Saturday, March 21, 2009

Are You a Mucky, Muddy Hand Grabber?

When you think about "attending church," what is it that comes to your mind? What happens at your once or twice weekly meetings, and what changes are wrought in your life on a continual basis as a result? (wrought-produced or shaped by beating with a hammer, as iron or silver articles.) How is your walk with God affected? And perhaps the most important question, is God permitted to attend, or does the business of church effectively leave Him standing at the door hoping to be invited in?

If our gatherings were met with the hardcore Word of God the way Jesus and His disciples taught, and we were continuously challenged to raise our standards to live a God-centered life; if we were without the entertainment factors and the cutsie aberrations we expect from the pulpit, would we still go? (I encourage you to read the book of Acts, and study how the Word was preached with power and anointing, and how the disciples walked upon the earth and what fruit was born of it. Thousands came to the Lord even though there were no studies done, no careful planning and practicing of the how to's of keeping people satisfied, no cushions on the carefully arranged seats, you get my drift...)

If, at each meeting, instead of being an audience waiting to be so entertained by feel good music and charismatic speakers, each one of us was made to step out of our comfort zones to actually participate in the plan and the purpose God had for us, enlarge our tents, and be what God created us to be, would we attend with fervor and expectancy?

What if when we came together, instead of feeling good about ourselves and what we could GET from the hand of God, we were convicted about how we should GIVE, and we were taught to live the principles of true Kingdom building outside the four walls of the church and into the harvest fields around us, would we want to participate?

And to camp here for a moment, the kind of giving I'm talking about transcends the tithe and participating in doings within and around the church building. I'm talking about getting our hands dirty, about sacrificing beyond what may be comfortable. The GOING into all the world that Jesus commanded those who were His disciples to do...

I have this picture in my head...my feet are stuck in the miry clay, and there are many stuck with me. I cannot get myself out, and I can't help anyone else out, although their burdens weigh heavier on my heart than my own. And Jesus comes, grabs my mucky, muddy hands, lifts me out, and sets my feet on a solid rock. I am safe and set free! Instead of gloating about being on the rock, I reach out and grab the mucky and muddy hands of those who are still stuck, and am used of God to help lift them out so that they too can stand on the Solid Rock. This is the sacrificing I'm talking about. Getting beyond ourselves and reaching out, really reaching out and giving out of the blessings we've been given, no matter how difficult or even frightening it may seem.

Did you know that we are ALL called to be missionaries? Mucky, muddy hand grabbers? Right beneath your feet, wherever you go, you are a minister of reconciliation! (2 Corinthians 5:17-19) It's your reasonable service to minister the love, mercy and grace of the Savior to those around you every day! I digress, but not so much...

If instead of coming together and engaging in social pleasantries and chit chat, gossip, backbiting and covert plotting against one another, we met with purpose to join our hearts together in true fellowship, where we would uplift and encourage each other in the Word, foster, nurture, and cultivate the gifts in each other, and made plans to GO and do the greater things Jesus said we would do in His name, how many of us would still be faithful to the meetings?

It's time for the "church" to come out of it's sleepy, comfortable state. The time of lukewarm, feel good, gimme glee club church services are over. Wake up, oh sleeper! The time is short! (1Cor. 7:29-31) Put a sword in one hand and a shovel in the other, and begin to be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only. (Nehemiah 3:17-18) We only have a few moments left to sow in tears and reap in joy, for the harvest is white NOW. The greatest gift we can give the greatest Giver is to win a soul for His Kingdom. Remember, we are His hands and feet on the earth, not so much to be used by Him as to be useful to Him. It's time to return to the kind of living the disciples lived...going forth in the Spirit's power, unafraid, unashamed, and uncompromisingly proclaiming the truth until He comes...THIS is church!

Matthew 9:36-38 (New King James Version)
36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Acts 2:46-47
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

9 comments:

  1. How blessed I am to read your blog, and even more blessed to know that others, like myself, have the same desire to get down and dirty in the reality of sharing our faith. God loves the ones that are willing to get up and out of the simplicity of life, and the conveniences, and do as He did - walk along dusty roads, in sandals and love on those that He met. They were the ones that met up with a Living God, the very one who comes to give life! thank you for sharing!

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  2. Kathy, you spoke from your heart of all you have learned and God has revealed His tender mercy to you for your next challenge in life. before the aposotles could be used in the book of Acts they had to walk with Jesus through the Gospels and you have just come through a Gospel experience,

    Love you.

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  3. Good stuff. Personally, I'd be ecstatic if they sold all the cathedrals (my personal term for 'any' church building) and put the money to good use; i.e. WWJSIO, what would Jesus spend it on.

    We are most certainly distracted by our walks with Jesus by all the peripherals along the path. To this day the best worship experiences I ever had were on my knees and in the dirt of India--no instruments, no special lighting, no overhead projectors, no pews, and no shoes.

    Now having said all that, one of the reasons I like my church (even though they have most of that junk), is that the pastor goes out of his way, over and over again, to make the point that Jesus Christ is our focus. But still (I confess) I do like my flesh tickled.

    I went to see KP Yohannan (www.GFA.org) speak last night and he told an interesting story. A woman came up to him once and asked him to exercise the 'smoking demon' inside of her she so she could give up cigarettes.

    He said, "I can exercise a demon ma'am, but I cannot exercise your flesh."

    Point well taken KP.

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  4. Kath, you know how much we share in this vision. Our church gatherings have become nothing more than a comfortable ride on the "soul train", as the conductor shouts, "all aboard!". I do believe, however, that the "soul train" is arriving at its final destination. The revival of the Spirit that is emerging is bringing us to the end of ourselves, and I believe that the Lord is using us to employ His "no child left behind" act. So let us hop off the "soul train" and in doing so, make sure that "no child is left behind" in the move of His Spirit.

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  5. This was well written and voiced very clearly my personal sense of dissatisfaction with the "building" called the church. I have known for some that the "building" that is called the church was flawed and out of step, and worse, divided! It's even more so today. A huge per centage of those who call themselves by the name of Christ, claiming to be His followers, are diametrically opposed to one another. But how can that be if we are reading the same Bible...serving the same Father God and cellularly growing in Him as a unified body? A house divided against itself cannot stand. Right? So how has this happened? Perhaps because the focus has gotten off of GOD IS/GOD SAID....and has become much more centered on PASTOR IS/PASTOR SAYS. That being true, there is a terrible fallout ocurring...and that is the weakening of the Fear of God and the strengthening of a need to be "politically and spiritually tolerant." II Chronicles 7:14 is still the cry of God's heart to us...and as much as He tells us IF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME WILL HUMBLE THEMSELVES AND PRAY , AND SEEK MY FACE AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS, THEN WILL I HEAR FROM HEAVEN AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SINS AND HEAL THEIR LAND" The equal and opposite is also true. For every action or lack thereof, there is an equal and opposite reaction. "IF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY NAME DO NOT HUMBlE THEMSELVES AND PRAY, AND SEEK MY FACE AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS, THEN IT WILL BE SILENT IN HEAVEN, I WILL NOT FORGIVE THEIR SINS AND WILL NOT HEAL THEIR LAND!"

    Think about it...a house divided against itself CANNOT, WILL NOT STAND!!!! Entertaining, tickling ears, being politically correct is all spoken about in the Bible as to be expected in the last days. And those who choose to go down
    that road have some very serious consequences in store for them. "Sorry I never knew YOU! Depart from me you workers of iniquity!"

    God is not playing church. He is not about all the hype, pomp and circumstance nor is He about all the mega churches that have learned from the world how to put on the Big Top, seeker- friendly, motivational, high tech performances and shows!

    It is about becoming more and more like Jesus in our character and bringing pleasure to Him in all that we say and do!

    Sorry if I rambled but it was a flow that needed to come out of me I guess!

    Keep writing these thought provoking blogs. Hopefully more will begin reading them and participate as well.

    Called to the Kingdom for such a time as this...
    Sharalee

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  6. I am pretty bummed...I wrote a long comment and this blog ate it up and didn't post it. Just know I agree and this is very good!!!! Jeep em' coming!

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  7. Oh...maybe it didn't! We'll see! :)

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  8. What an excellent picture you created! Only Christ can give us the ability to have clean hands and at the same time be mucky, muddy hand grabbers.

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  9. Wooowee! It's always well worth the wait when I finally get around to reading your blogs. I'm so glad that you're broadcasting the uncompromised truth on behalf of the Lord. We're at the point of no return now. It's time more than ever to get dirty. No more histrionics, manufactured ecstasy, "bless me clubs", or retread tradition. God doesn't have to use us for anything but He chooses to.(Isaiah 41: 9-13). He hasn't chosen us to be inanimate, but to live with purpose - His purpose.
    Glad to lock arms with you and be inspired to do good works. Keep it coming! Let the Spirit rip!

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