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Monday, May 31, 2010

This particular post is for believers, not non-christians. Every time we intimate that the horrible murders and assults taking place nowadays in our public schools is an inevetible result of our forbidding any mention of the cross our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in those schools, we are quickly met with the incredulous response, " How could a loving God allow this to happen to innocent people just because we don't allow Him in our schools anymore?" It's sort of a "God, protect us from evil, but don't have Your people push Your Word or Your will on us!" It makes no sense, yet we expect that from a society of lost individuals today.

But how about today's twenty- first century American Churches? What is it that squelches a genuine move of God right here, where we claim to allow The Lord free reign in the midst of His people? We know that for the most part, He seems to be waiting for us to simply let Him move, yet we're perplexed that He doesn't. We act as if everything's OK, even though we know it isn't. We continue on, not daring to mention the 'elephant in the room', for fear that we may discover we're not where we ought to be insofar as our passion for the Living, risen Christ is concerned. Do we love Him and do we love one another? Jesus Himself tells us that these are the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22: 36-40).

I had a phone discussion with Pastor David Sloane earlier today concerning what has happened among the Body of Christ over the last forty or so years, especially how it relates with the way things were back in the heyday of the "Jesus Movement". We both notice, as may many of you who come to this website, that we as a body are no longer concerned with following Him completely in the spirit of agape love. We'd rather put forth our own 'programs', as it were, and believe that God will bless our efforts, but God forbid that we should get our hands dirty!

Pastor Sloane has told me that when the hippies started coming to Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, California (in droves, by the way!), there was a problem that some in the Church brought to Pastor Chuck Smith. These hippies were not wearing shoes- "They'll ruin the carpet!" What did Pastor Chuck do in response to the concern- kick them all out until they agreed to put shoes on? No- He replied, "Then we'll tear out the carpet!"

Now, THAT is the response of a man who loves his Lord and who loves people! Human beings- dirty, barefoot and all- were more important to him than carpet. Is that how we are today? How about the way we look at ministry? There is certainly nothing wrong with biblical education- we need to, indeed we must be- students of the Word of God. But are we looking to the Word and its Author, or do we find ourselves adulating preachers who have such great credentials (education-wise)?

I'm just curious here. Would you rather hear a well known, extensively trained preacher expound to you from the Word of God, or would you prefer to listen to a man or woman who was not so secure in themselves, but who desperately wanted you to receive from God?

When you prefer the presence of those who want God's will more than anything else, then you are in a position to know Christ more passionately. But be warned- things may get a little messy. You may be brought out of your comfort zone, but you'll be blessed beyond words!

I want to get back now to how things have changed among the Body of Christ over the last few decades. When the 'Jesus Movement' was in full-swing, Christians from all denominations, all walks of life, all educational backgrounds were forced to look at things a little differently all of a sudden. Many were offended at the audicity of these young believers who wouldn't even cut their hair or wear shoes, who nonetheless were street-witnessing, telling everyone they came into contact with about their Savior.

Who were these sloppy upstarts? Why would anybody listen to such unknowledgable bums, when there were well dressed, confident, respectable preachers to hear instead?.....Others- like Pastor Chuck Smith- looked beyond things like physical appearence, affluence and social standing, and MINISTERED to them! ....

And the Jesus Movement spread like wildfire, as people were reading their bibles, adoring their Savior, having bible studies, and bring countless others into the Kingdom by the power of His Spirit. Today, we bring in consultants and conduct classes on how to attract people, grow our churches and market our 'product', the Gospel- AND WE WONDER WHY GOD STEPS BACK, why He doesn't move in our midst as He once did!

Where are the believers- preachers and laymen alike- who absolutely crave the will of God- who so desire His presence in our midst that our own methods and programs are no longer attractive to us? I believe that looking to, and depending on God Himself for His Holy Presence, for ministry- for our very life- is the major difference between what was once the thrust of the Gospel, and much of what passes for ministry today. Those silly, dirty hippies were just naive enough to believe that, as they sought CHRIST HIMSELF, He would honor them with Himself. And He did! Today we can still see the fruit of their labors.... Beloved, think on these things.

En Agape,
Jim Ewing