Monday, November 23, 2009
Have you read it? Have you signed it?
In a culture that is increasingly becoming oppressive of the right to live and speak according to the dictates of conscience, aggressive in the attack on the family and systematic obliteration of gender, and expansive in its malignant assault on the sanctity of human life, it is time to speak. I know that some would question joining the Roman Catholics and Orthodox in signing any document, but this is not a declaration of faith which asks one to dilute any cherished doctrine. Rather, it is a declaration of freedom--that as citizens of America, there are issues too large for us to ignore and that there should be a willingness to partner with those who, in these fundamental standards, have agreement.
I am reminded of the words of German Pastor, Martin Niemoller, as stated by him in an address to the United States Congress in 1968,
"When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church--and there was nobody left to be concerned."
We must stand tall, stay true and speak tenaciously while we have yet the opportunity to do so. Please, would you go to the link, prayerfully read and carefully and consider signing the declaration?
Saturday, November 07, 2009
No--not that Bush! Not a former President--but this bush:
"The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, 'I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.' When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am.' " (Exodus 3:2-4 NKJV)
Here are a few thoughts about that bush:
- It was chosen by a sovereign God. The bush didn't volunteer. The bush didn't make a decision. It was chosen. It wasn't chosen on the basis--so far as we can tell--of the superior quality of the wood, its size or shape, its beautiful foilage or abundance of fruit. God just picked it and used it--and it became His bush--by, what we may term, sheer grace.
- It was the vehicle through which God appeared and spoke--by which He manifested His glory. It wasn't the glory of the bush, but the glory of God that grabbed Moses' attention. The visible manifestation of God's presence is the thing that was life-transforming to Moses. A bush can't change your life, but God in this bush changed Moses and the course of history! A bush can't talk, yet God spoke though this one. God led His servant and freed His people beginning with a message from a bush.
- It burned without burning out. Doubtless in that arid climate, he had seen scrub bush aflame before. As has been witnessed in California, a lightning strike on bone-dry shrubs and poof, you've got a wildfire! Yet, here was something different--a bush on fire, yet not burning out. That was arresting and aroused the curiosity of Moses to investigate. This was supernatural!
Now, for the application--if you haven't seen it already.
God is looking for some men to be His bushes. We are of His choosing. It isn't that His messengers are better--better-looking, more eloquent, of superior intellect, possessing greater skills and potential--no, it is simply His choice through whom He will speak and manifest His glory. So God bypasses macho man Esau for the scoundrel Jacob; He selects the stuttering Moses instead of the people-pleasing Aaron; He supplants the imposing Saul with a shepherd boy, David; He founds His church with a motley crew of fishermen, tax-collectors and their ilk while rejecting the religious elite of Jerusalem. That way God gets all the glory--and He will share it with no other.
It is amazing grace that God would choose to use such as we are. Paul said, "We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves." (2 Cor.4:7 NLT). Men are his method--He communicates His infallible word through fallible men; His infinite truth through finite beings; His powerful word through puny flesh--wonder of it all! There is the supernatural mark on the man of God that leaves people asking for explanation. Such a profound privilege His messengers enjoy! He leads His people and frees them from spiritual bondage through those who proclaim His word and exhibit His glory.
All this and we don't have to experience "burn out!" Should we try to bring life-change or build the church through our effort--burning the candle at both ends--we will be extinguished--the work of our ministry consumed as hay, wood and straw at the judgment seat. Horrifying thought that is! But, if we are aflame with God, there is a constant source of fuel.
So, do you feel you are just an old bush and wonder if God can use you at all? So far as an omnipotent, sovereign God is concerned--in the words of Major Ian Thomas, "Any old bush will do!"
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Do we see any symptoms? Until there is the right diagnosis, there cannot be the right prescription. At least some of this sounds a bit familiar to me.