Monday, May 16, 2016

Instinct versus Worship

Human beings have certain instincts. At birth we seek our mother’s milk. It was wired into us by our Creator. We seek to breathe, and to crawl, and reach for things. But even though we have instincts, we don’t live by them. At least we are not supposed to. Instincts are wired into people and animals to survive. To run when in danger. To sleep when tired. But humans are able to ignore their survival wiring and even risk their own survival just to test out ideas and dreams. Remember Orville and Wilbur Wright? They risked their lives trying to get that first plane in the air. Humans don’t just live in an environment – we love changing our environment – and we yearn to go beyond our environment. Like to the Moon and back! And none of that is instinct. It is what it means to be human. God made us that way – desiring to create, and do great things – greater than has been done before. But humanity, like animals have limits. We can only do so many things before our time is up on this earth. We can only handle so much stress, and try only so many times to reach beyond our environment before we have to quit and call it a day. But Christians go even beyond our human limitations. We seek to go beyond what WE may want to do. We actually enjoy doing our Creator’s will, not ours. Our life is not found in finding a life that we love or enjoy. No. It is found in losing our life for the honour and glory of the One who gave up HIS life for us! Our purpose as Christians - as Christ followers - is more than instinct. It’s more than just eating, and sleeping and reproducing - it is worshipping the God who made all of heaven and earth! Instinct only enables us to survive; desires and dreams can only help us to enjoy the struggle along the way. But true worship enables us to actually live beyond ourselves, and our struggles! True worship lives life, not like animals, and not like all other humans, but just like the Son of God did. “We … worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:3).

Friday, May 13, 2016

Preaching to Preachers

I love Bible preachers!
They have influenced my life the most out of all people! But they are THE hardest type of person to preach to!
Why? Because they usually have already heard what I am about to preach; because they usually are very tired when they are sitting still; and because they can actually be the most carnal of Christians in any crowd!
Yep. There. I said it. Believe me… I know from experience – my own experience!
When I sit in a crowd and hear a preacher preach, I find myself critical of his “style” and his use of unmoving reasoning. I spend a lot of time trying to find a “better” direction that I would take if “I” were preaching his truth.
And all the while, the Holy Spirit waits for me to just stop and just listen. What God expects of me is to repent of anything that the preacher might point-out that is wrong in my life – period! He does not need me to “improve” on the message being preached, or find fault with the achievements of the man preaching. God expects me to listen and get right what is wrong in my life.
This problem has been real in my life, both as I hear preaching, and when I preach. I cannot speak for the hearers of my preaching, but I can speak for myself…
Oh that I would quickly agree with what is true that is being spoken, no matter how un-entertaining, or unpleasant it may be presented! Oh that I would repent and humble myself at the gentle stirring of the Holy Spirit of God instead of waiting for the crescendo of some performance that we expect of preachers today! It is absolutely amazing just how easy it is for the devil to harden “my” ears and heart to God’s word. I should NOT care who is preaching, nor how it is being preached nearly as much as WHAT is being preached. God promised that it will always be the foolishness of preaching that does the work – not the logic, nor the enjoyment – just the preaching of an unpopluar message (1Corinthians 1:21)!
Next time someone is preaching from the word of God, I need to remember (and so do you), that God is speaking… even from stammering lips and poor delivery! “For with stammering lips and another tongue (not your own) will he speak to this people. (Isaiah 28:11).
How I, and every preacher will respond, is the real challenge!