17 January, 2012

Who's Quenching Whom?

I heard a sermon last night that claimed "charismatics" are the ones who are actually guilty of "quenching" the Spirit of God because they don't give priority to the primary work of the Spirit, namely ~ sanctification.

This is such a WILD generilization, for one; but for two, the evidences we see in Scripture of the Lord pouring out his Spirit (consider the book of Acts) actually trend more to a reality where those who are "filled" with the Spirit are far more OTHERS focused; they're going out and boldly proclaiming the Word, they're going out and ministering in miraculous ways to people in need....

This preacher's emphasis on sanctification is not altogether inappropriate, but it seems to me that the church as a whole trends towards legalism (*and I've been chief among them!*) and AWAY from the fullness of the Spirit when all we're concerned about is how good we look in the "spiritual mirror" (self-focused) rather than being FIRST concerned with a passionate pursuit of God and the revelation of his love which then COMPELS us outward from ourselves....

Surely there are those of us, as genuine believers, who are guilty of "quenching" the Spirit on all sides of the cube ~ but why would you preach in such a way as to deliberately lead your people into drawing a comparison with other believers only to conclude "Oh, see? we aren't experiencing the dramatic love of God or miraculous signs and wonders, but that means we're BETTER and more RIGHTEOUS in our walk with God, and not that perhaps we have missed the mark in pursuing the ABUNDANT LIFE he promised and pours out for and in us, and not that perhaps we haven't tasted of the RIVER of life that is to flow out of us."

I'm particularly bent out of shape over this as I have a great deal of respect for this particular preacher, but I think he is DANGEROUSLY wrong on this, and leading his body (and the potential millions he influences through other media) into further feeling comfortable for altogether AVOIDING the very Spirit of God with whom we've been UNITED for Jesus' sake!

16 January, 2012

Don't Confuse Hero-Worship with the Real Thing

We love to "admire" people - to identify "heroes" in our lives - be they parents or teachers or spouses, etc. It is always jarring when one of our "heroes" shows his weakness and frailty, or worse, something altogether undesirable or faithless.

Let's not let the human failings of our "idols" spill over into creating woeful expectations on God - erring either too much in the direction of treating him like he is our cosmic Santa Claus, or on the other hand as if he doesn't really love us - the quality of love from God is always, UNFAILINGLY, for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose, namely, to conform us to the likeness of his BELOVED Son in whom he is WELL-PLEASED.

From before the foundation of the world, he prepared salvation for whosoever would believe in and receive Jesus; he pursues, he woos, he convicts of sin and CANCELS it for those who are baptized into the blood and spirit of Jesus, he heals, he restores, he welcomes, he guards, he comforts, he holds, he sustains, he corrects, he establishes, he raises up, he LOVES us with an everlasting love....

05 January, 2012

Seasonal Fruit

If every year I produce only a new harvest of the same compassion and kindness and a longing for others to see and receive the mercy of God (with fresh worship springing out of that, both in them and in me), I am very content to be that kind of tree!

Cold to the LOVE of God?

If we are merely being convinced as to the TRUTH of God in Jesus, but we are utterly cold to the LOVE of God poured out on us because of Jesus, I dare say we have not been savingly convinced....

The "ought" of Apologetics? HOPE!!

I used to think "evangelism" was so much more about apologetics. It never concerned me (!) that this hinged so definingly on the "mind" (ie: not the “heart”) and one's ability to philosophize.

I didn’t think I lacked compassion – after all, I longed to see people saved! But I have realized this was (until recently) fueled more by a desire to be “Right” than out of a heart of God-infused love and compassion.

Let us balance these 2 things: Yes, “arguing with” (or more graciously put, “persuading”) people can eventually yield good fruit; God does use every kind of means, and we MUST be able to give an answer for the hope within us.

BUT….BUT…BUT! that HOPE is the ultimate message, and this HOPE is born out of, and made more evident by, the KINDNESS of God which leads us to repentance.