Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Challenge

Every once in a while it seems to be that I get an email - usually a forward - that speaks to me in some way. I posted one previously, but it was... not in an even remotely comparative category to this one. Mostly because this one wasn't made as a forward. It just ended up that way. Anyways, it was written by a guy who goes to my church who was a pastor, and is an all around cool guy. He calls me Benji or Gabriel for some reason... anyways, I'll shut up and let you read this.


Michael
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=Annwas Adeniawc=




My heart is heavy because I am seeing so many people and hearing so many people who are trying to work out where God is calling them to be used by Him and seem so disatisfied and confused and hurting.

May I say that most of the times I am disatisfied, confused and hurting, the root is not what is going on around me but my own personal life. When I don't seem to have control of my life and am not obedient to God and am so busy making plans for Him and not spending "MUCH TIME IN LISTENING" to His wee small voice, I fail Him miserably. I forget that I am a part of the BODY OF CHRIST . . . I forget that I was not created to live out a solo life in isolation from the rest of the Body, I forget that the Holy Spirit has been deposited in my life to give me wisdom and discernment if I am willing to spend time with Him . . . lots and lots of time . . .and truly listen. I was not called to make all decisions on my own. The hand, the foot, the arm, the leg . . .yes, even the toenails, fingernails and hairs in the armpits have a reason for being . . .there is no part that is not important . . .thus it is with the Body of Christ . . . there is no insignificant part or person . . .each has a "special mission" that only he or she can fulfill when in harmony and obedient to Him. My message at our Men's Breakfast at Calvary yesterday morning had the theme, "USE ME!!!"

My point is, and drawing from the theme of a Ladies' conference that my wife went to in 1975, we need to "Bloom Where You are Planted" . . . which means to me, where you are at any given time, God calls you to minister there.

I NEVER saw, what I am about to share, in Haliburton or Caledonia where I pastored, but I sure see it in Peterborough . . George Street United Church, Edmison Heights Baptist Church where I pastored and of course with people of other churches in our city. There is a greater disatisfaction or groaning among members of the "Organized Church Institution", and so much of it is within the individual lives of those people as they try to figure out, many way back to the original question, "Why am I here?!" I see people shuffling from one congregation to another trying to figure out where they fit in . . often being upset what seems to them as the essence of their faith. It is like a giant spiritual smorgasbord and people are looking for bargain spirituality where they can be scratched where it itches. We seem to be more concerned about being the scratchee rather than the scratcher.

The early Christian Church and right up today . . .the greatest mission field has not been so much within our congregation on Sunday mornings or during the week in our institutional churches . . . that is were we go to strengthen our faith, to fellowship with other believers, to get charged up, to confess with one another our sins, to lift each other in prayer, to strenghthen one another in the Lord.; it is where we go to participate in Christ's love and regeneration, not to be a spectator.. . . it is no different than when the early Christians worshipped in homes. The greatest MISSION FIELD, is what is happening outside the church building structure. God is waiting for the thousands of people who claim to be Christian in our city, to serve Him . . .truly serve Him . . to say to Him, "Use Me" and walk out into the "real world where the rubber hits the road."

Before we can begin to look at the individual congregations of our city and ask, what are "they" doing for the cause of Christ, we need to be asking ourselves, what are we, as individuals, doing for the cause of Christ. I am now 63 years old and I have fewer years ahead of me than I do behind me. How much am I doing as an individual that really counts for Christ's Kingdom? How much is merely "Doing Church" and how much is "being Church--the Body of Christ"? I attend Calvary Church in Peterborough . . but am I merely attending or am I participating? . . . am I a part of the problem or am I a part of the solution? As Norman Vincent Peal once said, "How do we turn crosses into plus signs"? Well, I need to stop playing God and wanting to be the "Divine Orchestrator" and controlling what is going on around me. I need to be obedient to Him. . . . I need to listen more and talk less and yes, it may be listening to the wee small voice of God which means there are times I need to be so silent I can hear a pin drop . . . and it means that I need to listen to the voices of others around me whom I know have a very close walk with God. We pastors don't have it all . . . God doesn't only speak through pastors . . .what a revelation, eh?? I need to spend more time in prayer, and again if prayer is communication with Him, it is a two way street . . . I need to LISTEN.

Here is an exerp from my thesis of 1994. . .a parable by Howard Clinebell. Even if you have seen it before, please don't just speed read it and gloss over it. It is very poignant!!! Ask yourselves: what stage are you in corporately as a congregation and individually as part of the Body of Christ?

Read on . . . and blessings . . . Don Nicholson.

"The Parable Of The Lifesaving Station"
On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little lifesaving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, they went out day or night tirelessly searching for the lost.

Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding areas, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little lifesaving station grew.

Some of the new members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea.

They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in an enlarged building. Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they redecorated it beautifully and furnished it as a sort of club.

Less of the members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work.

The mission of lifesaving was still given lip-service but most were too busy or lacked the necessary commitment to take part in the lifesaving activities personally.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet and half-drowned people.

They were dirty and sick, some had skin of a different color, some spoke a strange language, and the beautiful new club was considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club's lifesaving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal pattern of the club.

But some members insisted that lifesaving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the life of all various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast.

They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. They evolved into a club and yet another lifesaving station was founded.

If you visit the seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, but now most of the people drown!

ps. As an aside, I have my new vision pretty much hammered out, so now it is just a matter of putting it into practice. Look for changes in the next few weeks!

2 comments:

  1. very challenging, and very beautiful header! :o)

    ReplyDelete