Last Sunday was an interesting Sunday. In the morning service our pastor started joking about some of our regulars who
weren't there. The assumption was one was at the golf course for instance. I was surprised to hear that he'd rather be there
but then we went on to name places people would rather be as our pastor tries to get people to come on Sunday night which
I do applaud.
And then it came that that Sunday night at our Wild At Heart Bible study, which is for men only, we started discussing
prayer some. I had to say that is a very hard part of the Christian walk for me. While there may be other reasons I noticed
several guys could relate to this one. I mentioned it in fact after seeing the convo going that way.
Our teacher talked about how he can be driving down the road and start a prayer and then have his mind stray. "I wonder
what's on TV tonight. I'm looking forward to that sporting event tomorrow. Was that cute girl looking at me at work today?"
I had to smile because I've done the same thing several times. As one who debates online regularly I'll start praying for
someone I've debated and then start thinking, "You know, I should have said such and such." Before too long, my mind is off
recreating the debate and thinking of how to answer next time.
My conclusion was that it might be because we're all men. Men are creatures of action. We want to be in the thick of
things getting our hands dirty. If we know someone in our life who's been seriously hurt by someone we don't want to sit down
and counsel immediately usually. We want to go out there and deal with their aggressor.
It's quite easy in our day and age to get so caught up in ministry that we forget some of the more basic things and we
ourselves forget to be ministered too. I know there have been nights I've gone to bed wearing myself out on debate and thinking
that no one ministered to me that night and maybe that night I really needed it. Fortunately, I always read at night to get
my own personal ministry to myself in.
John Eldridge though also in his book "Wild At Heart" says that most Christian men are.......bored. I can sadly see that.
I have met several people that when they describe their Christian life it's like they're in quarantine. They don't see movies
or own a TV or anything like that. They live in their houses all day praying and reading the Bible alone. That sounds good
but I'll be honest, there's little to that that personally appeals to me. I still have this urge to know what's going on in
the world and I don't see all that is in this world as carnal and evil. After all, my Lord in creating the world said that
it was good. I doubt religious freedom was given for us to live in isolation.
And maybe you remember hearing the old saying that was said often though I don't hear it much now of kids being raised
and told "Anything fun is a sin." The best sermon I think I ever did was on pleasure and I am quite certain that such a statement
is not true. John Piper has said that "The pursuit of pleasure is not optional. It is essential."
Now why would that be? Because God is a pleasurable being. I have a professor who keeps describing him as "The infinitely
happy God." God is deliriously happy with his own existence yet when I see many of my brethren today I do not get that kind
of view from them.
What is the cause? One idea of mine is that familiarity has become a problem. We've heard the gospel so much that many
times it becomes old hat. That really shouldn't happen but it does. We know all the basics and we know all the Scriptures
but it seems like we've often ended it there instead of realizing what it means.
How many times do we sit down to read the Bible and think "These are the words of the most powerful and awesome being
in the universe." or prayed and realized we were talking to that same being. It's easy to lose sight of. Just consider some
of the sayings of the Bible.
Yesterday I picked up a copy of James White's book "The Forgotten Trinity." He starts by saying "I love the Trinity."
I love it too but he had to say that you don't hear that happen. To me, the Trinity is one of the most beautiful truths out
there yet so many of us go to church and say "God is a Trinity" but we don't have a clue what that means, what impact it has
on reality, how to articulate it, and how to biblically defend it. (This makes us easy prey for groups like the Jehovah's
Compare that with people like Ravi Zacharias who says that to him, the Trinity is one of the strongest arguments for
the authenticity of the Christian faith. Francis Schaeffer said that if there was no Trinity he might as well become an agnostic.
C.S. Lewis said that it was one of the most beautiful doctrines ever. Now is that not a difference from what you see in the
typical church today? (I personally would love to hear several sermons on the Trinity.)
Consider the awe of John 1:1-18. Think about such statements within it. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was
with God and the Word was God." John speaks in very vivid terms and the comes to what is one of the most amazing to me in
the passage. In verse 14 he says, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
Think about that. God became a man. The most powerful and awesome being became a little baby and then was a toddler.
After which he continued on through the adolescent years to live as a man for 33 years among us. He suffered and died the
most hideous death of all just for us and then rose again.
You know, there are a lot of Christians that chase after the sensational today. We want the Blackaby "Experiencing God"
stuff. We want Tommy Tenney's "The God Chasers." (Does anyone ever stop to think that Tommy Tenney though is a Oneness Pentecostal
which means that he denies the Trinity? Which God is he chasing?) We want to go to the Benny Hinn crusades and see all the
healings and we want to receive personal messages from God.
But how often do we overlook the real sensationals of the Bible? That a man came back from the dead by his own power
is indeed sensational. I was at a funeral last week. I can picture that if we had been there and the dead girl pushed open
her coffin and said "I'm back!" and started to interact with us like always, that would most certainly receive some attention.
But that has already happened! It already happened with the very Son of God! This is one reason I really don't need to
see many miracles today. I can just look to the ones in the past and realize that nothing will ever really top that. We so
often overlook the miracles we already have.
CBS has a new series coming out called "Joan of Arcadia" about a young girl who hears from God and gets visited by him
in different forms so she can do jobs for him. I'm curious to see this show and what it will be like but one part has captured
my attention in the previews.
At one time she says "Well how about a miracle?" The boy who is supposed to be God points to a tree and says "Well how
about that?" Joan answers with "That's a tree." The boy smiles and says "Well let's see you make one." The point is definitely
true. The common miracle that a tree exists even has been passed up.
So what am I saying? I'm saying I'm afraid we have made Christianity boring at times. I will admit that if I was a pagan
and I saw many Christians I know of today, I don't think I'd want what they have. They are, quite frankly, boring. However,
I do know several that are not that way.
You can tell when you hear a preacher preaching if he cares about what he is preaching or not. Those who have heard me
preach know I do care and I describe my preaching as a silent passion. I don't scream and shout a lot but I speak with an
intensity. However, I know several preachers that have bored me to no end. One a friend of mine and I discuss talk about when
he came to our church one Sunday and how we came very close to dozing off several times. It's a shame that would happen but
it does. To this day, I can't remember what he talked on.
The gospel is anything but dull. Christianity is certainly not boring. Now that doesn't mean that every second will be
party city. There will be hard times and much suffering. It's promised. There will be much joy also though. I think to how
sometimes people say "God doesn't want you to be happy." I think that's nonsense. If God doesn't want us to be happy, why
did he create Heaven?
And thank God Heaven is probably not like what we hear about from most people today. I have a friend who loves music
a lot but has told me "If all Heaven was was singing forever and ever, even I would get tired of it." I don't think it can
be because Paul makes it clear we can't even imagine what's there. I can imagine singing forever. There is something wild
and exciting waiting for us.
So to prepare ourselves for pleasure at the throne of God there what should be done here? Enjoying pleasure at the throne
of God here. This life is preparing us for the next one. Our choices will determine our eternity. Frankly, I don't want eternity
to be boring. I want it to be a blast.
How about you?