Relationship, not Religion.
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“If man lived apart with Me and only went out to serve at My direct command,
My Spirit could operate more and accomplish truly might things” (God Calling, June 18).
God says wait.
We say, “Gotta do something.”
Actually, we don’t.
God says wait.
We say, “Somethings better than nothing.”
Except when it’s not.
God says wait.
We say, “God helps those who help themselves.”
Wrong-o! God helps those who can’t help themselves. That’s the whole point.
He leaves the rest of us to our own paltry efforts.
God ways wait.
We immediately start doing.
This waiting of Yours is active, not passive. More about not pressing than about doing nothing. There’s a time and a place for doing nothing, but that is another thing, apart from uttering a holy “no”. This is not just sitting on the couch, waiting for a divine presence to sweep us to our feet in a maelstrom of Christian action. That’s not waiting, that’s just lazy.
This waiting, Your waiting involves confidently following whatever ideas and thoughts and leads You give me. Confident not that I can make or force anything to work out, but that You will, in Your way and time.
Active waiting means letting You lead, waiting on Your direction, not inventing my own. It is trying out my thoughts and ideas, with less concern over their success than about determining which ones come from You.
Active waiting is me taking care of business (TCB baby!), while allowing, trusting, expecting You to take care of results. I do my part. I let You do Yours.
We must say no to opportunities and chances and possibilities beyond number. We must say no, because only if we say no and no and no again will we ever be able to shout YES!
We must wait. Ooh, but it’s hard. Waiting. Patiently. Actively. Expectently.
We must listen. Ooh, that’s harder. Listening. For God’s still small voice in the midst of the winds of busy-ness. We must be still and quiet in order to hear.
We must let God do His part. Let Him call us, direct us, command. Then and only then comes our yes. And our doing becomes a holy doing, not the worthless striving of vain, inglorious man. But the holy work of a righteous God.
There we find our purpose, our meaning, our true calling. There, living into the holy yes, we taste greatness, perhaps for the very first time.
As they talked and discussed these things with each other,
Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; — Lk 24:15 (NIV)
In the Christian world, we often use the phrase “walking with Jesus” or “walk” or “journey” to describe our spiritual lives. There is good reason for this, though at times the Christian shorthand begs for both clarity and depth. We often see Jesus walk in the gospels. Other than a donkey or a boat, how else did he get around? The experience of walking is universal. And the metaphor of the spiritual life as a journey takes root in many traditions.
So the question of whether or not we walk with Jesus is a good one, even if overused. Unfortunately, I think it is often the wrong question, as well.
“Are you walking with Jesus?” How should I know? How would you? Is it your behavior, what you don’t do, or perhaps more importantly, what you do? How you talk? How you look? Who your friends are? Is there a chart somewhere I’m unaware of?
One of the great blessings of being a priest in God’s choice is the seat I have in worship. I am privileged to sit and look out on the faces of God’s people as they come to Him in praise. Not that priests alone have this opportunity; but week in and week out, through Lent and Easter and the long days of Summer I get to watch you worship.
What I see when I look out on the assembly of the Body of Christ is simply amazing. If you could see what I see it would take your breath away. Because what I see is beautiful and powerful and glorious. I see the presence of the Living God, the Almighty Creator of the Universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords gathered in the breath and heart beat of a hundred ordinary people.
I see sinners come to the hospital. Beat down, worn out, tired, oh so tired, dragging a screaming kid by one arm. They need help, these broken ones, so overwhelmed by the changes and chances of this life. They come for the medicine, the shot, the IV, the jolt like electricity bringing them back to life. They come to be healed with the body and blood of Christ.
I see the saints, those followers of Christ. Fired up and excited, eyes wide and shiny with enthusiasm, clutching their Bibles or prayer books with almost manic glee. They come hungry and want to be fed. They come for the Word, to be shaped and formed, to be challenged and commissioned and sent back into the world. They come to hear the Word of God.
I see the ordinary, the bedraggled, the broken and the lost. I see the winners, the losers and those who have never quite figured out how the game is played.
Is it just me, or does anyone else notice the implied blackmail in this annual childhood ritual? Give me a treat, or I will give you a trick. And it used to actually work that way – soaping windows, papering yards, bags of flaming… well, you get the idea. I know children these days are much too well-behaved to engage in such activities. Heh. Either too well-behaved or too ruthless. These days they’re more likely to fork your yard or cover you truck in thousands of post-it notes. All in good fun, of course.
Still, the implied threat makes me wonder. What kind of weird holiday is this? When you think about it, you would never in a million years allow your children to walk up to a strangers’ home and demand candy from them on say, May 11. Nor would you shell out candy to random children any other day of the year. So there must be something to this, but what?
I wonder if we sometimes treat God this way? You know you can get a ton of mileage out of the whole Jesus-to-Santa comparison around Christmas (and at least one pretty bad sermon). But what about the whole Christian as trick-or-treater angle?
My Connection Points are : coaching little league, working out at the gym and playing Texas Hold ‘Em. Kind of weird, huh, thinking of baseball, sweat and poker as ministry? Certainly these are not in the usual priestly job description. But that is the point at Grace Church. We are not doing church as usual.
You see, a Connection Point is an opportunity for a church-person to intersect the life of a non-church-person. A Connection Point can be anything, anything at all. Helping somebody in your office fix a jam in the copier. Taking an acquaintance to lunch. Meeting someone new while walking your dog at the park.
But the best Connection Points are ongoing – they provide you with more than one opportunity to connect with the same person – and enjoyable. They are things that you would do anyway. Like join a book club. Or audition for a play. Or train for a 10k run. Things you like or are good at or have fun doing. Maybe you ride Harleys. Or love to garden. Or enjoy a venti non-fat-half-caf-café-mocha-frapecino. Those can all be Connection Points.
And the absolute best Connection Points create ongoing opportunities to serve. Let’s face it. Most people don’t even think about Church these days. And when they do, they don’t think anything good. We have to give them a reason to think Church makes sense. We have to show them what Christ’s love looks like. The best way to do that is through serving, giving of your time and energy for the sake of another.