jesus.
Question, when did Jesus stop being enough? At what point did we feel that God needed our help keeping members, or that God even wanted to keep every member? When did we begin to believe that church couldn’t be done without all of the music and technology? Don’t get me wrong, in every place I’ve been I’ve been one of those people pushing for the church I am attending to update and become current both with music and with technology. But, when did we begin to think that those things were needed? A foul spirit has infected the church, a spirit that preys upon the selfishness of human desire and envy.
I’ve been a Christian for some 15 years now, and have had the privilege of working with all different kinds of faith communities. I’ve witnessed a lot of differing approaches to ministry some of which are wildly successful and others that are wholly underwhelming. What is interesting is that in all of these relationships I have witnessed a very consistent undercurrent within the universal body in America.
Human beings by nature are divisive. We like to categorize, control, and push away those who do not act or look like we do. The Church is meant to reflect a level of unity that puts the world on notice, and certify that the return of the everlasting King of the universe is immanent. We are intended to be a visible, physical representation of the kingdom of heaven. So the question then becomes, why are we so divided? Within American Christianity there are over 1,500 different denominations and world-wide there are as many as 41,000. That’s right; this is how many denominations there are in Christianity alone, not religions in the world.
Sunday morning has been called by many, “The most segregated hour in America.” There was a time I would have vehemently denied such a remark…that time no longer exists. If you remember last week, I wrote about how in Michigan 8.2 miles separates a poverty stricken area from one of the most affluent communities in the country. I also made the observation that when you go to churches in those areas that you are likely to see a community that reflects the area in which is presides. This observation is confirmed by a study carried out by Lifeway Research and published January of this year.
Satan is winning . . . and we are letting him. It’s a sad reality that I for one am ashamed to admit, but it is a true statement nonetheless. If there is anything Satan is good at, it is accentuating our current flaws and taking advantage of them while they are at their most potent. Human beings are naturally sectarian . . . we are naturally afraid of things that aren’t familiar to us, that don’t make sense to us.
Since my call to Christ some 15 years ago, I have heard many different ideas and concepts about death. Many of these ideas are ones that ascribed to for most of my life. Death is an uneasy topic…a topic that will quite literally send some out of a room faster than any other topic of conversation. It is…morbid…a thing that no person truly likes to talk about because…well it is inevitable.
You know, submission is not a word that we like in our society. It is not a word that sounds like it denotes freedom and the pursuit of happiness. It is a word that pushes us to place ourselves behind others in priority and to consider others needs before our own. Obedience is another word that is not very popular, one that makes most people shutter at its very thought.
In our modern world, a word like extremism will turn heads. It is a “buzz” word that immediately identifies someone who has gone too far regarding an ideal, thought process, or worldview. Most common within our society is this word’s association with Islamic organizations like ISIS, Hamas, and Al Qaeda.
The further in my walk with the Lord I have come…the longer I have recognized that God’s calling upon our lives is a difficult thing. We are not called to live comfy lives, where our comfort zones are not breached and we are not stretched to a limit that we never thought ourselves capable of baring.
It is amazing isn’t it? To see how easily distracted we become when in the midst of another activity. It is almost as if it is nearly impossible for a person to only do one task at a time now a days.
In just a few weeks, my wife will give birth to our first child. As time has gone by I have thought more and more on the things I will be teaching him, and the ways I will be teaching him.
Perhaps one of my all-time favorite illustrations of God is given life through the pen of C.S. Lewis in his writing of Aslan. For those who haven’t read the Chronicles of Narnia I’ll try not to ruin it. Aslan is a lion, King of Narnia and all that dwell within it.
f God is a person as we concluded last week…then that truth needs to impact how we come to know who he is. Some approach the study of God with an almost scientific outlook. They catalogue facts of the biblical text, looking to reveal who God is through the study of the scriptures.