The Word for today:
mark this: Psalm 84:7
They go from strength to strength...
I am not confused or distracted by Churchianity. The function of the church is to get out the Word of the Lord, the Good News of Jesus Christ. We exist for no other reason. God isn't as interested in whether we helped the old lady across the street as he is in whether we introduced the old lady to his son. Because we might get her from one corner to another, but his son can get her from death to life.
And I am not a shy man. Shy doesn't cut it in my field of endeavor. So I use every available means to cast bread upon the waters (1). I write columns. I insinuate my name in the press. I even contacted my local radio station to see if I could broadcast from there. I was rejected. (I told 'em I'd been thrown out of finer places than theirs! and by finer people!) Another month and I'll contact them again, so they can reject me again. But, hey, you never know.
This bread-casting is my form of love, because I am two quarts low in cuddly capacity. I am generally bristly and prickly and aggressive. But I've given the hours--which add up to the days which add up to the years which add up to my life--to this cause, and Jesus said that's the definition of highest love (2). So take that, Cuddles! I give about thirteen hours every day to this, even on Jesus' birthday and the 4th of July, because there's a place in the kingdom for pushy porcupines.
Not only do I write this blog (with some help from my friends) but I also bread-cast the Bible classes I teach. (The current class is called "Behold" and can be heard by clicking here. )
And every Sunday evening, after church is behind me, the lawn is mowed, and Monday's blog is written, I listen to the broadcast of that morning's class. I listen because that Guy is a great Bible teacher! I can say that without a scintilla of pride, because I know where my 15 hours of preparation intended to take the class--but then He shows up and shifts the wind! (3)
So I can't wait to listen, to review what the Holy Spirit taught us that morning. He speaks thoughts I never thought, dressed in phrasing I cannot command. So I listen to the class "I" just taught, even taking notes about the new things I am learning from the Guy who teaches the class that my students think I teach.
One of the nutty things about listening to classes that I, well, mouthed (!!) is that I've picked up on my own stock phrases. Teachers have signature lines, things they emphasize and therefore repeat, that their students can quote verbatim. (I remember Mrs. White, the Emmet Belknap Jr. High librarian for oh so many years, calling out "Self-discipline!" to any and all, several times every day.)
As I've listened to that Guy teach "my" class recently, here are the phrases He's been stressing:
"Think of the kingdom of heaven as a direction, more than a place."
"Heaven is all the way from here to there."
"God doesn't see where you are, he sees where you are going."
"Be a man/woman after God's own heart."
The theme that emerges when you put all those phrases together is motion, movement. So when I hear people say, "I was saved in 1994," I sometimes want to cry--because phrasing it that way makes us think of it that way.
Try not to think of your salvation being back there somewhere. The Bible teaches that we go from saved to saved:
I have been saved—from the penalty of sin.
I am being saved—from the power of sin.
I will be saved—from the presence of sin.
On the way from saved to saved, we go...
from faith to faith,
from life to life,
from strength to strength,
from grace to grace,
from glory to glory. (4)
Jesus went to the cross to save you. Then he rose from the dead to save you. Right now he is interceding in prayer to save you. One day he will return to save you. Then He will judge the enemies of your soul to save you.
He died to save you. Now he lives to keep you saved. He will never stop being your Savior.
Because that's who he is. That's what he does--yesterday, today, and forever (5). He's just that kind of Guy.
(1) see Ecclesiates 11:1 & Luke 4:4; (2) see John 15:13; (3) see John 3:8; (4) see, in order, Romans 1:17; 2 Corinthians 2:16; Psalm 84:7; John 1:16; 2 Corinthians 3:18; (5) Hebrews 13:8