Reboot–Notes

Last week was the last in a month-long series of sermons at my church dealing with the issue of renewal.

We used the analogy of when your computer stops working and it crashes. Nothing you do can make it alright again. The only solution left is to reboot. This is what we need to do in life too.

1. Don’t despair when your life unravels and gets out of control. Because this needs to happen first before you can become the instrument of God. The only people God can use are broken people.

2. There is a beautiful analogy in the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32). When, after his resurrection, Jesus met two disciples and walked with them on their way to Emmaus. He was invited for supper, took the bread, blessed it (gave thanks for it), broke it, and gave it to them. This is a metaphor for whAt Jesus does to us.

  • Jesus takes you
  • Blesses you — Do you remember when you first converted and accepted Jesus that great, happy time when you felt so connected to Him? Do you remember how you felt so joyful to be alive, and all around you saw evidences of his love and care for you? Maybe you began writing a blog, or composed happy music to share with others what Jesus has done for you? Yes. That is the blessing stage.
  • Breaks you — Your happy life begins to unravel. God reveals his glory to you and you see how you really are. Sinful, weak, inept. You’ve always been broken, it’s only now that you realize it. You lose your self-sufficiency.
  • Gives you a calling to serve others — Peter’s calling and Isaiah’s calling are just a few examples of this truth. Both were called to serve immediately they recognized how human they were.

3. God uses our messes to reach other people. He uses those things in the past that we had no control over, and those things we willingly walked into, to reach other people. Our scars and old wounds become channels for his grace to touch people whose lives we would not have been able to touch if we had been pristine. Satan’s plans are frustrated because he can’t knock you down.

4. Never forget that it is when you are weak that you are strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

God’s grace is enough; it’s all you need.
His strength comes into its own in your weakness.

– – –

Notes from Sermon by Pastor Ritchie Pruehs (1/25/14)

Video by Yours Truly 🙂

Doormat

And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I will be loved (2 Corinthians 12:15)

When I began this blog I said that I wanted to share about what I learned as I looked to God. I wanted to share with others my spiritual journey. I was feeling very smug in Christ, I suppose. Please excuse me. I was on the Blessing stage.

Lately I’ve been examining myself and why I do what I do. I’ve been searching within my heart, and scrutinizing my motives. Is my service to others a duty? Is Jesus in the center of it all?

I think about how dejected I sometimes feel because I think that I’m not making much of a difference in people’s lives or making any significant positive changes in my life as a result of the service I do…but mostly (this is mortifying to admit but necessary to say), I feel like I keep making people a priority when those same people think of me as second choice, or replaceable.

Quite honestly, this struggle did not exist until I got a job and suddenly every precious minute counted. And my time finally began to be equated with money. Last week the struggle came to a head. Yes, I’ve reached the Broken stage….I think.

Last week I read a quote from Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest

The mainspring of [our] service is not love for men, but love for Jesus Christ. If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love of God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men.

That paragraph blew my mind. Chambers goes on to say that with the realization of how Jesus deals with us and how he has “saved us to the end of our meanness, our selfishness, and sin, nothing that we meet with from others can exhaust our determination to serve men for His sake”

He presents us with Paul’s case, Paul’s willingness to become a “doormat” for others for Jesus’s sake. He was met with abuse, ingratitude, calumny from the ones he gave the gospel to. He was persecuted, beaten, almost killed…and still he did what he did—he was a doormat for others to make use of—only because of his love of Jesus.

My soul-searching this week did not reveal to me that my motives are pure. On the contrary. I am selfish. I serve others, but in my heart of hearts I expect them to return the favor, or at least give credit when it’s due. That’s wrong.

I’m also a fake. Because there’s a few people whom I know who look to me for some spiritual guidance, and I cannot give them anything. Well. I DO, I listen to them and talk to them and they walk away feeling good or at least feeling better. But I think that is also wrong. How can I minister others? Was I not the one that recently complained to my mom Who will minister to ME? And Why doesn’t the person I care about, care about ME for once?

It’s a wonder I’m still compelled to continue writing in this blog. But like I said before, this blog details my spiritual walk with God, and this is where it has led me. Whoever said that transformation from the sinful human to the Holy nature was like a pleasant saunter?

No one said it.

Holiness to the Lord

For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building (1 Corinthians 3:9)

We are to remember that God has the ownership of all, and that our pursuits are invested with a sacredness that they did not possess before we enlisted in the army of the Lord. Every action is to be a consecrated action, for it occupies God’s entrusted talent of time.

Holiness unto the Lord is inscribed on all our actions, because our whole being is brought under subjection to God.

–E. G. White (Manuscript 49, 1898)

My first job after graduating from university was at a law firm. It was an experience I’ll never forget, particularly because the nature of the work required that I grow up. I had to step outside of my comfort zone and do things that I had never done before. Serve unlawful detainers? Check. Serve subpoenas and deal with uncooperative receptionists and door men to get it done? Check. Receive all manner of people in the office and call all manner of agencies to get the information I needed (a real challenge for someone as introverted and timid as I was then)? Check.

The legal environment was something I had never experienced before. It’s a fast-paced and demanding line of work. You also encounter in each case so much drama, tragedies, suffering and loss that it seemed to me that one got used to it–nothing was shocking anymore. Maybe only stupid. Oh, they laughed a lot at the stupidity of some of the people who came to us. I think that is why it seemed that the people I worked with seemed to me to be rather cynical.

It was not just that. I’d been a “good” girl all the time, so the environment was rather a shock to me. People swore liberally in their conversations, and as to their–ahem–morals, they didn’t really let them get in the way of doing things that are better not shared here. It was odd to them when I did not laugh at a witty joke full of innuendo, too. In time, however, my boss refrained from saying some types of jokes in my presence because my ears were “virgin” (as he called it), and some coworkers apologized to me whenever the swearing got really bad.

Where did that come from? I wondered. I never preached to them, saying–what you are doing is bad. What you are saying should fill you with shame. Nope. I just did my job–and I did it well, too. And it wasn’t that I was so unapproachable or timid and was living in a silent and isolated little bubble of my own. Nope. After getting the hang of the job I was energetic and friendly with everybody in the office.

* * *

I think that if we are Christians, we must live up to our namesake. Not just in church, or during church activities. Not just among our Christian friends and brethren, but among the people we work and live with. We are instruments, and once committed to God, we are to do God’s work even as we do our everyday labor.

People are not reached by the bullhorn guy who is preaching fire and damnation. People are reached by the Christian friend or the Christian coworker. People like you, and people like me, who live up to their Savior’s name.

Milk

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. (Hebrews 5:12-13)

“How long have you been a believer?” They ask me
“Oh, I was born in the faith” I reply “I’ve been a Christian all my life”
“Oh that’s nice!”

So it should be, right? I mean it’s 26 years. Fancy that!

If I was born in the faith 26 years ago—and I had grown and grown slowly but steadily (experiencing joys and sorrows, trials and triumphs—all holding fast to the word of God), I should be much deeper in my relationship with God than I am at the moment. Indeed, the contents of this blog would be radically different. I would not be gleaning from the writings of others and putting them here. Instead, I would be an Oswald Chambers, or a Mark Finley, an E.G. White or a C.S. Lewis, publishing something inspired that others would quote and put on their FB pages.

Being a believer is not the same as being/growing in the faith. So while I have believed in God for 26 years [and that’s nothing fancy: even the devils believe—and shudder! (James 2:16)], my time as a person who is trying to get closer and more intimate with God—a person in the faith—is much, much less than that.

So there are many who feed on milk; surface truths, accepted meanings of a certain passage, and what the Pastor or the doctrine of their fathers says. People who give the Bible a quick reading a few times a week, and pray three times a day the same prayer they have prayed for years. That is not enough to make us grow.

God is calling us to attain in him something more excellent than we ever thought possible. He wants us to go beyond the milk stage of Christians who are young in the faith and get to the solid food. He wants us to be deeper and to get to a point of a relationship that is more intense than we can imagine. He wants us to have spiritual discerning that will make us see right from wrong with clearer eyes. This is done by getting more acquainted with spiritual things and living at a higher, spiritual level.

Until we are deep in God, and have really walked with him, until we give deep thought and much research to the word of God there is nothing that we can share to others. I can post innumerable quotes from my favorite writers here or on FB, but if I don’t seek to go beyond the surface truths how am I to ever bring to you something that is original, God-inspired, and that will inspire you?