Starving For Jesus

 Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young-- a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God. Psalm 84:3....."I will seek a place at Your altar and humbly draw near to You." Lyric from Randy Rothwell song, "I Will Seek A Place At Your Altar"......"Are we observers, or pursuers of Him? People have learned to be satisfied without a hunger for the presence of God." John Bevere


Soda pop and junk food. These have become staples of our culture's diet. Indeed, that culture has become adept at placing an ever increasing desire for such in our appetites, in many ways, convincing us that they are good for us. We consume such "food" literally, and to our great harm, spiritually as well. In many ways, the Church has become skilled dispensers of the same. I say that not in harsh criticism, but with loving concern and burden.

Some months ago I was visiting the home church of a friend, and attended one of the pre-worship classes. Those in attendance were asked what it was that attracted them to this fellowship. Though the answers varied, the common theme seemed to be that they found love and acceptance from the fellowship, that they enjoyed the friendships they had formed there, and that they very much enjoyed all the wonderful ministries and activities offered there. Let me say that I didn't get any sense that these were the goals of the church itself. I sensed a real burden in the leadership and pastor that all would come to a saving, life giving relationship in and with Christ. But what I heard was that the great attraction for them was what He might give them through the fellowship, not that they might lay hold of the One the Psalmist called "Lord Almighty. My King and my God." The result of this, intentional or not, is to become a person, a people, a church, satisfied with "things" from Him, but lacking a hunger for Him. 

Valuing the things listed above by the people is not wrong in itself. Churches should offer love and acceptance for the person, while never compromising on, or accepting the sin that may hold them captive. We have gradually drifted in many ways into offering the benefits and ends to be given by Jesus Christ, over and above the wonder of knowing and living in Him. Simply put, the joy and wonder of loving Him with all our heart and being, and in return experiencing His great love. A life of living for and in Him. 

So much of our message today seems to offer a Jesus who will make our lives better and the here and now. Better marriages. More contentment in our lives. More success in our endeavors. In short, how to have a great life right here, right now. It's not wrong to want to have healthy marriages, or to find contentment in our day to day living, but they should be by-products of a life spent in total, wholehearted pursuit of Him. Jesus said we're to "seek first His Kingdom," seek Christ Himself, and then "all these things shall be added to you." Our focus has been on "all these things," and not on Christ and His Kingdom. As I heard someone say, "We are the most blessed society on earth, and our greatest desire is for even more blessing." We have become centered on the blessing, not the blessing Giver. When this becomes the message of the Church, we have begun, well meaning or not, to dispense "junk food and soda pop," for this is what even the best and purest blessing is if having it means more to us than partaking of He who is the Bread and Living Water of Life.

It's my prayer that everywhere, and in every place, He would raise up a people who "seek a place at His altar and humbly draw near to Him." A people who come to Him for no other reason than to lay hold of Him. Not for gifts and blessing, but for the Gift of Himself. It has been said that one can grow obese by consuming huge amounts of junk food, and yet be literally starving to death. There is no life giving nourishment in the "food," though they may feel quite "full." Spiritually, where might the same be happening in you, your family, and in your fellowship? Where are we "starving" for Jesus? Starving to death.


Pastor O


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   May 2019   
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