An Explosive Church

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“On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning.”

“It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return. ”

Annie Dillard

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I think that as Church-going people we should be regarded as spiritually “armed and considered dangerous.” We are the true subversives. And we should always be on the verge of a “loving goodness’ that explodes within us .

“But the people who know their God shall prove themselves strong and shall stand firm and do great exploits [for God].”

Daniel 11:32, AMP

I admit I once considered Christians as weak and passive people. They were far too tame for me. At least the kind of believer that I found in most churches.  I wanted dynamic, and active. I somehow surmised that the church couldn’t provide this for me.

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 1:8

The feast of Pentecost is where the power and fire of God bonded with the disciples. It was said that flames of fire could be visible on each believer. It was precisely at this point they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. They would never be the same– indeed, the world changed.

It was sometime later I was reading Hebrews 11. I was amazed by these believers who endured so much in their faith. I’ve come to the conclusion that to live your faith you’re going face obstacles that will be quite challenging. You will end up quite often doing the improbable which most think is impossible.

 32″How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. 33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.35 Women received their loved ones back again from death.

But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.”

Hebrews 11:32-38, NLT

We have got a hold of something, or someone, that is quite real, and very disrupting  (in a good way!) We should expect to do exploits, and live in a manner that would seem dangerous to people without faith.

aabryplain

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Open Doors

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Jesus comes for each man, woman and child.  Every person is precious. Our sin may separate us from others. Jesus Christ seeks every heart. Sin has been dealt with on the cross, completely and surely. We are loved down to the deepest fiber of our being.

Sometimes cultures create categories of sin. But handling sin without the protective gloves of the Holy Spirit will only contaminate us, no matter what the sin. Taking precautions we should help each other find freedom, not condemnation.

The sin maybe adultery, drunkenness, stealing, hatred, or murder. It could be cheating on our income taxes. It could even be homosexuality. But only God’s love can be trusted to forgive and restore us. A repentant heart is all it takes. Why not ask Him to show you how to repent? Jesus told the woman who had committed adultery:

 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more” (John 8:11, NLT).

 

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, I declare to you that all sin is forgiven. Return to Him like the Prodigal Son (Luke 15). “We’ll keep the porch light on.”  We look forward to the party of the redeemed heart.

aabryplain

Radiators

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“And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 13:52, NIV

“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,”

Ephesians 5:18, NLT

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Most old houses used to be heated with radiators. They were cast iron monstrosities that radiated steam to warm the house. You could come inside from the cold and lay your mittens on them to dry. They are now more or less, obsolete. But for the longest time were ubiquitously common; I guess new technology has replaced them.

But in a way, Christians are radiators of the Holy Spirit. Just as the heated steam from the boiler room flowed into them, so we too receive from the Lord specific ministry for others. We provide “heat” to the people around us. We simply share what He has given us. The radiator’s source of comfort comes from another source. All it is, after all it it is us  becoming a receptacle for the steam.

It is the Spirit that gives us warmth. We are basically hollow until He fills us. In ourselves, we are nothing. It is Jesus inside that makes the difference. Without His presence we just take up space and gather dust. We’re just in the way unless we are used. But a radiator is a good thing to have.

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Holy Spirit, full me up.

Perhaps we need a reminder of who we really are. We must make ourselves wholly available. Being filled with the Spirit is never a one time experience, but rather, a way of life. Someone once asked a preacher why he kept preaching on the filling of the Holy Spirit. His reply was classic, “Because I leak.”

Dear one, seek to be filled with Him today. Set aside your own agenda and allow Him to enter in. Apart from Him, you can do nothing. Let us pray with  St. Augustine,

“O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.”

aabryscript

The God Who Sees Me

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“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Genesis 16:13

Omniscience is an attribute of God. It states that God is all-knowing. He possesses a complete understanding of everything there is or will be. He knows and sees all of His creation. While we gradually accrue understanding, He fully knows absolutely. (Job 37:16).

In Genesis 16 is where we meet Hagar. She is an inconsequential figure. Her personal destiny is a secondary one. She is the Egyptian slave of Sarah, and the concubine of Abraham. Through a series of anxious maneuverings designed to produce a heir, Abraham sleeps with her and she conceives. Sarah goes ballistic, punishing Hagar. Sarah drives her slave from the camp.

As Hagar wanders the wilderness, she meets with an Angel of the Lord who speaks to her. He tells her to return. He also promise that her son will be amazing; he will do mighty things. Hagar is astonished that God would speak to her. She makes the following statement,  “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me” (v.13).

The One who sees me! I believe she finally understood that God was aware of her, an Egyptian slave girl. She was a ‘non-factor’ in the eyes of everyone.

“You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.”

Psalm 139:1-3

We maybe insignificant; we may see ourselves as inconsequential. But we are fully known. You might be a janitor, or a nurse, or fry burgers at McDonalds. But God sees you, even when others don’t. It means I have significance. This should be a point of worship, it was for Hagar.

 “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matt.10:30).

“For your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matt. 6:8).

Because God fully knows all about you, we can rest in being unknown. His complete awareness of us encourages us. We feel significant by His attention. He makes life purposeful. He sees me!

aabryscript

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