Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cleaning the Cup - Part One

Okay as you read this I am sorry I don’t have some elaborate study or dissertation on Grace, Faith, God or the Trinity in this post. I have been too swamped to do one of the things I enjoy immensely and that is to simply write. To share via keyboard my thoughts, theologies, and opinions! That being said – Let me quickly and simply state a small item of interest with you – in the changing of my mind regarding our culture today.

WARNING – you may be offended!

I find oddly that often times my mind develops a disposition and attitude towards a particular subject – it fully develops into action, disposition and perspective and it becomes ingrained eternally in my mind – THEN – God comes along and blows the whole thing away with His insight!

For some time now we have lamented of the attitude, prejudice and disposition of secular society’s growing intolerance for Christianity. Rightly so, for in many ways we are public enemy number 1 for an ever growing biased liberal agenda, and we, the Church, don’t like it!

Across the nation pulpits preach of such injustices, sins and unfair attacks on us – the Christians! A case I don’t dispute, “Preach on Brother!”

However in my ranting to God (yes, sometime I rant to God) He illuminated, quite brightly the source of their prejudice.


God “Why do you think they feel as they do?”

Craig: “ummm”

God: “Well since you have so many opinions on it – you must know?”

Craig: “Well I – because – um – it must be the devil?”

God: “Craig, the Church merely tastes the fruit of their own seed”


Think about it for a moment. Let’s take a look at some of the things the church has displayed for public viewing! We don’t need to go as far back as the Salem Witch Trials; we could, but let’s keep it a bit more contemporary!

In the last 20 years or so, many a pulpit on the public platform has been filled with hell fire and brimstone preachers who have, preached, ranted even, on the sins of rock music, loose living and the robbing of God… only to see those words become a seeming ruse in the eyes of the world, as these same prophets are found to be entangled in a web of prostitution, philandering and lies.

The world has seen others who have preached on the sacredness of marriage and finance, skillfully enumerating on the principles of purity, and then were discovered to be trysting with ministry secretaries and retarding financial records for personal gain.

The stage of humanity has witnessed the holy and celibate Catholic Priest who trust and confidence has been bestowed only to reveal the heartbreak as some have engaged in abuse and pedophilia.

Family Rights Preachers who have shouted the truth of moral conduct and integrity, from our platforms, behind Cross- laden pulpits, ensconced in stained glass, then grace the front page with stories of drugs and homosexuality.

How would you feel?

Perhaps you too would have your confidence in the Church, the message and the God they espouse to be a tad suspect, or shaken? Our image has been a bit dirtied; it has unfortunately lost some of its credibility, and shine. Yes, my siblings in Christ, we have been set at a disadvantage, so its time to knock that ole chip off… our culture has been damaged to some degree, not by the message, but by some who carried it.

Regardless of the contents, a poorly washed glass, even in the finest restaurant – makes even the most wonderful beverage intensely suspect.

The platform of our message is not as tied to it’s delivery as it is to the integrity of the vessel delivering it! You and I need to find the heart of God for people, the heart of God for society and begin to minister from His heart, with His passion, with His concern, and His love for purity.

The use of commercialized Christianity is over! The Church has to start operating in the values of Jesus Christ! NOT Commercial Christianity!

You and I need to make a complete and final decision regarding the importance of our integrity and our purity in the salvation of others, and our ministry.

Billy Graham realized that even one moral failure on his part, could possibly cost the salvation of thousands. The message it sent might supersede all the others he had labored so arduously to deliver.

Somehow we have to come out from the white washed pillars

Somehow we have to come out from the white washed pillars and stained glass into the streets and the homes of those who have no hope and have wrongly assumed Christians are hypocritical, superficial and greedy.

It is time to move past the pulpiteers

Past professional preachers

To those who desperately are seeking the heart of God, and the lost!

Relationships of love and service must be our greatest sermons, truth, purity and righteousness our most elaborate jewels!

I don’t pretend this is any small task. Certainly this requires love like we have yet to imagine, work that we have yet to engage, sacrifice that we have not before suffered, and effort we have yet to have toiled. But we can do it… CORRECTION – We must do it!

As Jesus cried over Israel, we realize He wept at their unbelief, their deception, and lost state. This disposition is seen most prominent, during their violent repudiation of Him – as He uttered
“forgive them Father for they know not what they do”

Those words came from our Christ while nailed to our cross.

However it was this condition of humanity that I believe oft times was His motivation. As the old song goes – “When He was on the Cross, we where on His mind.”

With this thought I forgive society for their feelings of anger towards the Church whom they have incorrectly perceived as the exact likeness of God, along with those who in time past have unfortunately fallen and brought reproach. I have no intention of crying over spilled milk, or of blaming those mentioned whom may have made the road ahead harder than perhaps it had to be, all is under the blood.

In like manner to whom do we beseech forgiveness:
Society for failing to be the servant Jesus Christ called us to be?
God: for using His Name, and Gospel for gain, institution and profit?
To God for using Holiness as a means of propagating and forcing our particular prejudice and preference?
To the Word, for twisting its phrases to abuse, injure and harm the hearts of those it was given to deliver?

For those of us who have been commissioned by Jesus to go and make disciples, preach to every creature…a word with you, if I may…

You in many ways are the message and image of God to so many, some you may never even realize.

I am amazed at times the comments I hear from those who have been impacted by the actions of others, both positive and negative, and the impact it has had on their spiritual condition… Truly we are living epistles

(2 Corinthians 3:3) clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

The moist poignant and effective sermon is not the one preached by Word, but by life and action. The truth of that statement is so powerful and forceful! You’ve heard it before, and I fear its commonality has dulled its force.
Until my next installment... Keep the faith!