"Since we are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be destroyed, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:28-29...."Today's complacency is tomorrow's captivity."...."There is no such animal as 'comfortable Christianity.' "...."Truth must never be sacrificed on the altar of political, cultural, or sexual expediency." "Be holy, be one, be light. Whenever light stands next to darkness, light will always win." Samuel Rodriquez...."Will we rise up with a voice, or simply have conversation?" Tim Clinton
There's a lot of talk in the Church these days about having a willingness to "have a conversation," with an unbelieving world, to listen to their voice and be receptive to their criticism. Now, I believe we need to be aware of the legitimate criticisms of the world towards the Church. I also think we need to have conversations with them. My concern is with the voice we use when we do so. That's why I love Clinton's above quote. Are we, the Church, really rising up with a voice, His voice, in the midst of culture careening towards its own destruction? Do we have the prophetic attitude of "Thus says the Lord," in the midst of the conversation? I believe we can do so with a loving heart that speaks with a holy authority and leaves absolutely no room for compromise. I believe in many ways, too many ways, we have, as Rodriquez says, sacrificed Truth in order to be seen as "loving," with loving being defined by others and not Him. The result is a tolerance that will end with our own captivity. We don't want to be seen as judgemental, unloving, so we keep silent on so many things in the Body. We want to be seen as welcoming, but we don't understand that a God who is a consuming fire welcomes us to come to Him while at the same time seeking to burn up all the garbage that lurks within us. Jack Taylor said we need to stop asking God to help us and start realizing He wants to "kill us." That is, to kill all within us that is keeping us from the fullness and abundance of His Life. We keep asking, inviting people to come to Christ and get something. Christ bids us to come to Him and die to everything that is not Him. Which message is more prevalent in your fellowship and mine?
A few months ago, I got hold of a devotional book based on the writings of John Wesley. I thought there might be some excellent reading as well as good quotes to use in my own. There are, but I wasn't prepared to be as convicted as I have been. Wesley may have been, after Paul, the greatest proclaimer of Christ's message of perfect love. He writes with a heart of love, and a voice of fire. He leaves no room for sin, for compromise, for complacency. He proclaims His Light, and as Rodriquez states, when light stands next to darkness, light always wins...because darkness always flees. And the need of the world, the culture in this hour is for voices that rise up and speak the Truth, the whole Truth in love. Fire filled voices of love that illuminate the darkness and put it to flight. Voices that make a proclamation, not just a conversation. This voice needs to be heard in every aspect of the culture, but nowhere moreso than in the culture of the Church...from the pulpit. Voices that do not fear to address all the sexual confusion and behavior of this day, which is found in the very midst of every congregation. Voices that do not fear to speak to the social, and yes, political issues of this day. Not with the view of taking a side, but of proclaiming Biblical Truth that cuts through all the flesh agendas that are present in all of them. Voices that proclaim the whole truth of salvation; the place of confession, repentance, and whole life transformation. Voices that proclaim the ministry and Person of the Holy Spirit. Voices that are led of His Spirit, empowered by His Spirit, and breathe the fire of His Spirit. Wesley was such a voice, and was used of God to be a vessel of His that transformed the nation and empire of England. The people of God rose up with a voice....and an empire was shaken to its core. How willing are we to rise up with such a voice as well?
A wonderful brother ended a recent communication with me with, "Forgive the ramblings of an old man." I don't care to think of myself as old, but I expect I may have rambled here. I make no apology. Our culture and world is collapsing in upon itself, and there is no hope for it apart from the Light, Life, and yes, Fire of His Voice and Heart. I hope to be some small part of that until that time that He calls me home. How about you?
I leave with this quote from a favorite writer, Chris Tiegreen....."You and the believers around you are to march into the throne room of the world's enslaver with one primary conviction within you: 'I Am has sent us.' "