Abandoned. Lost to the sight of those who were once so important in a life.
But . . . Beautiful to the eye willing to see anew.
streaming living waters from the Word poured out for me
Christians are asked to erase lines and move fences of right and wrong, and not just accept this, but society demands we celebrate it too. ―Ravi Zacharias
Thirty years ago Michael Jackson made the world sit up and take notice when he did the moonwalk” on national television – a dance move that captured the attention of the entire world, and the next day kids all over America were trying out the move on the playground. What was so cool about it? He somehow was able to glide backward across the stage while looking as if he was walking forward. In Christiandom we have a name for the idea that one can look like they are moving forward but are actually moving backward – it’s called “backsliding”. Funny how you never hear that used much anymore, maybe because the Church is too busy trying to make the World believe we are moving forward and don’t want anyone to see that it’s all a show.
Perhaps we prefer the term “compromise”, it sounds so much more palatable. Today culture looks at the backsliding of the Church and Christians as a positive compromise – an action to be celebrated as revolutionizing the relationship of the Church and the World. Ravi Zacharias said it perfectly, “These days it’s not just that the line between right and wrong has been made unclear, today Christians are being asked by our culture to erase the lines and move the fences, and if that were not bad enough, we are being asked to join in the celebration cry by those who have thrown off the restraints religion had imposed upon them. It is not just that they ask we accept, but they now demand of us to celebrate it too.” Whether it is on the issue of abortion, gay rights, pitting the State against the Church, freedom of religious speech or simply sharing one’s faith with a friend, our culture wants us to keep quiet and be nice.
If we can allow for everyone to get into Heaven (eventually) ala Rob Bell’s “Love Wins”, or give out love and grace like candy to children with no whiff of repentance or forgiveness necessary as so many are touting, then the unsaved and barely-saved will be quite happy with us. If we could just avoid calling other “Christian” religions cults and play nice with the Mormons, Scientologists and Jehovah’s Witnesses then the people who are judging us but don’t want to know us will be much more satisfied that we are “loving one another” properly. But there’s the rub – compromise with the World doesn’t gain us the salvation of the unsaved and it doesn’t gain us favor with these men, it simply sends us backward across the stage of history and out of favor with God.
Let’s face it, we are where we are for such a time as this – not to gain anything — but to risk everything. We are where we are for such a time as this — not to make an impression — but to make a difference. We are the ones with the answers, the only answers to a world needing to know that God hasn’t changed. When they ask us why things are not as they wish we need to be able to point them to a God that still moves forward – and doesn’t fake it. Just as our biblical forerunners went counter-culture, defied the “norm” and sought the Lord when faced with trouble, terror and opposition, we also need to take hold of truth and pray until we can live that truth.
We pentecostals have a responsibility to be people of power and of His presence. When we present a namby-pamby Gospel we are simply trying to make people think we are moving when we are actually drifting backward. Why don’t we simply say “yes, living a gay lifestyle is sin – just as a lifestyle of gluttony, adultery, theft or murderous rage is a sin”? Why do we dance around the right to speak God’s truth when someone might be offended while watching the Muslim or Hindu down the hall stop to kneel and pray without a word spoken against them? Is our God less powerful than theirs? Do we doubt that He desires us to walk in His favor? Do we even believe He gives words of knowledge in the marketplace and brings healing power and restoration to the lost through His people? When was the last time you or someone in your congregation prayed for a healing and saw it happen before their eyes? When did you last have a prophecy or tongue with interpretation in your church services?
In Esther 4 Mordecai told Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Will we be the silent ones who refuse to wrestle with whether we believe the miraculous is still a part of the life of the Christian, those who fear the idea of being the bringer of relief and deliverance to those oppressed by Satan? This is not the time to pretend we are moving when we are simply too afraid to be radical – to be zealous for God – this is a time to wrestle with God until we know His power and presence and are anxious to pass it on to those who are looking to us to bring the kingdom of God into their lives. It isn’t a matter of giftings or position, it’s a matter of being a man and woman of God who believes in the power of God and lives in the power of God. It isn’t enough to have right theology – until we can say our churches are seeing what was seen as normal in Acts then we must continue to be hungry for His presence. We sing of wanting to see His power, His love, His fire fall on us – but if we aren’t willing to go to the closet and pray until we believe that fire WILL fall then we will continue to slide into the “comfortable” place where the world can’t tell the difference between the Christian and the man on the street.