Friday, January 3, 2014

No Nonsense Approach

1Corinthians 2:1-5 - And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Hallelujah. I get goosebumps reading that. We all are not called to be eloquent speakers...or even writers. We are called in accordance to what God has equipped us with. And the major point is...what He has equipped us with. He knows who each of us is. He created us. He has equipped us and when we come into relationship with His Son and if we are willing, He will develop those skills.

Because of some bad winter weather a friend and I had to cancel our lunch date yesterday. Of course the sun decided to come out shortly after the decision...and the snow stopped...but we had a delightful chat on the phone. I'm looking forward to more.

Not surprisingly we talked about church. She and her husband are somewhat new at the church I now attend. I think it's been three years for them and almost one for me. We have both come from the same Pentecostal denomination. She and I discussed how we never really felt misled by our other churches. What we believe is that there was a gradual change taking place in them. Little foxes creeping in. They can creep into a person's life but they are creeping into churches also to ruin the vineyards (Song of Solomon 2:13). We just happened to notice it...her husband enough to make mention of it and eventually was asked to leave because of the disagreement. He now leads adult Sunday school based on only the Word of God. I see very little "disagreeableness" in him! He stands on the truth.

I'm certain, no matter what happened, that the Lord had a hand in our, as well as others, leaving our churches. I had been in a place in my old church where I heard little things that caused me to wonder...and then some more obvious things occurred in the church that just didn't seem right to me although at the time I went along with. How much more would happen that didn't seem right? But for me I didn't have to make the decision to leave. God made it for me.

We talked again about how real our pastor is. He didn't set out to become a pastor. He ran his own construction company. He converted from Catholicism. He describes quite well how God transformed his life and eventually placed on him a desire and call to become a pastor.

We love his no nonsense preaching and his realness. There are no airs. He is one of us, yet I am amazed at how deep the understanding and logic is that God has given him. And he is approachable, as my friend said. I look at all the disciples and apostles of Christ's time. They were just ordinary men too. They learned from their Master. Paul even admitted he was no orator or wise man (above) but that God gave him all he needed. We are called to learn what God says. We are to sit at His feet and take in His truths. It is our pastor's desire is that he would train us up that we might be disciples and lead others to Christ. That's what a pastor should be doing, teaching to make disciples.

There were no airs in Jesus. Jesus was approachable too, I think. In fact, people were drawn to Him. Little by little people are being drawn to our little no-nonsense church which doesn't compromise the truth of God's Word. Surprisingly, it's a young church, with lots of children. These young people want only to hear the truth. What I see is one very large family, each parent caring for the others...sharing in the training.

Later that day I read this devotion by Pastor Terry. It's not about who we are, what station in life we are in, our race, status, denomination. It's about giving up what we hold so dear in the world and
grasp an understanding of something and Someone greater and much more interesting and satisfying than our worldly "whatevers" (idols). Jesus wants none to perish. He does not see a difference between wealthy and poor, black or white...we are all sinners, and He does see our sin. Sin is sin...there is no small sin and great sin. It's all the same, much to many's surprise.

Our God can make a change in the most hardened person. He can bring anyone to a level where He can make that change. All we need is the willingness to allow Him. Life will never be the same when you allow Christ's transformation to happen.

“Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:” Ge. 35:2
Man can change his clothes, man can somewhat change his image; but only God can change someone from the inside. Religion is just a change of clothes, a relationship with Christ changes the heart.

Religion or relationship? I may have switched churches with the difference being what the churches have decided in this day and age is necessary to bring into the church to entice or excite people. The message, for the most part, is still the same: relationship over religion. God over gods. Truth over lies. Everlasting life over everlasting death.

It's not about the quality of the words being preached, a polished effect, but the quality of the message. God's more interested in what the message is, plain and simple. So if anyone thinks that coming to Christ means being smart or making yourself a better person first, it's not true. Come as you are and let Him do the work. Let Him fill you with the Holy Spirit of truth and wisdom. He makes all things beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

1Corinthians 2:12-13 - Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

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