Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Honesty - not just the best but the only policy!!!

I guess I needed more than one day to cool off! Any way, I'm back to being civil (though I can't promise that I won't be as brutally honest as I was in my last post). In case you're wondering what the heck I'm going on about, go here. "Why is this such an issue for me?" I guess it's because I see the pattern repeatedly, and I'm weary of being defined among the insane (Remember that it's been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results). Remember the precursor to Y2K? Christians were advocating the stockpiling of food, water, ammunition.... "Run for the hills to protect your family" became the popular refrain. Why? If it's true that "To live is Christ but to die is gain" (for the Christian), why are we so afraid of the inevitable? Here we are at yet another major crossroad in our country's checkered and beleaguered history (the 2008 Presidential Elections), and we are again focusing on the wrong thing. We are busy championing politicians as the 'saviors' of the way of life we so desperately desire, instead of fasting, praying, loving and serving.

Personally, I believe it has much to do with who you sorround yourself with. Radical Islam is such a force for evil because they are indoctrinated from youth about the merits of dying as a "martyr" for the cause of Islam (it also helps to promise 72 virgins as one of your rewards for martyrdom). They inbibe their 'poison' until they cease to be rational about anything but the cause to which they have sworn allegiance. In more polite terms, they become insular. The Church has drunk the same poison! We sorround ourselves with people who tell us largely what we want to hear. They pat us on the back and tell us how "mean" the world is and how we need to protect ourselves from its 'poison.' The problem with this theory is that we are called to impact this world, not to get away from it! It's like the fireman running away from a fire instead of towards it. He has committed himself to the cause of putting out fires. In order to do this he must be willing to risk his life running toward fires. The cause of Christ requires us to put ourselves in 'the line of fire' daily, as we seek to love a hurting world.

Our will plays a large role in whether or not we do this successfully. Hear what a very wise friend of mine has to say about our will:
Our will is a powerful thing. It can be a tool for good in our lives or for evil. Some say, "I just don't have any will power." Sure they do. They are just too lazy to use it. People who say that, prefer the route of least resistance. They are not willing to make the effort to use their will. These people never succeed at anything in life. They are like huge sinkholes that take in everything anyone will pour into them, but it never produces anything of benefit for themselves or others. I caution you, never partner with people like that, for your endeavors will always fail.
- Steve Vickers (President, Harvest Churches International)

"If you become willing and obey me, you will eat good crops from the land..." (Isaiah 1:19). Enjoying God's promise of fruitfulness in our nation requires us as Christians to not just be obedient, but to be willing. So the larger question is: Are you willing? Are you willing to put your neck on the line? Are you willing to buck the status quo in favor of establishing God's Kingdom on earth? Are you willing to be seen as different? Are you willing to let your passion for God take precedence over your need to be seen as tolerant? Are you willing...?


Thea said...

I see your comments are running sparse these days...unpopular topics, aren't they? Good topics, though. To visit these fundamental questions is imperative for any believer regardless of what is going on in the world. I appreciate your leadership and pastoring in a way that brings truth and not only "good feelings" not that the good feelings are all bad! :) I know for me personally that I seek to love God first and with all of me and the rest will follow. I trust Him for the grace I will need to continue to serve him amidst circumstances I may not choose on my own. And I know that we will all finish this race one way or another...and I want to run with those who will run well. Thanks for encouraging me to do just that!

Lots of love to you & the fam - Thea

Joseph said...

Thea, your astute observation hasn't escaped my notice. As long as people are reading it (even if they don't leave a comment), I'm satisfied that God will use my words to remind the Church of our responsibility. I'm honored to play a small role in helping to shape and encourage your witness. God bless you and the Smith family.