Sunday, September 23, 2012

MAYBE A LITTLE SENSITVE

MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE I WENT TO SEE A THEATRICAL PRODUCTION of C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, produced by the Fellowship for the Performing Arts, or maybe it's because of some weird dreams I have been having as of late, or maybe it's because of an increased number of troubled marriages in our church, or maybe it's because pastors in my community seem to be under attack physically, emotionally and spiritually. Maybe it's because an malady that I thought I had a handle on has returned, or that I my sermon study time was questioned. Maybe it's because the church's income is low, or that there are individuals I have been praying for and over who seem to be no closer to the Lord than before we started praying.  Dare I go on?

Maybe I am just being to sensitive, and sending a daughter off to college (Go Biola!), and soon I will be "giving away" another daughter to a young Bolivian gentleman. Maybe it's a malaise of having a vision statement, without a sense of true direction. Do I sound like I am whining? I suppose so. Does it sound like I am in the depths of depression? It might, but I'm not. What is it, then?

I believe it's spiritual attack. Screwtape and his junior tempter nephew, Wormwood, seem to be taking aim upon us (I include many of those listed above in the "us.") Some would tell me, "Come now, Pastor Randy, look at all the good things that God is doing!" Yes, God is at work, there's no doubting that! God is moving! God is good! But that doesn't lessen that fact that these "coincidences" of life seem too many, too focused, to be mere coincidences.

There are times I feel like we must be headed in the right direction because we seem to be meeting the evil one head-on. And then there are times, like in this moment, that I wonder if I am truly not self-deceived. 

The reality is I want to be 110% sold-out (souled-out) to the work of God and His glory. I do not want to pastor a church that is, as in the words of Screwtape, "moderate." He states that having people in moderate (ineffective, half-hearted) churches is better than having them in no church at all. Better the guise of religion than the depth of relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords. But it is this depth that I desire for self and for those I serve.

This morning in the sermon I mentioned the importance of living in the wilderness, as John the Baptist did. (Matthew 3:1-12) The wilderness can be a place of decision as it was for Israel (See the Book of Exodus). It can be a place of testing, as it was for Jesus (See John 4). It can be a place where God can speak because all things seemed to be striped away. In this I will trust.

I guess I too must welcome the wilderness. To seek the silence where God's voice alone is heard. Speak, O Lord, speak.

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