Supreme Ambition Ministries

To Know Christ and to Make Him Known – Philippians 3:10

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE?

So You Think You Can Dance?

The Essence of Covenant Community

Living within a culture where divorce is commonplace and single-parent homes are more the norm, it is difficult for those of us in the Twenty-first century to grasp the importance of a covenant relationship as it relates to Christian growth and discipleship. So, what defines a Christian community? It is possible that in taking a look at the Biblical concept of marriage we may shed some light upon the concept of covenant discipleship?
Marriage, a Spiritual Template

The heart of God is all about relationships. For that reason He placed humans in families. Therefore, the Christian concept of marriage is a marvelous template for covenant relationship, as well as growth and training in Christian discipleship. The divine plan for marriage is for one man and one woman to continue in their intimate relationship for life. However, since the invention of television and the influx of the digital revolution, human senses are brainwashed, and placed on overload, when it comes to what one might expect from a marriage relationship. Hollywood promises emotional fireworks and explosions of passion at every turn. Not surprisingly, it delivers poorly. Tinseltown’s answer to our disappointment with its failed promises is merely to find another partner. According to divorcerate.org, “The divorce rate in America for first marriage, vs. second or third marriage is 50% of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce.” Apparently, the entertainment industry’s predictions do not get better with multiplicity of partners.
Marriage in a truly Christian environment cannot be improved upon as a template for teaching people how to live in community. Mankind was not made to live in isolation. We function better in a setting where we have the opportunity to make one another better. The author of proverbs says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17, ESV). How disappointing it is when companions bail out on one another at the least provocation. Doing this defrauds the couple and the family unit of the ability to observe how to live and behave in the midst of adversity. Therefore, society misses the opportunity to have crack troops, who have weathered the storms of life, and who can pass down to all observers their secrets to victorious living. Of course, this does not take into account the relationships that are abusive, or hopeless for one reason or another. In those situations, the choices are often limited, and making informed decisions is difficult at best. Under normal circumstances, however, it seems that the experience of marriage can be a catalyst not only for the home, but also for the community at large, and for the Church in particular. The dissolution of a marriage, on the other hand, affects both the couple and those attached to them either through birth, or through other significant relationships. Scars cover the lives of countless numbers of people because of failed marriages. The branches of this poisonous vine weave their way through generations and leave traces of their irritation on the souls of friend, foe, and fellow without discrimination. Perhaps the most tragic realization that the Church must recognize is that the failure of marriage today is virtually equal to that of the world. It appears that most people enter into a marriage relationship with the idea that the person they marry will make them happy.

Contrarily, if a couple considers its marriage vows as something more than a simple ceremony with some colorful words, their declaration may be one in which they recognize they have entered into a covenant, not only with one another, but also with God. If they have entered into this covenant soberly, and determine that the promises they make to one another before God are binding, then the chances of their marriage ending diminish greatly.

Similarly, the new birth is a marriage ceremony of sorts. The decision a candidate for discipleship makes to cease living independently, and to begin living in a covenant relationship is as serious as the choice of a life partner. If divorce adversely affects scores of people, what is the effect upon the Church and the culture of people entering into a covenant relationship with God and his people unadvisedly, or lightly? Furthermore, if divorce stifles the emotional maturity of growing children, what does the severing of bonds among God’s people do to young Christian disciples? The spiritual aptitude of any local expression of Christ will not rise above the devout intellect and practice of the least mature member of that Body.

Remember the words spoken by the Lord Jesus, “If any two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name there am I among them” (Matthew 18:19-20, ESV). The root word for ‘agree’ is sumphoneo (symphony), and signifies a harmonious blending of musical instruments. Is there a better place to observe the symphony of true Christianity than in the relationship of two believing, married partners, warts and all, who passionately love their Lord and one another? There is a marked difference between the love of a middle school couple and that of a more mature couple after several years of marriage. The Bible says, “If any two of you agree . . .?” That statement, alone, implies negotiation, submission, and self-denial. For many, it assumes someone got his way, and someone else did not get her way. Truly, this would be the result, were it not for the fact of the dance, or the symphony. In a vital covenant relationship, either marriage or church, the issue is not whether person “A” or “B” gets what he wants, but rather, to what extent does each surrender to the dance (will of God)? Is fulfillment in life accomplished by one’s ability to accumulate the most toys before he dies? Is one’s relationship in marriage successful because her partner makes her happy, or because she finds mutual fulfillment with her partner as they lay down their lives in service for one another, for others and for the glory of God?

C. S. Lewis wrote,
“The idea that ‘being in love’ is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made.”

The method people use in choosing a church today is typical of a society influenced by Post-modern thought. One chooses churches, marital partners, jobs, etc. according to how much pleasure one receives from the choice. Parents often choose a church according to the types and numbers of programs offered to them and their children. Of course, it is good for churches to offer options; however, if one’s experience in church is little more than a propositional one, the intimate connection with Christ and his community lessens. The Biblical ideal in marriage is for one to take his time in choosing his life’s companion. He must understand that his decision is for life, and that his commitment involves a covenant agreement. It should not be broken simply because he is not as happy as he had hoped. The bliss of marriage comes as two very different personalities share a common goal of allowing their marriage to be the dance of life that brings glory to God. They discover their mutual fulfillment as they ride the waves of frustration and experience the hills and valleys of joy and disappointment. Their individual experiences in the journey they share not only shape them into mature persons in Christ, but also mold their corporate existence as a family into a model for effective community living.

Even as Jesus found a ‘door of hope’ in the dark, gloom of a borrowed tomb, perhaps we, too, can find a window of opportunity in the difficult work of learning how to dance.  Remember when you were  twixt twelve and twenty and you went to that first dance?  Remember how insecure you felt about the dance.  As you and the object of your affection approached one another, then casually embraced one another, the awful thought struck you that you weren’t sure what to do next.  ”Who should lead?”  ”Who should follow?”  What if both wanted to lead . . . or follow?  Many people in all types of relationships make it no further in their communion than the approach.  Others ‘take the bull by the horns’ so to speak and take on a part of the dance that does not belong to them.  Sadly, all the observers see is two or more insecure people concerned more about how they look as participants than about the greater glory of the dance.  This, I fear, is a picture of our culture:  People who don’t know how to dance in their relationships.  The Bible offers us the best instructions for proper relationships but we’ll have to sacrifice to discover it.

This is a section of a soon to be published book, entitled, You Have Been Called: Revolutionary Discipleship Through the Covenant Family.   All rights reserved 2010.

June 22nd, 2012 Posted by | Christian Life, Church, Fellowship, Relationships, True Church LIfe | comments

NINE MILE: A MICROCOSM OF CHURCH

NINE MILE: A MICROSOM OF CHURCH

 

I am a part of a clan of Scottish decent known as Lewis. We are a proud lot, perhaps too proud sometimes.  However, even though I am nearing retirement, memories of my mother’s family flood my mind with a sense of well-being and gratitude for the good things that I inherited from being part Lewis.

 

Recently, I have been made aware that the Land upon which my mother’s parents forged a life for themselves and their children has been sold.  Many of my cousins are hurt and saddened by the loss of the land.  So am I.  Some feel the loss that their own children will never be able to run, work and play in the creek and hillsides, smell the fragrances of the spring flowers and freshly cut hay, even as we did as children.  Many emotions flood my own soul, even as I pen these words.  In my musings of days gone by, I have a lingering memory of one annual event that left a lasting impression upon me.  Furthermore, God has used that memory to give hope to me about something that has been lost in much of the church for 1700 years . . . Fellowship!

When considering the fellowship of the Church of Jesus Christ one must be careful to not be mistakenly looking for a utopian society; one which is devoid of problems. This is not the Church, at least not this side heaven. Rather, the Church is to be a society lived “in the world and yet not a part of it.” While I would be careful to press an unrealistic concept of Christianity too far, I can definitely relate with those who find a societal image that so captures their attention that everything else pales in comparison, and to which one’s life can be given, unashamedly, and uncompromisingly. Such is my quest for true fellowship in the Church.

As I look back over my life I am made aware that I was placed in varied atmospheres from time to time, which gave hints to the meaning of fellowship. One such realm was at the annual Christmas Eve celebration held by my mother’s family. Both my parents came from rather large families by today’s standards, and, due to the rural nature and economic conditions of the times my mother and her siblings formed a rather close bond with one another. Couple this with a basic Christian world view and the fact that all these siblings raised their families near one another and it is not difficult to see how a virtually spiritual relationship was forged within a biological unit. This was never more evident than when all these families came together for the annual Christmas Eve celebration.  This was a rather informal gathering in an old shanty-like house up the old Nine Mile Creek Road in the hills of West Virginia not far from a little town called Point Pleasant. My! What a time we had! The cousins played, making up games as we went. Some looked at pictures of far away places through the “view-finder”. Others shared war stories, or played Chinese checkers, while still others told the latest funny story. My grandparents little house was literally dancing with activity. The aroma of roasted turkey and country ham was married to the titillating smells of fresh baked pies and cakes. The women and older girls were in the kitchen and dinning room getting everything ready for one of the finest meals anyone ever had. Yes Sir! The old house was alive with all the sounds and smells that evoked a warmth and security that only enhanced the smell of wood and coal burning in the fireplace and the old pot-bellied stove.

Sometime during the evening Grandpa, who was a very educated but simple man, would pick up his tuning fork and a hymnbook and begin to sing a Christmas carol. We all joined in. Then the evening seemed to flow like an orchestra with the Conductor being that unseen Guest. No sooner had one song ended than another began. Interspersed between them, we children stood and said the “Christmas pieces” we had learned for our church programs, as well as poems by noted authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, and James Whitcomb Riley. Then, right on cue, the Divine Conductor seemed to stir Grandpa to pick up his Bible and give it to his oldest Son, Milton, who read Luke’s account of the birth of Christ. Maybe it was my age, or maybe it was because it was Christmas, I’m not sure. All I know is that when he read from the Bible on Christmas Eve the words seemed to dance within my head with life. Afterward, we gave the gifts we had gotten for the one in the family whose name we had drawn some weeks earlier. All too soon the evening was over, but I was left with precious, lingering, memories, and a longing to repeat that evening, or something akin to it, as soon as possible. Now, years later, and with over forty years in the ministry, when I think about what true fellowship in the Church should be, it is the memory of those Christmas Eves that floods my mind. You see, Christmas Eve with my mother’s family became for me a microcosm of the way things ought to be. It may even have been a hint from the Lord Himself as to the only effective way to live the Christian life and to do Church. Yes, this family Christmas gathering so many years ago became the seed of a search that was to fuel the fires of my ministry.

I join my cousins and our friends in the little community of Beech Hill, West Virginia in grieving the loss of something special, but from now and throughout all eternity each time I see their names, their faces, or hear their voices, I will smell the aroma of what God might call FELLOWSHIP.

March 28th, 2012 Posted by | Biographical, Church, Fellowship, True Church LIfe, Uncategorized | 8 comments

THERE WERE TWO TREES IN THE GARDEN

     Living the Christian Life is not hard…it’s impossible.   Now before the theology police try to have me burned at the stake,two-trees2.jpg let me explain why I would risk expressing such a thought.  This statement is a product of about 40 years of ministry and dealing with many people who have become frustrated with themselves and their inability to live up to the ideals of what some say constitutes the life of a good Christian.burned-at-stake.jpg  I mean really, if each of us believers in Jesus was to make a list of everything every preacher told us to do to be a good Christian, we would need an extra sheet of paper, maybe two (Timmmmmberrrrr!).  Here’s a partial list of some of those things I have heard and tried (unsuccessfully) to keep perfectly.  Read your Bible…Do it every day…and be sure and get up at 5:00 in the morning to begin.  You slouch!  You’re already behind John Wesley.  He got up at 4:00 a.m. and had preached Three times before noon.  Second, Pray!  Do it on your knees and at least 1-2 hours per day.  Third, Witness for Jesus...Remember, “…he that winneth souls is wise…”  Fourth, Obey the Holy Spirit.  Don’t dare miss a leading of the Lord or you can’t go to heaven.  Fifth, attend church faithfully…and don’t miss a service.  God doesn’t like it when people miss church.  Follow those few with Tithing, being filled with the Spirit, and finding your gift area and walking in it.  Whew!!!  I’m tired already.  Oh, wait a minute…I forgot Sanctification.  We’ve got to be sanctified.  “…Without holiness no one shall see the Lord.”  Let’s see how I’m doing so far.  Forget that!  How did I do today?  Let me get my list and check a few of these off.  Hope I didn’t miss one.
      Just writing that paragraph makes me nervous.  Actually most of the things I listed and so much more are helpful and some are even tree-of-knowledge.jpgnecessary for a successful walk with God but there is a problem.  The problem is the approach.  It is a “Do” oriented approach.  Now “Doing” is important in the Christian Life also, but it can never come before ‘being’.  The secret to living the Christian Life is hinted at in Genesis 2:9b.  “The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”  Look a little more closely at this verse.  Do you see it?  There it is?  Both good and evil are in the same tree.  What!  Yeah!  Good and evil are in the same tree.  There is the problem with trying to live the Christian Life.  Men have a tendancy to live in extremes.  Once we are saved we want to please the Lord with our actions, but we do it out of the abundance of our souls rather than our spirits, and we do as many good things as we can.  We make our lists of the good and right things we are supposed to do.  Our list is not too long when we first start, but as we listen to sermons and read our Bibles and go to seminars our lists get longer and longer until we become wrapped up in our list.  The end result of this is frustration.  Frustrated people either give up or, worse, just settle into a ‘religious’ life.
      A religious life usually consists of someone who has made a list just long enough that he can be relatively successful at keeping.  Her ability to keep the list makes her very proud and…if you please…a member of a very exclusive club…LEGALISTS.  There is also another side to religiosity, LICENTIOUSNESS.  These folks think that God’s grace has little to no responsibility attached to it.  As long as they feel comfortable for having prayed a prayer of repentance so they can go to heaven when they die, they are actually fairly satisfied with their life as is.  All of this comes out of the same tree.
      Therein lies the big problem.  As long as we keep trying to live the Christian Life out of our human souls we will fail.  The soul is where the Intellect, Emotions and Will reside.  God is Spirit…not soul.  Spirit is the highest life form.   The Christian Life is…God.  That is…whatever God does is the Christian Life.  Here are some questions we might ask ourselves. Does God read his Bible?  Does He tithe?  How about Church?  Does He go there on Sunday?  Surely He speaks in tongues, right?  Again, let me say these things are important (I hate burning at the stake).  But the key is to become a participant in Eternal Life.  Peter said in 2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has granted us all things that pertain to life, and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence…so that…you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
 
     I wonder if this conversation ever took place?  Did Jesus speak to the disciples just before the Ascension and say, “…Now boys, I lived the Christian life by partaking of my Father’s life.  I only did what I saw him doing and only spoke what I heard him saying.  We communed together every day.  We enjoyed one another’s Presence.  But you peons can’t do it that way.  You need to Read your Bibles and pray and tithe and…and…and do it all without complaining.  I connected with my Father, but you will have to live the Christian Life by a secondary method.”  That conversation never took place.
tree-of-life.jpgIf Adam had partaken of the Tree of Life, the very Life of God would have flowed through him.  His obedience would have been the result of his passionate relationship with his loving God.  God would have been “at work in him both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2.13). A Christian cannot obey his way into fellowship with God, but he can fellowship his way into obedience to God. Interestingly, when a person becomes a Christian he receives that Life, Eternal Life.  God begins to commune with him through his spirit.  He begins to produce in him the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5.22-23).  What is fruit anyway?  Fruit is the result of a tree that is drowning in life.  In Christ we have the privilege of choosing once again how we will live the sanctified Life.  We can choose one tree out of which still flows good and evil or we can choose the other one…The tree of Life.  There were two trees in the garden.  There still are.  One leads to fellowship, the other to religion.  Which will you choose?

May 5th, 2009 Posted by | Christian Life, Discipleship, Fellowship | 7 comments

IS JESUS A CHRISTIAN?

So…is Jesus a Christian? I have been a Christian for about fifty years; at least I think I have. Now before you diehard Calvinists start polishing up your scriptures on eternal security, don’t worry. I haven’t lost my salvation. And, oh yeah, you Armenians, please stop daydreaming about dragging me to the altar. I don’t think I’m backslidden. I just finished reading a novel called THE SHACK, and my thinking about God has had a little refreshing. I said, ‘refreshing’, didn’t I? Well, that is certainly true, but I must say, I did not come through the experience without having the wasteland of my soul scalded by a most unusual vision of God.

The events in this book were told to a man named Willie by his good friend, MACK. To say the events actually happened would lead this writing into a discussion of truth that I’m not sure either one of us is prepared to tackle. I only know that after having read it I am left with a soaring in my soul and my spirit keeps sending me veiled messages about ‘home’ and ‘fellowship’. A few years ago my wife and I began a journey to try to get to know Jesus all over again. This journey has involved some radical changes in our lives. The reading of THE SHACK has been a burning bush calling away. I am drawn away. I hope forever. I am drawn away from the status quo and the idea of God that may be the very thing which keeps us from truly knowing Him. Oh, don’t worry! My theology is still intact. The bathwater is being discarded but I’m still holding onto the baby. In fact, I think I’m more solid in my Biblical formation today than I’ve ever been. It’s just the skeleton of Christian religion that fogs up my life. The idea that sitting in a building and starring at the backs of people’s heads that I don’t know and calling it Church is becoming increasingly more difficult for me.

So…when I ask…Is Jesus a Christian? I really want to know, if the flesh and bones religion which has evolved in the last twenty centuries is what Jesus had in mind? When the veil was pulled from Peter’s eyes on a dusty road at the foot of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, and our Lord established His Church upon the revelation of the Big Fisherman, did Jesus then sit around and get all ‘moony-eyed’ over buildings, programs and live-streaming conferences? Well, who can say for sure? But I think I know one thing. When theologians proudly say that God only established two institutions: the home and the Church, I’m not so sure that God is all that pleased that we refer to these as institutions.

The essence of THE SHACK is the test of religion in the face of unspeakable pain. It attempts to answer the question of where God is when ‘the wind comes at you sideways’, or when your ‘cheese’ falls off the cracker’. It also compares religion to relationship and goes to great extremes to point out that God is all about relationships. In fact, we find in the Godhead the perfection of relationship: a mutual outpouring of love and a receiving of the same, a mutual respect and humility, and all of it well-founded on a Biblical foundation. Perhaps the central issue of the whole writing can be summed up in two statements. One, while MACK is in conversation with God about who God is and why he seems so far away at times, God says, I’m not like what you think’. Second, and perhaps most telling is when MACK lets his guard down a little and questions God as to whether he is a Christian or not. God responds most emphatically, ‘I’m not a Christian’! Reading those words I was reminded of the words of the Angel of the Lord, who appeared to Joshua the night before the siege of Jericho. Joshua was in prayer seeking the help of God, when suddenly this majestic soldier was standing in front of him. Joshua confronted him and said, “Are you for us or them”? The Angel of the Lord responded, “Nay, I am the Captain of the hosts of Jehovah.” Our Bible says the believers were first called Christians at Antioch. That’s great. But I’m not sure we should have been stuck with that name. Was Jesus a Christian? I doubt it. I can almost hear him say, “Nay, I just want to enjoy a walk with you in the cool of the day.”

July 31st, 2008 Posted by | Fellowship, The Shack | one comment

YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED TO FELLOWSHIP – I COR. 1.9

Like many pastors I am concerned about the condition of our nation, the Church and the future of our children. The moral decadence of our culture seems to reach new lows on an almost daily basis. I see the Church divided by a casualness and self-absorption that belies a society floundering without a secure belief system. When I surrendered to the call to preach the gospel, I realized that the call came with no guarantees of success (humanly speaking), and no assurances that the people to whom I preached would hear and respond with Godly obedience.

Much of my ministry and preaching has focused on “Knowing Christ and making him known”. Thus the title of this blog, “SUPREME AMBITION MINISTRIES”, received its name. I, along with numbers of other preachers, have sought to know Christ myself and lead others into the adventure as well. Sometimes, it seems I am like the proverbial ‘preacher preachin’ when the well is dry’. I preach and challenge but see little fruit. However, I had an experience recently that was so fulfilling I wanted to share it with you.

Our Church is very small. We have no children’s Church service so most all the people are subjected to my preaching week after week. For better or worse that’s the story. After the morning worship a couple of weeks ago, one of the ladies in the Church looked at her 11 year old daughter (soon to be 12) and said, ‘Tell Pastor Dave what happened’. She related the following account:

She said she was awakened from a deep sleep one morning and felt the Lord was saying to her, ‘First Corinthians 1:9’. She got up and got her Bible to see what the verse said. I asked her to tell me what it said, even though I already knew. She spoke in her soft, pre-adolescent voice, “You have been called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Some weeks or months before I had preached a series of messages from that verse not knowing, if it had truly lodged in the heart of anyone. My joy was so great. I thought I might have experienced something of the joy of Evan Roberts in Wales in 1907, when Florrie Evans, a teenager said, ‘I love Jesus Christ with all my heart’, and revival hit the nation.

…Oh yeah…One more thing. The young girl’s mother said, “Tell him the rest.” She then said, “It was the first anniversary of my baptism.” What a heart! What a hope! I am very concerned about our nation. We must pray. We must preach. We must repent. Will anyone hear? Will anyone obey? I think I have my answer. At any moment God can speak to a young tender heart and make his word specific to her. YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED…Florrie…Katie…YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED UNTO THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SON…AND SO HAVE YOU. That one experience is worth Forty years of preaching. REALLY!

July 30th, 2008 Posted by | Fellowship | one comment

AND IN HIM (CHRIST) ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER

Just last evening I viewed a video presentation  by Louie Giglio that nearly blew my socks off. If you are like me, you get more ‘special’ stuff others want you to see than you want to take time to view. Trust me this is worth seeing. A quick review of Louie’s message will explain what I mean. Louie apparently was preaching in Tyler, Texas. After the service a man spoke to Louie about Louie’s future itinerary. Louie said he was going to his home church and preach a series, The Glory of God in the Human Body. At this point the man got really excited and said, ‘That’s great. I’m a molecular biologist at the university down the road.’ At this point the gentleman asked Louie to share with him some of the message he was going to preach. Louie said he struggled through what little he had prepared. The guy then said, “What’s your left hook? You need a left hook?” Louie admitted he didn’t have one. Following is a synopsis of what the molecular biologist told Louie was the foundation of the Glory of God in the Human Body.

Laminin…yep…Laminin. I’d never heard of it either. Apparently, Laminin is one of the multiplied thousands of protein molecules found in the body. It is a unique molecule called a cell-adhesion molecule. Laminin has the assignment of holding everything together in the human body so it doesn’t fall apart. It seems that cells organize in the body into specific structures and that organization determines what protein they are and what they do. There are upwards of 60 thousand of these in the body. The structure of the cell tells the cell what its job is in the body. Laminin is the cell-adhesion molecule. I didn’t know what that was either. But the biologist told Louie that Laminin is like the rebar of the human body. You know what rebar is right? It’s the long iron rods that construction workers put in cement to give it more strength and actually helps it hold together. So Laminin is like rebar for human life. In fact, if you ‘Google’ Laminin, this is what you see.


It doesn’t take a molecular biologist to figure out that Laminin is in the shape of the cross. I have preached from Colossians 1:17 for over 30 years, ‘And he (Christ) is before all things and in him all things HOLD TOGETHER.’ I have even acknowledged the term ‘HOLD TOGETHER’ indicates that Christ is the glue of the universe. I have always believed it to be true because God’s word says it but now, hidden deep within the molecular structure of the human body there is a signature of the truth displayed.

Truly, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. What a blessed assurance and reassurance for our oft tormented souls to know that there is One who is able to hold us together no matter what circumstances in life or devils in hell try to impose upon our fragile existence. We are held together both spiritually, physically, emotionally and literally by the One ‘who called us unto the Fellowship of his dear Son’ (I Cor. 9). Fear not weakened and weary warrior. When the battles of life seem to march toward your little fortress, or when the ‘big bad wolf’ comes knocking at your door. He may huff and puff but your little house is held together by more than bricks and mortar and rebar. We are held together by the one who conquered the greatest and strongest of all enemies…DEATH. ‘O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory? I Cor. 15:55.


May 7th, 2008 Posted by | Centrality of Christ, Fellowship | one comment

HOW HE LOVES US!

 

haitian-mountains-saint-ard1.jpgJust wanted you to know that I returned from Haiti last Friday night safe and sound. Our journey was a wonderful one. It was so good to see dear friends, many of whom I had not seen for a couple of years. Our time of fellowship in song, testimony, prayer and from the Word was delightfully refreshing. Sitting on the third story of the Pastors’ retreat center at the Mission compound at night and seeing the glory of our solar system, is always an experience nearly beyond words. Truly, ‘ the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof’…porch-fellowship2.jpg

The words sung in the video clip above by Kim Walker became sort of a theme for me (and, I’m sure, others) as we trudged our way through one of the most spiritually dark places on earth. The cry of the song is “Oh, How He Loves Us”. As we moved from one place to another the Spirit of the Lord moved ahead of us. Each step we took and each loving word spoken was one more beam of light displacing the thick darkness. It seemed each time we coporately followed the pillar of cloud and fire of his will there were showers of His precious love flowing like a stream of living water.

As is His Way, our Lord was with us to lead, encourage, anoint and use us in ways beyond our fondest dreams. We had thedave-preaching-at-thomas1.jpg precious privilege of sharing the Gospel through the Christmas accounts in a dramatic way with one of us telling the account and most of the rest of our 24 pilgrims acting it out. We gave gifts to a few hundred children and many prayed to allow Christ to be the Lord of their lives. For most of the children the little package we gave them will be all they receive that whole year. The standard of living in Hait is so much below our poverty level that words cannot tell. Survival is the mode for so many. Six out of 10 Haitian children die before the age of 5 or 6, many because they cannot fight off a cold or the flu. To look into their eyes is to see the desire to hope but the inability to do so because they must be concerned about food for the day. As we prayed with a Haitian man a few years ago on top of a mountain…He cried out to the Lord for a day when he would be…“no more hungry”. However, in the midst of all the suffering are the sounds of children playing, churches holding services and singing with all their might, knowing that the Sovereign God has prepared a place for them and all of His children in a Kingdom which has no end.

 

porch-fellowship.jpgOne of the most significant issues in Christianity is the privilege of corporate fellowship. It is a marvelous thing to not only observe, but also of which to be a part. One’s personal relationship with Christ is to be intimate with Him, but the greater part of that intimacy is to carry it into the corporate meeting. It is there that it is shared with the brothers and sisters and becomes pregnant and delivers more of the knowledge of Christ than can be obtained in isolation. Our worship experiences on ‘the porch’ were just that. How marvelous to experience this yourself but then to see a brother or sister awakening to more of Christ is to enhance Christ within oneself. Together, we took a journey into a ‘room’ of his kingdom and while there we saw things together, which are difficult, if not impossible to express. However, in an ‘earthy’ sort of way an attempt is made through the song above:“He loves us” which says, “earth meets heaven like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns violently in my chest. I don’t have time to maintain these regrets, when I think about the way that He loves us…” Yes, it is rather earthy. Maybe too earthy. However, for people who are not well versed in theology and don’t have the vocabulary yet to express the high things of God in a more ‘acceptable manner’, I say, ‘Go for it’! It doesn’t take long to run out of words when trying to express the passion God has for us and the passion we are to have for Him. God doesn’t cringe nearly as fast as some of us, who can express ourselves in a ‘better’ way. Rather, I think he may even smile. Will He take us on and grant us the ability to tell the story in a more acceptabel manner? Will we eventually articulate our experience with Christ in a better way? Maybe. I do hope that when we get to the place where we can say it better that we don’t lose the passion and experience of it. It’s one thing to read about a love story. It is entirely different matter to live it. As I review in my heart of hearts the journey I experienced just days ago, I am left with a deeper passion for my Lord and a deeper desire to fellowship with those who KNOW HIM AND WANT TO MAKE HIM KNOWN.


December 13th, 2007 Posted by | Church, Fellowship, Relationships, True Church LIfe | 2 comments