May 04, 2007

Mad at the preacher?

Do you ever get mad at the preacher?
Do you ever (almost, secretly) hope that the conclusions he draws in his message are not true?

If you never get angry at the preacher, I guess that either
a) you just wouldn't describe it as mad. Heavy-hearted? Perturbed? Saddened? Annoyed?
b) your preacher's sermons are more milky than meaty, or
c) you've already submitted to the Lord in all those areas which the preacher mentions.

I see that frustration with what is said from the pulpit can be good in that
a) it shows that you're listening and that there is some fire in you and
b) it should pull you into God's Word to see for yourself if what the preacher said is Biblical.

I am not saying that it is good if your heart is rebelling against God's authority and written Word. Nor am I saying that it is good if a preacher preaches false doctrine. But on those areas where the Scripture doesn't seem to be extremely straightforward, is it not better that our hearts be stirred to study the Word and pray about it, rather than sit idly by and nod in agreement with whatever the pastor spouts?

In 2004 I heard a lady speak who worked on the city streets trying to share the good news of Christ with passer-bys. Her comment was that she preferred the passer-bys who responded to their message in some way, even if it was in anger, than those whose eyes and hearts were stony and unresponsive.

In a similar way, it concerns me when we approve those who attend church meetings--even if their life choices are demonstrating an obvious lack of godly wisdom--while their hearts may be more spiritually barren than those of young people who have quit coming to church.

If I could have changed my Bible school experience, I would have liked to have had five quiet minutes or so at the end of our class periods to consider what the Lord was saying to us through His Word and to have time to apply it. It is altogether too easy to resist the tuggings of the Spirit in the mad dash back to the dorm to grab a sweater, or in the line-up for hot chocolate. I suppose the same could be said for church services and group Bible studies. Often I could use a few minutes for initial personal digestion of the bread of Life before I get up and interact with others.

"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."
(Acts 17:11)


"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."
(Revelation 3:16)

May 03, 2007

The count is now at two coworkers who've told me
(when they find out that I believe in a Creator God)
that I don't seem very religious.

I don't want to be religious,
the God of the Bible is relational, not religional,
but oh that they would have that friendship with their Creator restored,
and that my friends who know Him would be restored to the image of their Heavenly Friend.

My unbelieving friends want to know if I go to church every Sunday
and some are are relieved that I am not trying to convert them.

Oh, I could never convert a soul.
To take that blackness of self-love and make it new, pure?
Don't give me that job, Jesus...only You can do that.
People tell me that what they believe is their own personal choice
and that we each decide for ourselves what is true.
But there's only One way to a right relationship with the Lord Yahweh.

They try to tell me about good things they've done.
Yes, one goes to church sometimes and didn't drink before she was legal age. Another is abstaining from pork and feels good if she spends time in prayer to Buddha one day a week. Another has read some of the Bible. "I am a good person." They tell me about their 'righteous' acts.

I cannot stand for that ancient lie
that we can make our own choices and
that if our good works outweigh our bad,
the Creator will allow us a pleasant afterlife.
How they need to know what that Creator is like,
and their goodness will look like dirty rags in comparison
to the loveliness of the Creator.

Maybe this post sounds religious, because the Lord afforded me some opportunities to answer questions about my relationship with Himself.
Cut out my religion, Lord, and leave someone who recognizes her need of constant fellowship with You and openness in our relationship.
Cut out the reliance on self to accomplish things. Cut out all matter of self.
What I need is Divine wisdom. Without You I am nothing.