As I ponder this new year and all the changes that it will bring, I can’t help but wonder what lies ahead for the Church at large. There is no doubt as we look around that people are hungry for something real. Modern day music lyrics strain with the weight of a cry for change, and truth, and something to ease the pain or fear that living in this world can bring. Television reality shows flood the media industry: everyone is looking to remodel something, as though changing a house, or wardrobe, or image can bring about the necessary relief from the struggle to find some form of happiness.
In the midst of it all, the Church is on the brink of a destiny waiting to be fulfilled. Looking back through history, in Moses’ day when the magicians in Pharoah’s court appeared to be able to copy Moses’ signs up to a point and then had to admit defeat, or when Elijah was able to call down fire on Mount Carmel after the prophets of Baal tried and failed to imitate the miracle, or when Queen Esther was able to go before the king and save the people of Israel from destruction at Haman’s hand (who pretended to love the king until he was exposed), God is trying, again, to raise up people who can stand in the gap to bring freedom and change. With uncertainty in the economy; a collapse in the foundation of families (and the attempt of certain groups to undermine the very definition of covenant marriages); the rise in teen-age suicide, and violent crimes, and drug trafficking, there has never been a greater need for hope.
As I look around at the Church, today, I see two things taking place. One, there is a shift in some towards works and superficiality…a vain attempt to control through one’s own efforts the changes taking place in the world. There is a shift, as in the world, to be THE deliverer…the one that rescues the “poor, down-trodden from the changes taking place.” The problem with this is that no one person can carry the destiny that was meant for a Church to fulfill (by Church, I mean that group of people world-wide who were meant to know Jesus intimately and reflect His heart to a frustrated, hurting world in a way that no other religion or man-made organization can carry out…a Body of people that can only fulfill this destiny as Christ, as the Head, gives them strength and strategy).
At the same time, there is a people rising up who are willing to humble themselves and lose everything to see the world the way Christ sees. They are willing to walk as Jesus walked…to die to their very reputations and be humiliated if needs-be to have just one opportunity to show the world the love of Christ. They are not superstars or fast-talkers with a misguided attempt to carry out strategies of their own design or steps for change: rather, they are willing to wait, and live out their daily lives in submission to Christ seeing daily the fruit that comes from letting His love shine through. In the midst of the darkness, they don’t curse, or grow angry, or bitter, or manipulative, or proud, but they shine a light that slowly burns and cannot be extinguished. They are a remant…a world-wide family that recognizes one another by the heart of Christ that glows on the inside. God is opening a door for them that cannot be shut…an open heaven where they daily seek His Presence and walk and talk with Him, and they, in turn, open the door to their hearts. May we be part of this remnant…may we let God make of 2009 a year that will mark a difference in our hearts through a courage in knowing, as we follow Him, that He is with us, and that, in the darkness, He will forever be our light.
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