Why are we here? Luke 14:15-27, 33-35: Invited, accepted, treated host flippantly, replaced: nothing else can be done to get you excited (dangerous place to be). So many people talk about living for God, make plans to live for God, get excited about living for God—but they never want to leave where they are in order to go there—and you have to go there! There is no way to serve God with real passion and yearning and stay where you are in life. Don’t you think God gets frustrated or let down over our hesitation to leave where we are, and come to Him? Over our reluctance to give ourselves completely to Him? He must be—not because He is disgusted with us or loves us less, but because He must be exasperated with our rejection of Him and our lack of zeal for anything He truly cares about. Hebrews 5:11-14: many people can teach themselves how to fix a car, master new software/video games, etc. in a few days/hours, but are years into the most important decision in life and have to get help on the simplest questions about God, still making the same mistakes with no clue what you’re supposed to be doing. Why is that?
Church services are skillfully crafted to keep us in our comfort zones (because church is all about us, right?) Just because we meet doesn’t mean God is pleased with our service. We set no expectations that the altars will fill up with anguished souls in need, pleading for lost ones, trusting God publicly to help them (and don’t say you do it at home because church is a reflection of our love and passion for Christ in our private lives). We don’t want our services to be too long, too harsh… How tired must God be of the bare truth in how uncommitted we are to Him—begging and manipulating people to have love, worship, devotion and humbleness before Him? Fighting to get people to even make meeting to worship Him and serve one another a main priority of life; hearing touch sermons about living in sin on purpose, not about living for the world, only to see His Words made a mockery of again? Empty altars throughout each service; constant ‘no shows’ for what people say they have given themselves to do in service to Him—or getting no volunteers at all, to fill the mission of establishing His church to care for the world. Disciples quit when they feel serving takes too much from their lives. People constantly using bad language, showing dishonoring photos, stories, jokes, griping, condemning, etc. on social media… not having church funds to do anything we need to do as a church [programs, new building, paying our Pastor] yet we wonder why He doesn’t move in our lives? How do you think this makes our Savior feel?
We don’t give to the church because we ‘must care for family first’, but your family wears designer clothes, has latest electronics/gadgets/toys—and then you tell the family that you ‘don’t have enough money to put God first (what are you teaching them?). We don’t have any passion and anguish of soul to serve in Sunday School, VBS or any other position (only legalistic pull to fill a position)—(don’t bother). We aren’t excited about reading our Bible—the very Words from God’s mouth. We don’t try to get along in unity and love for one another. We overlook those we know are in emotional, spiritual and physical need. We show no appreciation for the blessings and favors we are given (almost like they are expected). If you find yourself getting bored with church, or having to force yourself to come, or reluctant to serve—it’s not that you aren’t getting enough from it, it’s that you aren’t giving enough to Him. Church is where we are supposed to go to humbly give ourselves in worship; reach out to Him in passionate prayer; confess our sins to get help; love one another. It is not a place to socialize or even just receive some instruction and entertainment. [Though Doug is entertaining!]
What we do in church together in prayer, worship and glory for the King is a true indicator of who we are, and what we are doing as individuals—and the picture seems to show a lot of: self, pride and thanklessness. We are too worried about our images and living our own lives—period. Have you ever stopped to consider that we are in God’s House of Prayer, and yet less true, desperate prayer occurs here than anywhere? Matthew 21:13. Have you ever stopped to consider that sometimes our prayers are not answered, simply because we do not come to Him truly expectant and fervent in our request? James 5:16. Have you ever stopped to consider that we don't see and feel more of Him because He only inhabits the real praises of His people; because His power and blessing follow after true worship and praise? Psalm 22:3, 2 Chronicles 20:20-22. We question why God places things in our lives that bring us to a point of despair and anguish—it is the only way He will ever stir a passion and urgency from us. John 17:22, says Jesus gives us the Glory which the Father gave to Him; the Glory He died for. He died for us, as unworthy as we are—but we can’t truly understand Him and love Him if we aren’t desirous to praise and serve Him together publicly.
At this point, our problem isn’t a lack of works; it’s a lack of passion for God and other people. You can’t muster up a passion for God, an anguish for the lost, a desire for righteousness on your own: Philippians 2:13: only the Spirit that lives in us can give us this heart of God, and without Him to help us, we don’t have a chance in the flesh to truly share God’s passion for others or see and worship Him as we should. John 4:23-24. We let God and the church serve us, instead of the other way around. We have no humility and passion for Him, just expectations for favors. We are living like Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah with so much passion for the world around us that we don’t crave anything of God.
The first step is to admit we are passionless and prideful and uninterested, and afraid of commitment to truly living for God. The next step is to ask the Holy Spirit of God, that we say lives inside of us, to give us the humility, anguish of God’s souls, passion, boldness, courage, fearlessness, hunger for righteousness… Lastly, come alive for Christ through the Spirit—follow His leading with no more thoughts of self; to pray unhindered, with urgency; to see Jesus as He is, and worship Him with pride and reverence; to look for Him everywhere; to listen for Him always; to begin expecting Him to move around and through you; to see those He puts before you to love; to relish chances to glorify Him together; to have a real view of the lost and agonize over their condition; to make serving Him the highest priority and joy of life. We are not there yet; and we can’t get there ourselves. Honesty and surrender are all He needs to work wonders.
We don’t need church to mimic other comfortable, uncommitted churches. Start with humility and a confession of our own helplessness; and a passionate plea for Him to change us. Psalm 84:2-6. If you’re not hungry for change—why are you in church?
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