Today I will celebrate the morning with friends and family in our local church fellowship. And after that, the afternoon will be spent with family. Our monthly “family” gathering. Usually we have a pretty good turn out but with baseball season and babies it is a little harder.
While reading different posts and such the last few days I noticed two points that seem to appear a lot.
“People are mad at God!” and the “It’s us against them” mentality. I struggle with that on a lot of levels. Because I love God and I know He loves me and I know He loves them.
So much of it is predicated on the eschatology of dispensationalism that is believed. If you believe in the “we are out of here today” mentality, urgency begins to creep into it all. In 1997 I wrote that for many “the choices they made are forever decided in their death today. They are no longer waiting for the return of Jesus.” In one of my dreams last night I was laying hands on the dead and they were coming alive. But as I thought “wow, this is working well” I began to think of how many are dead today. How many obituaries used today? (We need MORE people!)
So many are mad at God because they have been fed the line that He is responsible for everything, for it all, that He is sovereign, even over your choices. I do not believe that. He told us to pray “that it would be like heaven here on earth”. But just as many believe their parents for everything problematic well in to their adulthood, so do many, based on the “pablum” theology fed them, believe it is all God’s fault. (I know God has “big” shoulders and I know I do not have to defend Him!) When one believes they have no responsibility in something it is easy to choose a target for their pain, hurt and anger. A lot of that belief comes from teaching something that is not true. Too often choices, even the way of a fallen life (We are called to overturn.) lead to devastating situations that cause pain.
The church is called to bring forth a message of hope, of faith and of kingdom. When we do our job well, much of that mentality and belief disappear.
The second is a little more rocky, because many church fellowships share and practice an “us against them” theology or belief system. So much of what they live is out of the system of “old covenant” and the law, that the alienation begins just with the words that are spoken. (I used to be frustrated with the bumper stickers that said, “I am okay with Jesus. It is His followers that make me nervous.” I understand a little more…) So much has pitted one against one another, it is little reason that “people are mad at God” because they see the church as God!
The message of grace and the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ is what we are called to preach. It is what we are called to share and walk in. When that is preached people’s lives change. They stop being angry and start being productive. The divisions I described began to disappear.
Yesterday, a circumstance occurred. I felt many months ago, I was to do something about it. Many months ago I felt the “pinging” on my radar. I bypassed it, caught up in my own world. Their death this past week, shook me. I had questions, they had answers and I allowed my world to go on. The news should have been a small ping, but what I uncovered was too big. Instantly I succumbed to pain and guilt.
Why bring this up? (Because I saw others…) In my old teaching style I would have said “don’t feel guilty. Guilt was paid for. Get over it.” But I knew that I had missed out on a moment. There is no other moment left that will reveal to me “what I needed to know”. I felt guilty. I thought about 1 John 3:19-21 …We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;…
I may never know what I wanted to know. Needed to know. I am better today. It was not about salvation but about fear or busyness. (Much busyness is an excuse for fearing another choice…) It was about
We need to see the gospel through His eyes. All are valuable. Even the ones we struggle with. I am tired of the church jumping up at the fall of someone we consider a non-Christian or a threat. Jesus paid for them equally as He did for you.
I could see John the beloved, being carried in on a stretcher to his church gathering. Church history tells us that John would be carried around on a stretcher by members of the church. It got to the point that the only words John would ever say is, “Little children, love one another” over and over and over.
The only words from a man who had been named by Jesus as one of the “Sons of Thunder” for his fiery temper and impulsive turns. (I was a “son of thunder”. I get it.) This from the man who suggested Jesus call down fire from heaven and burn up a town when they wouldn’t welcome Him. This from the disciple whose mother tried to manipulate and get her way to getting seats of honor for John and his brother in heaven, creating hard feelings and contention among the disciples.
John’s letters give us a clear picture of a man who had grown, learned, and changed – a man who had been transformed by the love of Jesus that he saw, touched, and experienced.
Will my friends and family say of me, that the longer I live the better I love?