I remember when I was a kid standing out in the fields around our farmhouse, shouting and listening for the echo to come bounding back to me; then, assured that I had the hang of it, I got creative and made
all manner of shouts, and chirps, and barks just for fun. We lived out in the country so I suppose you're thinking it didn't take much to entertain us!
You might be right but I did learn some things out there in the sticks. I learned that if I was in the right place, shouting in the right direction, at the right volume, I could expect that echo to return to me. My words didn't return void or empty. Even though there really wasn't any deep meaning or purpose behind them they came back to me.
You probably know where I am going. Or do you?
There sure are a lot of words bouncing around planet earth these days. One voice sounds better then the other one, then a louder one comes and drowns out the first two just in time for a new,' more- true' word to settle into it's mantel as the ultimate truth! We even seem to believe that in the church. The new and improved word, this year's edition will finally get us on the right track. Everyone has a better idea and so we reinvent ourselves again and follow one or two echoes who seem to have it down pat. Some of us are all into tightening the 'noose' around our parishioners neck and get them on the straight and narrow so that we can save them from themselves. Another echo or two can't conceive of a God who would have written some of the stuff we now attribute to Him, so they reinvent God and make him a little more tame and in our image! Trouble is, we don't recognise God's voice anymore or trust that it is really Him speaking to us unless a new prophet comes along to explain.( Every generation run's a hero up the pop charts......Paul Simon)...........but I'm sounding like all the other echos.
What if God is really speaking? Yield, Pray, Listen, and Obey (YPLO.. well it's not as catchy as 'Prayer of Jabez but you know......) Is anybody out there? The Word says that it will not return void without accomplishing what HE pleases(Isaiah 55:11; . It also says that God is right and true, even if all of us men and women are lying (Romans 3:4) so that sort of narrows the search doesn't it. I don't know about you but I am trying to hear God speak in His Word more than I have been. It's sometimes still and small but that just means we must listen even closer. It occurs to me that what we are discussing or debating is our opinion about God. Its just my view versus yours because , perhaps, we really do not know for sure! God is God no matter who wins this weeks debate . I want to know more of God but I know that will require burning some spiritual bridges leaving myself nowhere else to go but God!
I guess this post won't leave me alone so I'm back with it. So much of how we attempt to relate to God is dependent upon what and how we are taught. Its always a little disconcerting talking about what you believe with someone who has a different point of view. Cognitive dissonace in practice. Some of the things I take as 'given' are not even in the other person's beliefs at all. Unless you love to argue it seems easier to just file this information in your brain somewhere and go on without resolving it. For me though, it sometimes leaves me feeling a little uncertain with all the unfinished business always there. It really makes you appreciate being around people who either believe like you do or who you have already agreed to disagree with.. So many versions and interpretations of the truth. I suppose much of it is just man taking various lines in explaining what the Bible says and what we believe. It occurs to me though that all of these doctrines and beliefs and interpretations could not be true. Perhaps not until heaven will we really know. Its funny though, I've heard parents say that they are not teaching their children any religious or spiritual things so that they can decide for themself when they are older. That's strange; seems like I recall hearing we should 'train up ' a child in the way that he should go..................Think about it; if they aren't taught anything then the choice they will probably make is not to believe at all! I know that first hand.
The thing is, the Bible says that when Jesus was ascended to the Father that He said we should take heart because he wasn't leaving us alone. He was sending the Holy Spirit who would be a teacher, coach, counselor, etc and remind us and teach everything we would need to know.
Do we really believe that ? I'm sure that many of us don't; I'm sure that many of us can't settle for themselves that they can trust that statement of Jesus as it is written in the Bible. If you don't believe the source book you don't really believe the message.You can end up thinking in circles and your faith really ends up being situational. If everything lines up correctly I will file this proposition in the temporaily true basket.There is too much room in that position for unbelief to settle in. Again, mistrust and unbelief is my natural bent but a funny thing is happening the older I get. I am deciding to believe what the Spirit says as it is given to me in Scripture and also preaching, prayer, dreams, etc as long as it lines up with scripture. If I say that can't happen; that God can't speak like that then I am really questioning that I can trust anything as being from God. Then I get into taking everything and holding it in the provisional truth file until "I" can decide whether to believe it or not. That makes me God doesn't it? I don't know, if I want to polish up my capacity for scepticism and disbelief I can do it. After all, in graduate school we are taught to be sceptics and those who prove everything by the sceintific method When I first believed , apologetics was important to my faith. It's still valuable for giving some of us a reason for the hope that is in us........ We are all at different places in this journey. Not better or worse; it doesn't work that way. I've seen some new Christains who were miles ahead of me in some places in their journey. I've got all kinds of strains of sin still competing for space on my shelf and it shouldn't be that way. .......like the Bible says,,,,,,,,by now some of you should be teachers but you keep starting all over again in the faith (because you refuse to believe God is really real! I said earlier in this thing that we are to burn our spiritual bridges and I think that is true. Rather impulsive and radical but true.
So where am I going with this? I'm just waiting for it to come around on the guitar now..................here it comes..........A preacher was relating the story of how he ended up in a service where someone came to the altar for healing. This was outside his comfort zone but with several others he prayed for a healing . Long story........after a few years he ran into the person they had prayed for and God had healed him. The preacher was relating the story to some of his denominational paster friends and one of them said that his 'theology/doctrine didn't allow for healing" I know what he meant and yet that is really funny. It sounds like the AA story of the elephant in the living room........In their denial, family members refuse to see it (the alcoholic)......in this case, maybe this preacher should reevaluate his theology to see if there is some kind of room for healing since it clearly happened. We all have different beliefs but we really ought to make sure that our beliefs are operational or that they have batteries included. Especially if we are Christians because we need hands on , blue collar doctrines in our faith. We really neeed to get beyond a 'Mars Hill' kind of faith where the whole purpose for gahtering is to try on new ideas and decide which we'll take. There is definitely room for different visions of ministry and different work from one church to the next; different styles, etc but the family resemblence should be in the fact that we all are walking out a growing faith in Christ.............pure and simple devotion to Him , Paul said............... He Has all the answers!
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10 months ago