Sunday, January 18, 2009

Used to Be

Our final blog for 2008 touched on the need for the body of Christ to wake up and get busy doing the work of the Lord.

But wait... have we been asleep?

Sometimes, we are like sleepwalkers; we go through the motions but are really sound asleep and not paying attention to the details. I remember getting pulled over by a police officer totally unaware that I had done anything wrong. I was just going through the motions and not paying attention -- as if on autopilot. Fortunately, my spotless record got me a warning and not anything more serious. But I have also had the Holy Spirit pull me over when my service to Him was on autopilot and not from my heart. Fortunately, the blood of Jesus wiped my record spotless.

Sweet!

So, how can we tell if we have been asleep? Consider someone who may spend hours in the mirror getting ready for church... and then drive past people who don’t know the Lord without even bothering to at least pray for them (if not sharing the Lord with them or maybe inviting them to come to church). Have we forgotten why we even go to church... what great mission our Lord has given us?

18 Jesus approached and, breaking the silence, said to them, All authority (all power of rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age. Amen (so let it be).

Matthew 28:18-20 (Amplified Bible)

We have been called to make disciples. Unfortunately, we have been, as Keith Green wrote, asleep in the light. We need to, as General Jerry Boykin said, get off our duffs and get on our knees. After all, we periodically get our cars serviced... but how often do we remember to stop by the spiritual service station to check our motors? Are we running the race with flat tires? Is our tank running out of oil? Even more frightening... are our lamps running low on oil? Hey... the bridegroom is coming!

I was reading the editorial in a Christian magazine the other day. The author was enumerating a number of sins and failures that have been reported in diverse churches. In each instance, some financial or other calamity befell the leader who had given in to some sin or error. Some I had heard of previously. Others were new. The thesis was that judgment had fallen upon those churches/ministries because of lax behavior. At first, I started thinking about those ministries that I had personal knowledge of that had suffered some setback because of failures on the part of the leadership. I begin to wonder how someone who starts out on fire for God can go so totally and completely shipwrecked? A couple things come to mind:

We often get caught up in the “business” of ministry while forgetting the basics. Consider that, during church services or religious meetings, some leaders are backstage planning rather than participating in the praise and worship part of the service. I have frequently scratched my head at ministers who come out after the congregation had experienced an hour or more of worship wanting to start some worship. Not to continue the worship, but to start as if from scratch.

Of course, I can’t point my finger at them without three fingers pointing back at myself. Do those fingers represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? I certainly can find things to repent from myself... such as getting lazy when it comes to spending time before God to produce material for this ministry. For relying on others to do the job that I was called to do. After a trip to the spiritual woodshed... I am back on track. J.

Key in our thinking during our final 2008 blog post was the fact that the signs of the times are pointing to the Lord’s return.

  • Turmoil in the Middle East
  • The world economy collapsing
  • Terrorists proclaiming jihad against Christianity

These signs could mean the imminent return of Christ. We hope so. But even if the Lord chooses to tarry, there is no excuse to slumber and snooze when there are souls waiting to be saved. Let’s clean the cobwebs out of our prayer closets and spend some time interceding for the leaders of this world and for the souls of the lost. Let us not accept the status quo...

11 Has a nation [ever] changed its gods, even though they are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory [God] for that which does not profit. 12 Be astonished and appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked and shrivel up with horror, says the Lord [at the behavior of the people]. 13 For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters, and they have hewn for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns which cannot hold water.

Jeremiah 2:11-13 (Amplified Bible)

We wrote Used to Be in our Psalms from the Pen of the Ready Writer series as we contemplated the good fight of faith. This lyric reminds us that the foundational truths are still foundational and they are still the truth.

Used to be that righteousness sustained us
in God we trust...
America...

Seems to me that somebody deceived us
We’ve turned away...
No longer pray...

Used to be -- in the old days
You and me -- walked in God’s ways
Used to be -- hell was hot
Used to be -- is it not?

Telling me that times have changed
Can’t you see, God’s still the same
Seems to me -- judgment’s near
Used to be -- we would fear

Used to be that sin was run away from
We shunned all vice...
We were so nice...

Nowadays perversion is the forum
You call them lewd...
You might get sued...

Used to be -- in the old days
You and me -- walked in God’s ways
Used to be -- hell was hot
Used to be -- is it not?

Telling me that times have changed
Can’t you see, God’s still the same
Seems to me -- judgment’s near
Used to be -- we would fear

Used to be that church was where we worshipped
With outstretched hands
We took the land

Now we have confusion and politics
The Spirit grieved...
Men so deceived...

Used to be -- in the old days
You and me -- walked in God’s ways
Used to be -- hell was hot
Used to be -- is it not?

Telling me that times have changed
Can’t you see, God’s still the same
Seems to me -- judgment’s near
Used to be -- we would fear

The world has changed,
so... shouldn’t we?
Or should we stay with
“Used to be”

During New Years eve, I took part in a three-hour service for 1,700 screaming teens and tweens. While the presentation format was contemporary, the message was the same as it was 2,000 years ago. We need Jesus. Praise the Lord that 600 of the youths made either first-time commitments or recommitments to the Lord. Now... let’s go after the other 1,100!

In 2009, we NEED Jesus. Don’t go another moment into this year without Him.

1 comment:

raphnix said...

It's a wonderful idea indeed. I might try it sometime in my blogs too.