Thursday, October 10, 2013

From the Newsletter: Prone to Wander

We live in a world where we are constantly being drawn this way, and that, run to this meeting, get to this event. Soccer, dance, chess club, the gym, shopping, work, and I could list a hundred other things. And before you know it, you’ve found your-self making your Christian walk, church, and the things of God just a few more things on the list of things to do. It’s a real danger that all of us face. We know that knowing Christ and Him crucified should be the very center of our lives, but instead our walk becomes part of the periphery.
Unfortunately, churches can get the same way, we get excited about this thing and that thing. We get excited about the latest good cause. Child poverty, human trafficking, fighting for the rights of the unborn, aids in Africa, fighting for religious freedom, on and on it can go. And then there are the very good things that the church should be doing: serving the poor, encouraging the family, building healthy marriages, teaching men to be men of God (because we’re desperately short of both men and men of God in our culture)… the list keeps growing, and we can so quickly lose sight of what is truly important (I know I can).
Which is why as individuals and as a church, we must constantly be reminding ourselves to keep our eye on the cross, the glory of God, and the furthering of His kingdom. I find it fascinating that Paul described the death and resurrection of Christ as being of first importance, and how he lived a radically cross centered life. The thing that drove him was the cross, which led to the desire to glorify Christ, and obey His command to go into all the world and make disciples. And he did it, no matter what the cost. Though he was mocked, beaten, shipwrecked stoned, he was willing to spend himself, and be spent by God for the furthering of the gospel and the making of disciples. 
As I look at the apostle Paul, I can’t help but see a model for how we should move forward in this increasingly pluralistic neo pagan culture both as individuals and as a church. He kept his eye on the ball, come what may, and said with boldness, to live is Christ, to die is gain. Follow me, as I follow Christ.

When I look at Paul, I can’t help but think “I want to spend and be spent for the kingdom of God. May you say the same. I want all of us to have the cross on our hearts, the glory of God on our minds, and the making of disciples as our mission, because we proclaim the gospel to Medfield and beyond not to hear ourselves talk, but to make disciples who understand the gospel, live out of the gospel in a deep and rich way as they seek to glorify God, and then make more disciples who continue the pattern. 

In the business of our schedules, in the midst of competing priorities, may we keep our priorities in line. It’s easy to let them get all out of whack. Prone to wander, says the old hymn, prone to leave the God I love. With this in mind, may our prayer be, Lord we know we’re prone to wander. Lord, help us keep our eye on what is truly important. “Here’s our heart Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above”.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Morning Musings: The fall of Satan and our own foolish thoughts

Why did Satan fall? This morning, I was reading Ezekiel 28, which describes the fall of Satan, and it's a fascinating passage, and it answers the question of what made Satan become the archenemy of Satan. The answer is shocking. Pride.
The passage starts as a statement to the king of  Tyre, but you quickly realize that its talking about the power behind the king of Tyre, because we're told that he was in Eden, the Garden of God.
So what do you see? First, you see a being that is blessed in every possible way. In the description of Satan in Ezekiel 28, you see that he is the model of perfection. Full of wisdom and beauty. Adorned with all kinds of precious stones. Anointed as a guardian cherub. Ordained by God. He walked among the fiery stones. I don know what the fiery stones where, but I'm betting they where amazing.
But then look at what he said. "I am a god. I sit on the throne of God." He looked himself and he wanted the same status as the Creator. He wanted his standing to be equal with God. He forgot that he was a created being rather than the creator, and claimed the prerogative of God.
Here's the thing that struck me. Do we not do that when we seek self autonomy? Do we not do that when we think "I can handle this. I got this, I don't need God for this." Is this not us much of the time? "I am in control, I can handle things, I don't need God for this. He can take care the big things I'll take care of this".
If we're depending on him for out very breathe how can we say this? If we acknowledge that he orders and numbers our days, and is sovereignly in charge of all creation, how can we say this with a straight face? He is God. He is in control. He alone rules all things. May we not be so foolish as to think that we are in control. May we not be so proud as to think that we've got this. Only God "has this", only God most high is in control.
So here's my final though and prayer (my prayer for myself, my family, my church, and for everyone who reads this). May we see at all times that God is God, and we are not. And may we be on our knees crying out for God to work through us what is pleasing to him. May we see that there's nothing that we can do apart from him that will have any real value. All we do is sinful to the core. It's filthy rags. We need Him to be at work. May he be at work for His glory and not ours, and may we acknowledge that he's got this (whatever this is) and we do not.