May 15th, 2009 by iMonk
Filed under: Bible study, Christ, culture, faith | Tags: Alcoholics Anonymos, blessing, churches, congregants
There are all Kinds of people who come to Dayspring Bible Chapel where I preach and pastor. The guy above is quite typical. He might not be welcome at a lot of churches. It is true that I end up cleaning up a lot of butts, and I have been told that “good people’ will not stop at our church if they see this type out in the parking lot, I feel even apes with bad habits need to know the Word of the Lord. We are working on civilizing these guys, but smoking, as bad as it is, is better than what a lot of them have left behind. May God help us all to see our bad habits and leave them at the foot of the cross.
The above pictured type church attendee is my personal weak point. Dealing with bratty females has never been easy for me.
This type comes in all ages, and usually does not last in the Dayspring fellowship. The ones who say they are Christian are the hardest to deal with. Those are the ones who feel the Holy Spirit has done His Sanctifying work on their bodies and souls, and are eager to guide others in the process that will make the rest of the church h as perfect as they are themselves. Give me the apes, please, they know they are not much, and see the need for god in their lives. the Bratties always feel God’s work in their lives is complete, and love to praise Him for His wonderful creations, themselves.
We now have a couple of these guys, the Cool Bean Rockers! They are too young to have messed up too much, but old enough to mess up if they do not focus on God. They are talented , intelligent, and just the sort Satan would love to Enlist. Can’t have them ole Slew Foot, we got them first, and we are filling them with the Word so that they will never be of use to you. If we work with these guys now perhaps they will never devolve into Apes!
We have had a few of these pass through. I don’t get them. They seem to live in a different world, speak a different language and are genuinely alien to us. They like the music, or the sermons, or the fellowship, but usually only 1 or 2 out of 3. never the whole package. As they leave we hear.” Beam us up, no intelligent life here.” Whatever, as long as they leave. We think they are going to the mother-ship, but we know they don’t want fellowship with the Father and us.
While most people are accepted here, this is one group that is not. We have many races at Dayspring, and quite a few guys who are bald-headed, but what really counts is what is under the scalp. Our Jesus was a Mediterranean Jew, who would not be allowed in this group. You just can not worship God if you worship your race. Pick one.
This is just not allowed! The holy Spirit is to empower you to do Kingdom work, not to foam at the mouth, or roll around on the floor. I do not know what spirit makes men bark like dogs or laugh uncontrollably. What ever spirit it is that makes people act drunken is the spirit that most at Dayspring seek deliverance from. Sit up nice in church, or go lay on one of the couches, but we praise God that we no longer roll around on the floor, we sobered up.
These guys are rough to get in shape to join the flock. Quite often they have a sickness on Sunday morning that prevents church attendance. They call this sickness a “hang-over” but in reality it is residual poisoning. On Saturday night they have not a problem in the world, and are ready to plunder, fight, mate with women who look attractive through their beer goggles, and ‘ eat drink and be merry for tomorrow they might die’. We have found that alternative fellowship, true friendship, the type that continues when the wallet is empty, combined with the Wisdom of the Word, can affect even these denizens of the alcoholic depths. Real men stay sober in order to serve the Lord. “Take a seat, Think, and be Holy, for someday you shall surely die”.
A few of the guys at Dayspring have worn this fashionable attire. The matching bracelets have secured many of our writs. Quite a few of us have an allergy to alcohol, when we drink we break out…in handcuffs. I love working with people like this. They understand guilt. They know of a Judge. They can admit their sin. These are the people who worship a God who had new mercy every morning. Humility goes well with an orange jump suit.
Well it is time to prepare to meet the church on Sunday. Hopefully I will have smiling faces of repentant people before me, eager to hear the Word of the Lord, and eager to humbly serve the Kingdom. Or maybe this guy…
Whosoever will may come.
If this works, it will get posted on Dayspring.trials
Tomorrow is my favorite holiday. Thanksgiving has a great theme, wonderful history, and none of the stress and less of the emotional baggage that Christmas brings for me. No. 1 daughter will make a great meal, [I can put up with fruit in the stuffing, I guess], we will have guests, all will be well. All except me. I am dealing with a wave of depression. The best way to describe it is having the feeling of Satan standing on my chest. Seriously, if you have been blessed to avoid depression , I will share, it feels like waves, literal waves, and affects even the breathing. To me it is the virus of the spirit, a head cold of the heart.
So I turn where I have learned to turn for solace and strength, not my wonderful wife, I learned that is really not her job, although she helps, but to my God through His Word. I seek His joy.
A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.
I do not want to be the wet rag thrown on the party tomorrow. My fake smile is horrible. I would starve as an actor, or a poker player. You can read me like a billboard. The spirit that I need to have to serve the Lord and my family is wounded if sadness reigns. I am broken, and need mending.
And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
So what is wrong with me? Am I not a disciple? I am sorely lacking in the continually part. There are times I am joyful, and I praise God for the times the Holy Spirit fills me to the brim, but it is not continual. I wonder just how long those early followers were continually filled. Didn’t they have a bad day? A bad week? I admit, I have a weak week once in a while. So I turn to the Psalms.
Make me to hear joy and gladness,Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
Make me hear it! My flesh does not want to be filled with joy, it seems to like this cozy cave of gloom and self pity, so God, please, make me hear Joy and gladness!
I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
How can i not be joyous? My children are not perfect but they are a blessing. My #1 daughter is an RN, and a great one! I have been told she lights up a floor with her presence! She is good hearted, though rough talking, lives with us, she and her husband paying utility bills i could not afford since my lay off. And her husband is a good hearted man, who plays too much playstation, but has been as a son to me. #2 daughter last night was sharing about the Lord with a recovering addict who is living with us. She is a musician, whose songs have moved many people, She dropped out of colege to pursue her dream of writting and performing music. She leads our praise band and loves God. Children like this and I am depressed? Forgive me lord.
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The thanksgiving meal is not to bring joy, but to celebrate it!
Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.
I forget that I, little old me, gets to serve Yahweh God!!!
Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say,”All my springs of joy are in you.”
While I can not toot a flute, i strum a guitar. I look forward to an eternity of singing praises to God! I like life, but death offers so much to me, a promise that I look forward to with joy.
My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD;My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
I take refuge in my God, it is more an act of His strength than of my weakness, for His strength far surpasses my weakness.
For His anger is but for a moment,His favor is for a lifetime;Weeping may last for the night,But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
I know the morning is coming. The night may be long and dark, but the morning always comes.
Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
That is how I want to spend Thanksgiving, giving to those who have not, having a holy day unto Him. I should not be grieved for the strength of the Lord does bring me joy.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvationAnd sustain me with a willing spirit
The joy when He first touched me! When i first realized, by the Holy Spirit, that He was my Father, I was a sinner, and that He forgave me through the blood of Jesus! Indescribable joy! Yes restore that joy to me Lord! Sustain me.
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
That’s what I live for, to hear those words from the mouth of God. If I can be faithful with His strength, not fail on my own, what a joyous reward awaits!
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
So for now a trial, a dark moment. morning will come showing me molded more in the image of my Savior, brought a tad closer to His perfection, yet still miles away from it.
” Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.
So now I pray, Lord God, in the name of Jesus I ask you to lift my heart from the pool of darkness. Restore to me the joy of my salvation, let me sing Your praise, serve You, share You, and be faithful to you. Lift the foot of my enemy from my chest and let me embrace my trials, as if i am in Your will, that is joy enough. Let me be joyously thankful in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Whew! That is definitely better. Thank you God. I hope this helps some of you too.
Filed under: Bible study, Church wrongs, Uncategorized, What would you do? | Tags: bible, churches, Pastors, Sunday School
The stories of the Bible are a gift from God to mankind. The inspired prophets penned tales that illustrate the condition of man, his relationship to God, and God’s great Love for us all. It is annoying and horribly upsetting when well meaning people take these wonderful tales and present them in a way that renders belief in them almost impossible, and actually misrepresents what I would consider the main points and message. The story that most offends me today is the story of Will, pardon me, Jonah. I relate to this story as it seems to be the story of my life. To have it reduced to the story of Pinocchio is really upsetting.
The case in point that chafes my chaps today is the tale of Jonah. I love this story! I relate to this story! I think every word in this story is true. I do not believe that the picture above is indicative in any way of what occurred. The flannelgram pictures I was shown as a child that threw me into rebellion [ ok, I was already in rebellion, but this stuff helped], are still out there. The testimony of Christ himself should confirm my point.
I was in a study group one time and the leader told me, “It is OK if you do not have the faith to believe that Jonah lived in the whale three days.” I do not think it is ok to believe that Jonah lived in the whale, as I do not believe that to be an example of faith, I believe it to be an example of poor hermeneutics. Look at what happened in the tale as Jonah was pitched overboard.
Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights
Fish. Not whale. The Willohroots concordance defines the word used there, Keetos, as ‘giant swimming thing you would be scared of if it swam by you.
Here is a picture of Keetos from the willohroots concordance.
It looks very capable of swallowing Jonah, or anybody it wants to, or is ordered to by God.
So this is probably a better representation,
Than is this,
The verbiage involved in the story seems to agree with me. The King James’ says:
When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
Now I am not really sure about what that means, but I doubt I will be doing very much blogging after my soul faints. The ESV makes it a bit clearer:
When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the LORD,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
Seems like Jonah died. I am not making a point to be argumentative, I feel this is very important. When we teach the New Testament , the Old Testament stories are often critical to a complete understanding. When Jesus, Yeshua, the Son of God and Messiah said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one[i] greater than Solomon is here. 32The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.”
So when we teach the sign of Jonah, does this make sense?
Or should we be teaching this?
How could the Savior have said to people,” I will live inside a fish, or more believable[ or no more believable than that] a giant whale, for three days, this is the sign I give to you.” Is that what He said? Or did He say, ” As Jonah was dead for three days in a fish, so I will be dead three days in the tomb. That is the sign. ” What do you think was the lesson our Lord brought there? Is there any way to use Jonah living in a whale to illustrate Jesus?
The bible , my Savior, my God, taught that,
was a foreshadowing of
So tell me, am I being one of those weird preachers that goes through the nursery and gets rid of the stuff that reminds me of Pinocchio and fails to teach a Gospel message? I fear that putting falsehoods into the minds of children, even small ones give the Devil a foothold. I am not saying i am right all the time, or smarter than the average bear, I am saying I care and will do all I can to rightly interpret the word from the nursery onward.
What say you?
The Sign of Jonah
29As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here. 32The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.
May God richly bless the reading of His Word, and may the Holy Spirit who inspired it lead us to a useful and correct understanding of it.
Filed under: apostacy, Bible study, Christ, faith, Jesus | Tags: cults, denominationalism, factions, God, Pastors, revelation
It is human nature to explore, to search and to delve into depth and hight never visited before. This personality trait of mankind has motivated us to cover the globe with civilization, exploiting as many of the God given resources as we can find and put to use. Were we not made this way there would be no advancement, no exploration, no progress.In academic and philosophic circles there is a great desire to plow the virgin field, and to stake claim to new grounds as the inventor or discoverer or progenitor of a new theory or school of thought.
It may be this portion of our nature that cause so many people to search for a “deeper” or “hidden meaning” in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am personally convinced that the Holy Bible holds all the information needed to know and please God, though the Good News of Jesus, the Risen Messiah. The Bible has proven itself to me to be authoritative, complete, and truly Holy. There are many translations available to compare and contrast what is said to come to a personal understanding of the meaning presented. It is enjoyable and educational when people bring different translations to a small group study. comments like, “My Bible says,” or “It is said a little differently here” bring open discussion allow varying perspectives to be examined, giving participants the opportunity to voice the sentence in their own words, so as to bring the meaning home.
Finding “hidden” meaning in Scripture is quite another matter. There is a thriving industry, and has been as long as there has been scripture, in having some “enlightened soul” teach the secret meanings, and “unlock” they mysteries of Holy Writ. The new rash of Cabalists tell people that they are skilled at finding the meaning in the white spaces on the page, not in the inked portion. This obvious nonsense satisfies Madonna. Books and websites and cults that brag on finding treasures hidden for centuries in the most read of all books abound. There have been claims for everything from higher levels of awareness, to the location of Atlantis, all placed in the bible, usually KJ 1611, or the original Hebrew, or even in a painting of The Last Supper.
Re-reading some Gnostic literature has fanned the flames of my irritation. I take the words of Paul seriously, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” , and I honestly do not believe that one can be a steward of the mysteries of god, without being a servant of Christ. The conjunctive is binding. Those who claim to have “mysteries” but are not serving Jesus, are quite possibly serving someone else all together. Those who use the very words of the Savior to weave a web of confusion deserve a special place on my list of irritants. Let me share this portion of poison.
Jesus’ Five Stage Model of Consciousness And How His Theory of Nature Provides the Key To Stage IV
Jesus’ parable of the sower (Mark 4:13-20) conveys how his teachings are received according to the stage of consciousness of the receiver. What the sower is sowing is the Word, meaning the logos/mind of God. As soon as those on the edge of the path (those in Stage I) hear about the word/logos, they let Satan [the personification of evil] come and carry it away. Similarly, those who receive the seed on patches of rock [those in Stage II] hear the Word [Jesus’ logos/logic teachings] and at first, welcome it with joy. But because they have no root in them, they do not last;.. When the first test or persecution on account of the word comes, they fall away at once. “For they have no moral conscience to persist. Then there are others, [those in Stage III], who receive the seed in thorns, [meaning in a judgmental environment]. They have heard the word, but the worries of this world, the lure of riches, and all other passions come in to choke the word, and so it produces nothing. And then, there are those who have received the seed in rich soil [those in Stage IV]. They hear the word and accept it and yield a harvest, 30 and 60 and a 100 fold.” [Mark 4:13-20]
The key concept, upon which Jesus anchored his knowledge teachings, is that each of us is meant to grow through five forms/states of consciousness and each form is initiated by a consciousness-raising idea.
This discussion of “levels of knowledge or awareness” is quite common among those who seek to find the secret in the open. Perhaps a better “unwrapping” of this parable was given by the author,” 10. And as soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, [began] asking Him [about] the parables. 11. And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12. in order that while seeing, they may see and not perceive; and while hearing, they may hear and not understand lest they return and be forgiven.” 13. And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? And how will you understand all the parables? 14. “The sower sows the word. 15. “And these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16. “And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky [places], who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 17. and they have no [firm] root in themselves, but are [only] temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18. “And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19. and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20. “And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it, and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
Nothing of levels, but of different reactions differing people have to the gospel, a reaction we have all seen take place. The 8th chapter of Romans is also given a treatment of being divided into levels. It seems anything is used to promote the idea that some people know some facts that others have missed.
Could it be the truth is plainly laid out for us? Hebrews 1
1. God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2. in these last days has spoken to us in [His] Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;
. Joh 1:14
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Deuteronomy 30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, IT IS NOT HIDDEN FROM THEE, neither is it far off.
Col. 2: 2. That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3. In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. 6. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him: 7. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
Before delving in to supposed mysteries and hidden revelation, we should encourage seekers to contemplate the ultimate Mystery. 1Jo 4:19
We love Him, because He first loved us.
Filed under: Bible study, Christ, Crazed Thought, faith, Fire Fighters, History, roots of Willohroots, Jesus, Uncategorized, What would you do? | Tags: Chief, Fire Service, training
It has pleased God to provide much of my training needed to pastor Dayspring Bible Chapel in fire-halls and in fire service. My leadership skills with volunteers [ still needing much improvement] , my teaching style, my counseling and discipline abilities were all honed in Fire Service at Mt. Zion Bicentennial Fire Dept. To me this makes biblical sense. Moses was trained as a shepherd, Nehemiah in a king’s court, Luke in study to be a physician and many more examples. God is a master of cross training.
Moving from Fire Service to His Service I have noticed a lot of comparison points where churches fall far behind firefighters. One area not lacking is technology. Churches use PowerPoint and email and websites, burning DVD’s of services and using audio visual aids with cutting edge science. This is an area in which I admit Dayspring is far behind. Other areas in the visible church could learn much from your local fire department, and my suggestion is we emulate or at least learn from America’s Bravest:
- Mutual Aid, one company calling and receiving assistance from others
- Member Retention, recruiting is fine, but keep what you have
- Leadership Hierarchy, know who is in charge of what
- Buddy System, a pair beats high card every time
- Personnel Accountability , know who is where and their condition
- Member Utilization, everybody works for the common good
- Pre-Planning, prepare for the worst, think ahead
- Bonding in powerful life relationships
- Community Service, cat in tree, pool fill, non fire service calls
- Effective Mobilization, calling out the troops in time of need
- Fellowship in leisure activities, work hard, play hard
- Emergency Reaction, no committee decisions on an alarm
- Training, the only usable personnel are trained personnel
Take a look at the picture above. A college age woman is using a Dry-chem portable extinguisher on an imaginary fire. She has been able to hold the extinguisher, feel it’s weight, hear the sound it makes when it discharges, see its range and operate it in a safe environment. She has no doubt been taught the mnemonic,P.A.S.S. Pull Pin, Aim , Squeeze, and Sweep. Imagine how her success at reducing property loss and mitigating a hazardous situation has been improved by this training. Experience has taught that well meaning people without training have failed miserably in using hand held extinguishers. More than one person has dropped a CO2 extinguisher in panic at hearing the loud roar it made when used. Many frightened people have not pulled the safety pin, and strong men have broken many handles squeezing with all their might against the safety pin. The extinguishing agent does no good against fire if not directed at the base of the flame from the proper distance.
For the cost of a refill, $38.00, this woman has been made into a firefighter who could save millions of dollars. No doubt she sees now what area the tool covers, and now understands how big a fire may be combated with this device, and has been taught when the battle is worth fighting and when to bail out. An extinguisher in the hands of a trained person is a firefighting tool. An extinguisher without training is a red can on the wall that pleases insurance companies and is usable only as a door stop.
At church and in His service we fight the very flames of Hell. How much training do we provide? Pastors have seminaries [I have deep rebellion issues on this one that I will get to later] , Lay leaders have conferences, but does the guy or gal in the pew get training? Training applicable to real world scenarios? It just does not seem so. Here is a great read by Willohroots commenter Michael Bell, found on the Imonk site where we met.
“As noted earlier, before the age of 24, most of those who will leave have already left, whether they be Catholic or Protestant.”
Mike points out What is happening, here is my take on Why: They are untrained. Putting a firefighter in a position of danger without proper training and equipment is a recipe for disaster. Best case scenario, he will quit the service feeling he is a coward and a failure, or worst case, he will die. The church is too often presented as an island of comfort, a refuge from a world of sin, a safe society where sin is presented as “their” problem and we claim to have overcome. When a young adult is loosed into a world of all nature of sin the flames are too much and the options are either to beat a hasty retreat or be consumed. There are some time honored training methods available to us, and we need to teach and preach them if we are to succeed. Here are some areas that we need to address:
- Witnessing, not tracts, not acting plastic, but sharing Jesus in a real and meaningful way.
- Confronting sin face to face, retreat is not the only tactic.
- Preparation for condemnation from the world , it is going to come, be ready, your professors [most] think we are crazy.
- Real world issues are not black and white: divorce, sex, drugs,etc, must be understood – not simply condemned.
- History of the Bible and the Church, in truth, warts and all, knowledge is power and many of our youth are powerless.
- Evils of the Church, we are His bride, but we have messed up a lot, from crusades to defense of slavery, the truth is good to know.
- Denominational Distinctives, we do things differently, get used to it. Sure ,’we are right and they are wrong’, but God forgives [whoever we are].
- Sin. Sin is fun in the short term. Admit it and do not fear, we face nothing alone, He is there.
- Forgiving, forgiving , forgiving
The church has a choice, to be a a life raft floating on the sea of society, tossed by the waves and adrift, or a surf rescue society, trained people with a mission deliberately putting ourselves in harms way , with purpose and mission , to head out into danger for the purpose of rescuing the lost and drowning. We can be strictly a social hall, offering a nice place to have fellowship, or with training and the weapons provided by God, rolling out with a higher purpose, saving the lost from the flames that never die while keeping each other as safe as possible in a hostile environment.
We were saved to serve, not sit. Our service cannot be done without preparation. Next post, Training. What say you? Are you trained? Have you been to some good classes? Share, we all need to keep sharp.
Filed under: Bible study
Here is a shot of a Church building in my area during the 06 weird weather mini flood. /source flickr.com/photos/lisamulvey/340821980/
The sign on the church says,”The Bible’s treasures are for those who dig for them.” It doesn’t mention swim to them. This photo really shows how many of our churches are viewed by outsiders. Even if you thought there was something of value to be had within, are you going to wade through the muck to get there? Churches can be seen as little islands with a crew of castaways cut off from the mainland of society. If you had the guts, or foolishness to wade to the door, would you find it barricaded with plywood, do you need to pry your way into church?
That water is the wonderful Susquehanna river swelling out of it’s banks. This seems to happen once in a while; our church floods to the point of boat tours of the basement and parking lot on occasion. Flood waters recede, mud cleans up, but this image sticks in my mind. Thirty years ago I was a believer, but unchurched. I had to wade through a lot to get into some churches. The natives know the drill. When to stand, where to sit, who is friendly, and they know the words to the music and when to laugh at the preacher’s attempts at humor. Breaking into the cast away tribe is not easy. It must be done on their terms, their schedules. Not everybody has the ability to get to the island unassisted.
Every member must be a landing craft. We can’t just invite people to come to church, the river is daunting. We must pick them up, or meet them on their dry land, and escort them inside, introducing them to the ways of our particular tribe. Next time you ask someone, “Why don’t you come to our church?’ have this picture in mind. It is in theirs. Take them for a ride in your boat first for a while, them pull up on the shore gently. Take them to church before services, like on a Saturday. Let them get used to the lay of the land of the island before all the scary natives show up. Even friendly natives are frightening when there are more of them then there are of you.