Tuesday, February 17, 2009

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Tearing My Robes

My last post posed these questions:
Why has the church become increasingly irrelevant? Can it be because we serve and preach an irrelevant god of our own making, rather than the "Holy Holy Holy" God of Scripture?
Over in one of my LinkedIn groups, I received a response from Ellen B. that was brilliant in its simplicity:
Assuming this is true (which most of us probably agree that it is), what should we do personally?
Well, yes indeed! That is the question, isn't it? Since none of us has been elected Dictator for Life over the church, we don't have the option of emloying all of Josiah's comprehensive national renewal plan, which goes something like this:
  • tear your robes
  • inquire of the LORD through your local prophetess
  • call together all the elders
  • read the Scriptures publicly
  • renew the covenant
  • cleanse the temple
  • burn/desecrate the idols, Asherah poles, high places, shrines, etc.
  • banish (or otherwise dispose of) the pagan priests
  • lead a nationwide Passover celebration
Probably each of us will find ourselves confined to somewhat smaller spheres of influence than Josiah, but the example is still instructive. After all, it's easy to complain about the church, but by itself it has as little effect as complaining about the weather. For my own part, I will say that any action plan must certainly begin with me:
  • I must tear my robes! I must fear, honor and glorify this holy, holy, holy LORD Almighty. I must forsake the world, repent, obey, pray, read, love ...
  • I must lead my family, teaching them to understand and appreciate who God truly is
  • I must use my gifts and talents within the place that God has put me to bear witness to the God who is holy, holy, holy
It is in this third place where we each must look carefully to realize that we have opportunities and responsibilities to act. In my capacity at church, for example, I have the opportunity and responsibility to teach, preach (occasionally), take part in leadership meetings, encourage the pastor and other believers, etc. All of these mark places where I need to emphasize God's holiness and how it should influence our activities.

Oh, and I also have this little blog, which I hope to use to encourage others to do likewise ... :)

Please consider this an "open thread", and post your answers to Ellen's question in the "comments" section below ...

3 comments:

  1. I think it comes down to pursuing the best scenario in Christ's parable of the seeds in Luke8:
    "But those on the good ground are the ones who, in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it and bring forth fruit with patience."

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  2. Gee, I wish that everyone asked that same "men and brethren what shall we do?" type questions. The longer I teach (anything!) the more I want to ask this same question. I love the old Puritan sermons with their lengthy "Uses" at the end of the message. As I've mentioned on other entries, I'd like to keep that focus even in such heavily intellectual courses as Worldview.

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  3. Josiah wasn't teaching or talking, he was doing. he sent me to repair the temple. when the book of the law (the bible) was found and read, he repented. first, he tore his robes, the symbols of his authority. he recognised his unworthiness. Next, he sought direction for what to do. he didn't ask for a sunday school manual or a sermon. he wanted to know what to do. he understood their was trouble because past actions had been against God.

    i'm always amazed how insight leads to another sermon series or a book or a conference. it never seems to lead to personal repentance and changed behaviors.

    imagine a pastor standing before a congregation and personally appologizing for not living according to God's word, appologizing for simply teaching while church members live lives uninformed by the bible or even the pastor's teachings. imagine him stepping down. nah! not gonna happen. can't imagine!

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