Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Selah

Just an update on the situation as I see it at my church lately.

We have been without a singular leader for some time. What has begun to happen in recent months is that various people in authority are having different ideas as to where the church is going. I think this is breeding mistrust.

There is an opportunity to grasp here... now things are getting "desperate" (only 10 people were present on Sunday... half of which were regular... not that I personally value a church's success by the numerical value of it's congregation). We need to take a moment to reflect... to pause and consider (this is what many people believe the Hebrew biblical word "Selah" means).

As many of you know, I have a big bee in my bonnet about the independent spirit of man... about our insistence on denying ourselves the benevolence of God... simply because of our desire to be in control and independent. Here we see clearly see that spirit at work. As soon as thing start to go off the rails or seem to need changing, people inevitably jump in and start trying to fix it... without properly understanding what the situation requires.

I believe God is calling us to listen. How can anyone presume to speak for God... if he first does not listen to God... or at least give God opportunity to speak?

At last we are giving him a proper opportunity.

Next week, we will have a time of prayer where we will simply ask God for direction... and then we will shut up. A time to listen... not to speak. Selah.

I hope it becomes a regular thing... but more importantly I pray that all those in attendance will learn to lean on God more... and will have a deeper experience of his presence. That people who have gifts will not be afraid to use them.

Several of us knew this time was coming... that the church would be stripped down to it's core members. Now the choice is simple... listen to God and let him work revival... or continue striving in disobedience and watch it all fall apart. Out of grace, the Lord continues to give us opportunities to hear him properly and respond... dare we test his patience any more?

Here are two examples from scripture which I believe are relevant:

The LORD Appears to Elijah
And the word of the LORD came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."
The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him."

and:

Jesus Calms the Storm

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"


The point is in the first instance, it was only when Elijah was in the right place and right frame of mind to listen that he was able to discern between the noise of the terrible powers of nature and the soft voice of God. In the second instance, Jesus slept through the storm, secure in the knowledge that God would not bring doom upon him. The disciples, in contrast ran around like headless chickens "Don't Panic! Don't Panic Mr Mainwaring!!" Jesus rebuked them for being focused on the problem... rather than being focused on the solution.

There is a saying I have heard:

"Instead of telling God how big your problems are... tell your problems how big God is!" That is what I encourage us all to do. If no solution seems apparent... just praise God. Focus on him in worship, then let him do all the talking.

Hagar, Ishmael, the Israelites in the wilderness, Elijah, those who were among the 5,000 men who were fed by Jesus. None of them needed to strive in order to be blessed with nourishment. All they needed to do was to acknowledge God.

Selah.

(If you need any points expanding on or if there are things you do not understand... please feel free to comment and I will do my best to help you.)

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