I write this as I struggle with Sunday Morning Gathering yet again. I have stopped going because I’m too discouraged about my inability to join in. This is not unique to the house where I have gone the past 5-1/2 years; any gathering that projects the words on a screen and plays music I don’t know will be inaccessible to me.
The challenge in the modern Church seems to be broader than this. It’s as though there’s a “Do not disturb” sign on the door: Anything or anybody that causes discomfort is neatly set aside.
I have heard pastors say they shouldn’t be expected to visit people when they are in the hospital; in fact, I had that happen about 13 years ago. I hear believers say they “just want to experience God’s presence,” which turns out to mean that they don’t want to see to others when they are at Church; that they don’t care about the quality of music…they just want to feel good.
“What’s in it for me?” seems to be the measure of what makes a successful gathering – In a word, consumerism.
I always hesitate to pick on the Church too much: There is plenty of that; God loves His beautiful Bride.
The deal is, we need to repent, and soon, before this anesthesia kills us.
The Sign On the Door
“I’m a pastor, paid to pray;
Please don’t intrude on my life that way!
I don’t want to visit the poor;
Please note the sign posted on my front door.”
“We like our worship; it makes us grin.
We don’t care if you can’t join in.
Please don’t tell us you’re distress and bored;
Please note the sign posted on our front door.”
“Do not disturb,” it plainly reads;
We don’t care about your wants and needs;
Please don’t ask us to do any more;
Please note the sign posted on our front door.
Years ago in such a place,
A man came in who was full of grace.
He made a whip with many cords;
He ripped that old sign right off their front door.
Animals, money, vendors, they say,
Watched tables turn as they ran away.
“No den of thieves; not anymore!”
Disturbance had just come through their front door.
May this same God, who longs for his bride
To be pure and spotless when she stands by his side
Confront and deliver, heal and restore;
Till that dreadful sign is off her front door.
Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, we pray;
Forgive our sins; take our selfishness away;
Disturb us until we long for more
Of you in our lives; Please come through that front door.
Here is a short list; a sampler, if you will, of who we are:
Temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Reflections of God’s glory (2 Corinthians 3:18)
God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)
dearly loved children (Ephesians 5:1; 1 John 3:1)
Light (Ephesians 5:8)
Dead and raised with Christ (Colossians 3:1-3)
God’s chosen people (Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 2:9)
A royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)
A holy nation (1 Peter 2:9)
Saints (Colossians 1:12)
Heirs (Romans 8:17)
Joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17)
Apart from God, this is nothing more than grandiosity.
Because of Jesus and in Him, however, this is reality!
There is a trend in much of the western Church these days: “All or nothing.”
Either I embrace everybody, including all religions, choices and lifestyles as true….
I reject people, based on their beliefs, identification, words and actions.
Me? I say neither of these is biblical.
Jesus definitely met people where they were; yet he didn’t accept their choices out of hand. He told the woman caught in adultery, “Go. Sin no more.” That was after he confronted her accusers and refused to condemn her. He told the rich young ruler, whom he loved, to sell everything he had and “come, follow me.”
He accepted the offering of tears and ointment from a woman known to be “a sinner.” His reply to the teachers of the law indicated that he forgave her for all she had done.
When the woman who had come to the well in Samaria encountered Jesus, her life was changed. He totally read her mail; yet did not condone her lifestyle. He addressed her as a real person – likely an experience she had not had in her whole lifetime.
I can accept anybody as a person, created and loved by God.
I can – and do well to – disagree with all that is not biblical and true.
One road leads to Heaven; not all of them.
One God is true; not whatever or whomever someone decides to glorify.
Sin is sin; idols are idols.
I have heard more than one source say that love means I accept people, behavior and all.
No. Love means I accept the person and speak truth to him or her.
Are you looking for abundant, healthy, eternal life?
Give your heart to Jesus: The Way, The Truth, The Life.
This is “Rule” from the Passion 2017 collection.
It’s by Hillsong United and Crowder.
It’s AWESOME; enjoy!
A large number of prophetic words have to do with 2017 being a year of breakthrough. many are saying that those who have waited for years to receive answers to prayers will finally get them; hopes and dreams are being awakened; upgrades are coming.
I say, now is a good time for that!
What words have you personally received, either from the Holy Spirit directly or through a person? Now is a good time to claim them
What have you asked God for? Healing? Salvation of loved ones? Now is a good time to pray, believing.
What is God’s call on your life? Now is a good time to walk in it.
Does it seem especially dark? The news certainly communicates that. Now is a good time to “Arise and shine” – Light is much easier to see in darkness.
Now is a good time to walk closely with the Living God. He is good; his love endures forever; he has wonderful plans for you. Trust, obey, believe, receive!
Jesus, teach us to ask as big as your answers and to reach as high as you reach. Thank you. Amen.
May the Light who came into the world shine in your heart;
May His love warm, cheer and strengthen you;
May His presence bring you all health and joy.
Luke 1:5In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
8Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
11Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
18Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
19The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
21Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
23When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25“The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
I learned recently that the phrase , “your prayer has been heard” (v 13) carries the sense of a prayer that has been let go for a very long time. This could probably read, That prayer you used to pray before you gave up on it…
I relate to that: There are things I have sought the Lord for; then given up on because they haven’t happened. I’m betting you have some of those as well.
In the light of this understanding, Zechariah’s reaction makes perfect sense. It is far too easy to allow doubt, discouragement and unbelief to move in.
The question is, what shall we do with prayers that don’t seem to get answered?
I only have a whisper of insight: Keep on keeping on. One thing Elizabeth and Zechariah did right was to continue in their lives and work. They “were righteous in the sight of God.” (v6) When the Lord’s timing came, he gave them their desire.
I understand with all heartache, quandary and “hope against hope” about fighting that sense that “It’s too late.” Zechariah and Elizabeth certainly struggled with that one. God’s answer: He gave them what they had asked for.
Is it ever too late for God?
Remembering the story
Of God’s life among us;
His wonderful glory:
A day long ago,
When a baby was born
To bring a new covenant
To the world so forlorn.
Watch for the day
When Jesus comes again
To gather His people;
All promises attend.
A day filled with awe
And ecstatic delight,
Together with the Bridegroom,
A celebration bright.
When it’s time,
Neither early nor late;
Lord Jesus will return
In His glorious state
Until then, we live,
Depending on His grace
And look forward to that day
When we meet face to face.
The Gospel of Christ is greater than any tradition or bent we could possibly come up with.
It reaches higher, deepr and farther than conservitivism, progressivism, liberalism, communism, socialism, libertarianism, greenism and all other isms.
The Good News is this:
God loves each of us. It doesn’t matter who, where or what you are; Time in history is of no consequence.
He wants every single person to be saved; He is not willing that any should perish. Yes, that even means progressives, communists, socialists and all of the other ists!
God’s love reaches to every income bracket, from the welthiest, most powerful people in the world to those who have absolutely nothing.
Jesus doesn’t fit in any box; yet he is present in every last one of them, even yours!
He has every resource you willever need.
Now, that’s Good News!!
2 Peter 3:9
There is a refuge from chaos and strife,
Where all can receive abundant life.
A place where peace and joy prevail;
And all are embraced, even when they fail.
This refuge is built on intimate love,
Sealed by the Son of God above.
The King of kings and Lord of lords;
Who redeems and saves us, heals and restores.
But how will people ever come to know
This is a place where they can go,
Unless we live to show the way
By being God’s expression every day?
The living refuge is alive and well,
Standing against the gates of Hell.
Pointing the way so all come in,
To the Refuge where they are born again.
Chaos may increase and the storms will brew,
But peace abides in God most true.
Let us give thanks to His great Name,
Yesterday, today, forever the same.