Why the Church?

fellowship-program

It is easy to become cynical and hard about the Church. We easily see failure and defeat permeating our local churches. That is a serious problem, if we look too close, or for too long. The sins of the Church are evident and massive.

Satan has a personal vendetta against the Church. He clearly strategizes and makes tactical moves to stultify it. It is his grim effort to make the Church a non-factor in the lives of many. This is Satan’ will. The black lord desires to destroy the saints. The question begs to be asked, “Why the Church?”

Fellowship, or in Koine Greek is “Koinonia.” It implies a common sharing of things or experiences. It is to share with others what you have. At it’s best, believers share all that is good and right with each other. However, bad things can also be shared. Yes, we have seen this!

However, to be a Christian is to be:

  • A branch of the vine– John 15:9
  • A limb of the body– 1 Corinthians 12
  • A reborn child of the Father– John 1:12-13

There is a real dependence in all of these, an attachment to something that provides nourishment to the individual and protection of the person. God has designed it so we come to Him corporately (this is “koinonia”). We are family, and that is how we must access the Father.

aabryscript

Scare the Bullies: Psalms 86

14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
    a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
    and they do not set you before them.
15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me;
    give your strength to your servant,
    and save the son of your maidservant.
17 Show me a sign of your favor,
    that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
    because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

Ps. 86:14-17, ESV

This the last of three parts, and we should be impressed with its diversity. There are vista points here, where we can stop and wonder. I remember lounging in the California redwoods, just meandering and soaking it in. It basically undid me. And after awhile, I found it hard to speak. (Itself a minor miracle!)

But scripture can do this as well. When we really start looking, and praying, and meditating we start to appreciate all the Father has done for us. And it’s not just “deep thinkers,” who can do this.  Actually, deep thinking is a liability. It is the simple, the humble, the slow, those who have absurd patience– they are the ones who can do some serious reflecting. Children do it best I think.

Commentary

V. 14, is pretty much David’s reality. He is on Satan’s “hit list.” He has a “contract’ on his life. He must deal with this as he moves through his day. I can imagine that this could be quite corrosive and detrimental to your soul; your heart and your mind. He must have thought, ‘Can I really trust this person, does he have a dagger?’ I would have been a mess, twisted up with paranoia and fear.

V. 15, each word used in this verse is quite precise, each phrase carefully used. This is not David flattering God, it is not “boot-licking” mush. Rather, this verse is an accurate portrayal of the Lord God’s character. It is David’s appraisal of how he has experienced God, the things he has found out about Him. David has a long history with the Father, and he reminds himself of how good God really was.

V. 16, in this verse we see David appealing to God on the basis of relationship. Also, David speaks of a kind of “future grace.” Yes, good things have happened in his life, God things. But that isn’t enough for the present moment, and the future. David needs freshness, a grace tailored just for today, custom built.

David’s source for his survival is in God’s cupboards. He knows this, and boldly steps up and asks for it. Interestingly David doesn’t come as an anointed king, having a majestic aura. When he refers to himself, it is as ”the son of your maidservant.”

V. 17, “The Message” Bible is interesting in how it translates this particular verse:

“Make a show of how much you love me 
      so the bullies who hate me will stand there slack-jawed, 
   As you, God, gently and powerfully 
      put me back on my feet.”

ybic, Bryan

kyrie elesion. (Lord, have mercy.)

_________________

I wrote this on Feb. 21, 2012 and it was posted on my second website, “Psalmslife.com.” If you happen to like this kind of teaching, there is a “whole boatload” on that site, 70-80 posts just on the Psalms. I would be honored if you would check it out.  –B.

When You Are Scorned

“My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”  Psalm 42:3, ESV

I have a vivid and clear memory of meeting this well-groomed gentleman walking up the steps of BART in Berkeley.  He was dressed in the sophisticated twill jacket with a vest, and carried a elegant brief case.  I myself, had been preaching on Telegraph Avenue, very close to the open gates of UC Berkeley.  It was a solid and definite ministry, and the thick crowds were quite open to the Gospel.  After our pre-determined time, we shut down and all headed for home.

I was catching the subway back to the Mission district  in downtown San Francisco when I met him coming up the steps.  It was just him and I as we met.  He stopped, and looked at me, very focused and intent.  He then said, “I so wish we could feed you to the lions, again.”  He spoke coldly, and thoughtfully.  It was chilling.

It floored me, as I slowly realized he had no idea of how I spent the last four hours.  Whatever was animating him, it knew what I had been doing.  The amazing part of this, is that he was dressed as a professor, part of the teaching staff at UC Berkeley.  I was impressed initially by his bearing, and just his composure, and all of this seemed to be a  result of a collegiate decorum or a special demeanor.

As I considered this contact with him, I was shakened. He knew who I was, and what I was up to.  I wish that I could tell you that I responded to him, with a precise and zinging word that brought him to salvation. But that was not the case.  I was instantly and deeply deflated, and as I stood there looking directly at him, I felt vulnerable, and perhaps a bit humbled.

But what I was touching was the power of scorn.  It had become a bare wire, that was just there.  But the contact had not just been a ‘shocking’ experience of the moment (which we have so many.)

“3But first you must realize that in the last days some people won’t think about anything except their own selfish desires. They will make fun of you 4and say, “Didn’t your Lord promise to come back.  Yet the first leaders have already died, and the world hasn’t changed a bit.” 2 Peter 3:3-4, CEV

We must deal with an evil (propagated against believers) that scorns the idea of an advancing evil, or a darkness that pursues the believer.  As I think about this, it seems to be like one of those juvenile delinquents who let out the air of four full tires on our car.  We wish it didn’t happen, but we can’t pretend, by looking the other way.

We confront, face-to-face, an evil that twists us, and declares that things are not what they seem to be.  It all comes down to an awareness that our presence has a bit of “transformation” to it.  There will be scorners, those who know the art of mocking our faith.  They specialize in this evil, without fear.

Dear one, don’t let the scorn and mocking of a few malign and then destroy your faith. You have come too far to let this happen.  The vulgar voices shouldn’t sidetrack you or direct you down an evil path.  The scorn from the evil that surrounds you, it can destroy or strengthen you.  Take it as it comes.  Hold on to what is good.