Source Or Effect?


     There is a lot of conversation going on in the church today as to what kind of church we need to be.  Words and phrases like "welcoming" and "warm", "comforting," and "relationship centered" are used a lot.  These are all good things.  A welcoming, warm, comforting church, is far better than a cold, distant, unfriendly one.  Yet I wonder, have we come to depend on "being" all of these in our yearning to reach a dying world?  Are we, in the end, depending on nothing more than flesh to do what only He can do?  As a good friend put it, "Good flesh is better than bad flesh, but in the end, it's still flesh."  Jesus said "Abide in Me, for apart from Me, you can do nothing."  I think in many ways, we accept this as truth, and then expend great energy in trying to prove it's not so.  Henry Blackaby wrote, "Our temptation is to give our time and effort to the goals of this world.
Then, when we are successful in the world's eyes, we seek to bring God into our world by honoring Him with our success."  This goes far beyond the ministry of the church to reach into every aspect of our lives.  We plan, and then we do it, and if we can "make it happen," we then bring it to Him in order to both honor Him and to receive His blessing for our efforts.  Blackaby calls this "giving Him second-hand glory" which is something He will never accept.  We keep trying to create what only He can create.  The question we must allow His Spirit to ask us is, are we more interested in being a life, a fellowship that is welcoming to the flesh, or to His Spirit.  As that friend I previously mentioned said, "We need to be centered on our Source, and not on the effect we hope to achieve."
      What we need to know is that the church that has as its deepest desire to be a body which the Lord can completely inhabit, will in many ways not be welcoming to our flesh at all.  Indeed, our flesh will want to be anywhere but in such an environment.  But the beauty of it all is that the seeds which have been planted in various hearts by His Spirit, will so desire to come to Him, that in a mystical way, it renders the power of the flesh null and void.  Yes, I know we still have our free will, but I believe the power of His Spirit and Life set free in His church will be a power that is almost irresistible, and if the flesh, aided by the devil, is able to resist it, then all of our efforts to make that flesh feel "welcome" will never bring to pass the desire we hold, and will certainly never bring to pass His desire.
      Both David and Paul spoke of the "one thing."  That One thing was to them, and must be so to us, Him, and Him alone.  We need to be, must be consumed by the One we must abide in.  He is the Source in and for everything.  That's not just a saying to place on the walls of our homes and churches, but written upon our hearts.  Will our lives, our fellowships, be most welcoming to the things of the Kingdom and His Life, or to the things and interests of the flesh?  Will we be Source, or effect centered?  Will the One thing, be the only thing for you and I?

Pastor O 
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   May 2019   
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