The Lord's


     "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead."  Revelation 1:17....."Along with John, every redeemed human being needs the humility of spirit that can only be brought about by the manifest presence of God."  A.W. Tozer......"Why does God require us to die to ourselves?  Dead people are easy to get along with."  Mark Gungor
     Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, we see a common response to people coming face to face with the Presence of God.  Many times, they could do nothing but fall on their face before Him.  They would be at a loss for words.  When Paul encountered Christ on the Damascus Road, he was struck blind.  When Peter's understanding of just who Jesus truly was struck at his heart, all he could do was ask the Lord to depart from him, for he was too unclean to be in the presence of such a Holy One as He.  Different responses.  Different results, but I think, the one common element in all of them was a humble spirit.  Jesus said that "blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall see God."  He meant that those who were aware of how desperately they were in need of life, His life, would receive that life, and abundantly.  It takes real humility of heart and spirit to recognize that need within ourselves.  Such a spirit is impossible for the human heart that has entered into this world fully believing it is sufficient in itself to handle and overcome all the needs of life.  That heart has little need of God so long as it believes that it itself is god.  Such a heart cannot "see" God, and surely can never know Him.  Yet, here is the great hope in all of it.  Jesus Christ specializes in transforming such proud and arrogant hearts.  He humbles the proud, as He did Paul, and lifts up the humble, as He did for the blind beggar, Bartimaeus.  Has He ever truly done such in the hearts and lives of you and I?  How much of how we live, work, and especially, minister, fall into the realm of pride, arrogance, and self-sufficiency?  Such a way was how Saul of Taursus walked. When he came face to face with Christ on that road, he then became the apostle Paul.  Has such an encounter ever fully happened for and in you and me?  He was broken, and then remade.  Has it been so with us?
     There are many things to see in the church today.  Polished worship services led by talented musicians and singers.  Power point sermons delivered by men and women who have learned how to "speak to the culture."  State of the art audio/visual helps
that "enhance" the "worship experience."  And an audience on hand to view it all.  In the movie "Sister Act," Whoopi Goldberg's character, a Las Vegas lounge singer pretending to be a nun and now leading the church choir, says to someone holding her back from taking the platform with the choir, "I've got a show to do."  Does any part of that enter into how so many of us may ascend our "platforms" each day of worship?  Not just publicly, but privately?  Really, can any of us expect to see Him in our midst when so much of what we're doing is centered on us, our needs and gratification, rather than on Him, His holiness and wonder?  On His worthiness to be praised and worshiped, and our unworthiness before Him?  Unworthy before Him, but welcome to come to Him, and into His embrace.  Coming poor in spirit, but beholding Him in our midst.  Empty, but made full. This is what should be taking place.  Is it?
     This is not a critique.  It's a call.  I've been reading an article by Nancy Leigh DeMoss as to what the true meaning of the word "church" is, and how we have added a very large amount of man made definition into that.  In His Word, two words used for what have been translated as "church" are kuriakos, which means "the Lord's" and ekklesia, which means "called out ones."  We are called out first and foremost to be His.  We've added so much to those meanings, and in so many ways have created a man-centered, "church."  He calls us to Himself, for Himself.  Yes, He does send us out, but not until we have first "come out" of ourselves and unto Him.  May it be that you and I, and the fellowships of which we're a part, be the "called out ones of the Lord's."  May what we believe church to be, be defined by Him, and not us.

Pastor O


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   May 2019   
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