Monday, January 02, 2012

Don't have time to make a rhyme

Yes, I know, it is a contradictory title but stick with me a bit. For years, we (the Church as a whole) have made slogans that rhyme with the New Year that is coming in. For example, years ending in 7 usually have something to do with going to Heaven. Even heard that one about 2011. But now we are entering a new territory for our trendiness because for the first time in literally 100 years we are entering into years that we are not use to making rhymes with. I mean, for Pete's sake, what really rhymes with 12 that fits our recent trendiness? :<) And forget about the Teen years we are heading into. We might actually have to become clever again????

I've never really got into the whole rhyming thing anyway because from my experience, they are usually forgotten by mid January any way. I do believe at looking at the past year and learning from it and looking ahead and planning for it and as I have been in the process of doing that, I began looking at it in terms of my walk with God. In fact, I spoke about it this past Sunday and just have a few thoughts to share with those that care to read them. My introspection revealed to me that I've been guilty of giving God excuses at the end of a year for the things I should have done but failed to. Every excuse seemed a good one. My time is precious and scarce as far as the freedom of it. I'm busy doing "God" things all the time. Yeah, I know I need more prayer time, more study time, more conversation time with God but hey, I'm out there and doing it all the time.

So after much honesty and conviction I decided that the thing that I wanted to go after this year, more than I ever have before, is simply giving God my best and not my excuses. It's not much of a slogan or catch phrase and I really can't rhyme it with 12 but I am determined that when I look back at the end of this year, I'm going to be able to say that I gave God more than my excuses, I gave Him my best. 

That ideology got me to thinking about other things in the kingdom that we get sidetracked with. Do you know that finding fault with others was one of the first fruits of the sinful nature? Adam blamed the Woman that God gave him and Eve blamed the Snake that God had created so both of them essentially blamed God for their sin. One of the first things I look for in conflict resolution is who blames who first. More times than not that person, the blamer, is the person at fault.

I'm concerned in the Church world these days. Concerned with Ministers that continually find fault with other Ministers or ministries. Ripping and tearing, most times, even men and women that they do not know to shreds because of what "I've heard" or "they say." Maybe they have a different take on a traditionally held belief and because it doesn't line up with what I've always thought, they must be wrong. I believe we are afraid of being challenged to think or even defend what we believe with honest transparency that can hold up to scriptural challenge.

Don't get me wrong, I believe in challenging false and heretical doctrines that cannot possibly measure up to Scripture but I can live with the the fact that someone doesn't believe in Mansions in Heaven. (something that BTW cannot be found in the original Greek writings and before you send hate mail, I haven't stated what I believe on the matter) I read this week where one Minister was ripping on another Minister because of his belief in a OSAS (once save always saved) doctrine and to read it you would think that everything that the Man could possibly say would have to be wrong simply because it did not measure up to the other mans belief. While I am not a defender of OSAS, I do believe it is much more difficult to walk away from grace than traditional Pentecostals have always believed. In fact, the Word of God declares that I am "sealed until the day of redemption" but let's not confuse scripture with my traditional outlook. :<)

So why do these things bother me so much? It's because I believe we use them to blame others in order to make us feel better about ourselves and our own excuses for not doing what we should be. No where in the Great Commission do I read that we are to go out and attack other ministries. No where do I read where God has called me to be His Policeman because the Holy Spirit is not quite up to the job. No where do I read that I gain bonus points for tearing others down and in doing so, cast dispersion on christianity as a whole.

Let's face the facts. The World or the Lost or those without God do not care if I believe in speaking in Tongues and you don't. They don't care if you Baptize in "Jesus name" or  in the name of "the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. They don't care if I believe someone can backslide and walk away from grace and you don't. In fact, all that they see when these things occur are people that claim they believe in Jesus and just can't quit fighting about it and that my Friends, is the point. I am called to show the love of Christ to the world and quite frankly, ANYTHING less is nothing but an excuse wrapped in a shroud of self-holiness.

So I ask you today to join me in 2012. No rhymes, no gimmicks and no excuses. Let this be the year that we can look back on and say, "God, I've given you my best!" Yeah, it may still fall short and be inadequate but to be honest, I believe that God would be thrilled with a Church world that was simply better.