On These Pages Are The Stories Of Our Family We Go Together ! Welcome To The World As Viewed Through Our Eyes
Lynette .......... Caedmon .......... Libby .......... Tom

Monday, August 3, 2009

My Wife Married a Heathen

I am disenchanted with the whole modern business of church.

We tithe, the church builds. Some sanctuaries now have stadium seating. Audio-Visual departments have gone professional. We long to sing hymns of praise, yet the worship experience is more akin to being at a rock concert. Can one really pay attention to the sermon, when there are film cameras / spotlights / microphone boom arms to distract? How many screens does it take to show a close-up of the pastor and worship team? How many satellite churches (watching live feeds of the service) does your church need to have before it has made the big time? When I get home, do I really want to log-in to my I-Tunes account and pay to download today's music program of the worship? Church grounds have become campuses. How many buildings are enough? Does yours have bounce houses, a pond with paddle boats, contemplation gardens too? What about parking lot traffic directors?

God's message is timeless, but modern thinking is that Christianity needs a new voice to survive, and only by catering to the young do churches keep their pews filled. Does your paster down-dress in order to be "cool"? Come as you are, wearing t-shirts, shorts, and sandals with lattes in hand... no problem. You no longer have to go across the street for a cup of coffee - the latest building renovation has included a coffeshop and a bookstore where you can buy books/art/music from the latest in-vogue mega-church pasters and Christian authors near and far. Every need can be met when you step through the modern church doors - there is an overwhelming sense explosion, emotionally and intellectually, of what the modern church experience can provide. The economy may be bad, but the coffers can be kept full with the right message to God's family. Actually, you don't even have to think about tithing - you can sign up for automatic weekly deductions from your bank account - no thinking involved... it's automatic!

Contempory is in, and Traditional is ... Traditional, what's that?

You say, but wait!, what about the great missions work of the church? We long to fulfill the great commandment. It seems to me that if every other church I hear about has overseas missions trips to the same far off places, these people groups must be doing quite well and Christianity must be spreading at a feverish pace. I wonder if they will someday see our country as in need of evangelizing! Missionaries are sent all over the world, yet many times we forget about the unchurched, the poor and homeless, the orphans and widows in our own communities.

The modern church machine keeps on churning... Congregations are so big now you just can't "just go to church". Just going to church is but a pittance, a gesture. But since you are there, please make the effort to feign interest and comfortableness in shaking every hand around you after the first round of pop christian songs are performed and the announcements are made. You're "doing church" wrong if you don't also belong to a small group within the church. The mantra is that "you need to get connected". Don't you really want to be a part of the church family? Belonging to one small group is good, but to two or more makes you an even better member. Oh, and don't forget about finding a community group to fit in with either.

Do you think Satan smiles when he hears of one of God's children talking like this?
My cynicism breeds dissatisfaction. Does anyone else see something awry?

So, am I better off for it? Am I a better Christian?

The alarm chimes, Another day of work.
O God, I should be thankful in uncertain financial times like these.
However, the thought doesn't cross my mind.

Gotta get up, gotta get going. Breakfast is not an option.
I am fast out the door before I awaken the little ones.

A quick kiss from my beloved wife and the promise of driving safely is forgotten as I speed down the highway.

What is my purpose? Where is my direction?
I didn't really see when and how I got in it, but have I become so accustommed to the rat-race that I now can't get off?

I leave God at home and go to work in order to bring home a paycheck. I plot and scheme, listen to and pass on gossip, look-out only for #1 on the corporate ladder, talk to co-workers and patients as if I were a heathen at times... More money is better and indirectly I find myself agreeing with the world that the more the merrier. I can still look down on the under-priviledged and down-trodden and feel as if I am better off and more secure. My paycheck affords me the lifestyle I am accustommed to.

I have a mortgage to pay down, a house to maintain, 2 cars to upkeep and save for another when the time comes, retirement plans to fund, organic food to buy, children's activities to pay for, clothes and toys for the growing children to buy, education to save for, a dream family vacation in paradise yet to be paid for...

What a comfortable life I have... I have almost everything I want.
Yet where is God in my life?

He is everywhere.

The problem is I just miss seeing His unbounding grace.

Through no work of my own, I am who I am. He made me. This I do not appreciate.

He has answered my prayers for a wife and for children. I am loved.
He has given my family and I health. He provides for our basic needs and boundlessly more beyond. He has placed a hedge of protection around us thus far.

He has given me the means to have luxury and comfort.
He blesses me and I immediatley forget that it was Him who gives.

He has been carrying me on his shoulders without me knowing it while I have been blindly flailing about, and like the timeless poem, leaving only one set of footprints in the sand along this part of the journey of my life.

I should be humbled, yet I am not. There is more for me to learn.

The war for my soul is not over. My heart needs renewal, to feel a new beating to the roar of Aslan as he calls his people to the front lines. The Earthly battle has begun and I am not aware that of late I have been sitting on the sidelines and that it is always Jesus doing the fighting for me.

The great adventure of Heaven is not yet begun, but if I choose the wrong side I will never experience it.

Jesus is our great king, but how do I acknowlege that daily?

My spirit has been troddened down by the world. It needs revival. My eyes need to see with a new clarity - looking through the lens of eternity, rather than the cloudy, murky, distorting, hypnotic, and beguiling lens of this world. Daily recognition of the enemy Satan and his minions as real and dangerous is paramount. When and where I err, I have the potential to lead my family astray. God's word says that the responsibility of being the spiritual leader in my family is mine. Oh that I not forget that calling!

I would pray, but I don't have the words. But Jesus has already given me the words...

Our Father, Who art in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven
Give ME this day, MY daily bread
And forgive ME MY sins, as I forgive those who sin against ME
And lead ME not into temptation, But deliver ME from evil
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.
Amen !

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