"Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then, it will be a really good day." Louie Schwartzberg
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Nothing new under the Sun and becoming un-disillusioned

posted by Susan Dominikovich on , , ,


What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 1:9

Madeline has taken to secreting herself away in her room and writing in her journals.  She has different books for different purposes and it is her favourite thing to do in the world.  Besides re-naming our cat "Lily," reading her Royal Story books while sitting in a tree or running hardout with her daddy to improve her times.

You may be surprised to know that Madeline's journaling interest comes from her daddy and not from me.  I could never quite get the point of writing something just for myself, with no audience.  Ask me to write a letter or an essay and I am your woman.  And I believe the blog to be the best invention of my lifetime.  Besides Starbucks and the Wii (I have four kids). In blogging, I get to craft my thoughts and know that I will have an audience.  

So Paul got out his stack of hard-bound journals to show his daughter yesterday.  They are treasures and fascinating documents of a young man's journey overseas.  His first journal is a little black book which pretty much itemises the food that he ate in the Middle East.  And how often he got sick. Then his journey necessitates the need for larger journals which offer the reader more detailed descriptions of his spiritual awakening, the people that he came across, his days at Capernwray Bible School, tales of hitch-hiking across Europe and of course, wooing a young Canadian girl living in Vancouver and studying at Regent College.  Like I said, treasures.

He didn't read any of his journals to the children.  Not yet.  But he did show them to Madeline to which she exclaimed, "wow, you wrote so straight even without lines on the page!"

The perspective of a nine-year old.

But then later that night, as I was sound asleep knowing I had an early wake up call to take a much-willing Buster dog (not) to the groomers, Paul perused the journals himself.  This morning I found a page marked and have asked his permission to copy it here.  He agreed but it is important to note that unlike my blog writings, these words were never intended for an audience.  They are the honest heart and impassioned words of a young man new in his faith who desired beyond anything else to see Jesus glorified on this earth.  All names have been changed.

Friday AM

I've been spending some time at my old church St. Lukes and related activities with mixed feelings.  As with any place of true Christian dwelling, there are some wonderful people and I've made so many good friends already.  I have a home group to attend on a Tuesday night and I can't praise God enough for how that is going.  It's very informal with plenty of sharing and has been concluded with a great time of prayer each night.  Lisa, Mary, Martin, Jennifer and Cara are strong Christians and we are all learning off one another.  My concern is for the Sunday church.  The sermons are very "nice" and people just go through the motions.  My major concern though is that Jesus isn't getting preached.  The Toronto Blessing has reached St. Lukes and as a result, everything is about the Holy Spirit.  It makes me angry in a controlled sort of way because the Holy Spirit didn't die on the cross to take my sin, He didn't rise again to conquer death, it's not Him we are called to be disciples of and it's certainly not the Holy Spirit who leads the life for me I am unable to lead in my own strength.  Jesus Christ God's Son is the answer to all these questions and it is this same risen Son of our Father in heaven that I will preach all the days of my life.  Whether God has a role to play through me at St. Luke's I'm not sure, but until I'm taken away from that church it is Jesus I will preach wherever possible.

David knew that it was the Lord who was the lamp and who turned our darkness into light.  With the guidance of Lord Jesus we will never walk in darkness.  Realising this truth there is never a need to fear the world and what it might hold for us.  We are the light of the world, but it is the light of Jesus that shines through us.  Loving Father, may all who meet us see the light.  Shine, Jesus, Shine.

Now I understand a little more his present disillusionment with the church.  His heart's desire then and now is still to preach Jesus and to belong to a church whose mission is to bring glory to God the Father through Jesus Christ, not as a tag or an added "oh yes of course we do that too" but as a determined focus, believing that if we do then true discipleship will occur and the love of Jesus will pour out to the community and in the streets through those well-fed disciples.  We have seen and heard of a concerning trend whereby pastors and leaders want their church to be bigger/prettier/louder than the church next door, where exciting stuff is seen to happen so that more people walk through the door.   Whether these people walk off the street or just walk in from another church is of less importance to the fact that they are walking in.  Until the church next door becomes bigger/prettier/louder and they walk out again.  And so on.  It is kingdom-building of a concerning kind.  

But there is nothing new under the sun.  The Apostle Paul chastised and corrected wayward churches 2000 years ago.  We will encounter churches which are misguided in their purpose and vision, whether well-intentioned or not.  In 1995 Paul belonged to a church like that.  And nearly 20 years later, we most certainly will encounter a church like that again.  Not every church but some.  A lot.  Maybe most.  

That is, if we think of the church as a place or an institution.  Notice I have used a lower case "c" in these examples.

But the Church, the remnant, disciples and followers of Jesus, they are everywhere whether they chat through facebook or meet together in a building, a coffee shop, a home, in a park or underground.  When they gather and when they are alone, they are the Church. God does not give up on the Church and neither should we (as much as I want to some days, I really do) unless we are willing to admit we think the devil is more powerful than God.  He isn't.  We already know that.  Jesus rose again.  Tick.  

When the Church allows Jesus to live in and through them, when they seek His presence through reading His Word, prayer and meditation and when they honestly yearn for growth in their lives based on that Word, then my goodness: the Church will grow.  The Church will grow as we grow:  mighty and strong and wise and good.  And patient and kind and self-controlled.  And so on. The Church will love as Jesus loved.  And the land will fill with the Father's glory.

Shine, Jesus, Shine.


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