SCRUB OAKS AND BELIEVERS!

10 07 2014

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One of the reasons that I believe Christianity isn’t as contagious with the watching crowds as it should be is because those of us who claim to wear the name of the Lord aren’t bringing our best game to the table often enough. I am not just talking about being able to spout off Scripture like we are auditioning to be an auctioneer. I am not just talking about conforming to acceptable church etiquette and minding our manners! I am talking about being the people that the Bible talks about when it comes to identifying those who love God and love others!

Christians are supposed to be the ones who lead by love. They are those who serve without whining. They go the extra mile without being asked. They turn the other cheek and forgive when they would have every right to fight! They aren’t worried about others having to know their names- but are content if they only leave Jesus upon the lips of those they are surrounded by! They answer to a higher standard. They do what they do for a divine audience. They care about what others just carelessly sweep under the rug. They are not striving to be politically correct but are praying to become powerfully connected to a culture that is looking for leadership with honor. Integrity matters and excellence counts- even when nobody else but God is looking!

Could it be that maybe too many of us are trying to live a supernatural way using only very natural means? Could it be that we might mean well- but our good intentions are dying on the pages of our Day-Timer? Could it be that we have become numb or too comfortable? Maybe we have settled when we should have been surging? We are all guilty of serving God left-over’s when he definitely deserves the first cut of who we are and what we have to give. Our faith could very well resemble showing up on race day to run the marathon when we haven’t even trained a day leading up to this event or prepared our bodies so that they may have the endurance they need to sustain a pace and cross a finish line. Our culture likes to celebrate the victory before the battle has even begun!

Maybe we could learn a spiritual lesson from the scrub oak tree. Consider this a modern day parable for the soul! During the wintertime all the trees lose their leaves except the scrub oak. And it has these crummy little leaves and the wind blows like mad and it keeps blowing through autumn and it blows through winter and through it all, this scrub oak still has its leaves. Eventually come springtime, the scrub oak finally surrenders its leaves! Do you know how? Because the new life of what needs to blossom finally pushes off the old ones that have long been dormant.

I think this is a really good illustration of what needs to happen in the Body of Christ in our present day society. It won’t come through verbal attacks or militant protests. Just shouting at our neighbors or lifting up our noses in blatant disgust as we boastfully shove our holier than thou lifestyles down their throats won’t work! It isn’t via alienation or worse yet- just compromising so badly that nobody would be able to point out even one difference between a believer and an unbeliever! It will be when the church finally and humbly allows the flow of the Holy Spirit to push the growth of new life into the heart of Christians! The new life of God will cause the old life in us to cease existing! The rot and the ruined will fall away and the vibrant and the victorious will be here to stay!

I believe with all of my being that if you want to change the community for Jesus Christ, the worst way to go about it is to stand in judgment and protest and just point condemning fingers. But what would happen if we who claim to follow the Lord actually began living a holy life that oozed the grace and truth of our loving Savior? The outcome would be that others would want to come to Jesus Christ. They would recognize on their own that they are missing a huge piece that isn’t found in a stuffy religion but is discovered in a real relationship with God. And if those of us who go to church started living like that- the end result would be that Cape May County would not be able to ignore us! They would have to deal with the evidence of changed lives happening everywhere in their midst!

I’m not interested in marching anywhere. I am just interested in winning people to Jesus Christ and allowing him to push off the old by the new life that comes. God help us from settling to just create a ruckus when we are capable of being initiators of a real revival! This would happen if we would just become what we say that we already are!

If you are looking to take Jesus beyond the walls of the local church this weekend- join us this Saturday, July 12th, from 5:00pm until 7:00pm at the Cape May County Park and Zoo Bandstand. We are calling it “Lighthouse In The Park” and it will be a time of worship, inspirational testimonies, and even a spiritual challenge or two from me! It is free and it is a time to show our community Jesus! I would be honored if you wanted to join us. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and let’s allow God to use us as his holy fireworks that others would stand amazed at the glory of God in our own backyard!


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