As A Typical Christian I Thought I Was OK.
I read my Bible on occasion, sent my kids to church on Wednesday youth night and even went occasionally myself. We always went on Sunday mornings and lived what I thought to be a clean life. After all, didn't the other people watch "R" rated movies on occasion and even have their kids watch with them? Didn't the other women of the church watch the "soaps" on T.V.? We even talked of them before and after church. Most of the time we talked about the soaps more then the sermon or the latest Bible study.
One day, on that occasional day, I opened by Bible and began to read Rev. 3:15 - 17 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot, I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am rich, have become wealthy, and need of nothing' and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.”
He knows my works? I thought I was ok but it said He knows my works. Something began to feel strange inside of me. I looked further.
As I looked further at these verses I read the last part carefully. "Do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked". In God's eyes we are wretched when we put other things before Him.
As for me, no one knew the many times I would fight a black depression that surrounded my being all of the time. Living in misery all of the time from the hell of the depression. Poor? We did ok but it didn't bring happiness. I was very poor in the things of the Lord. Blind? Looking back now I was very blind. Naked? Before God, yes. He saw it all and I was blind to Him even being there.
I have found many Christians walk in a similar state. They attend to their "church duties" each week and think that this is the way a Christian is to be. As a result we have churches full of people living in a hopeless state trying to hang on unto the end hoping they have lived a good enough life to make it into the pearly gates of heaven.
I found this article I wish to share that really tells how we have failed.
PRISON”: (pastor in
were holding a meeting with the inmates at the juvenile prison in Marlin,
I asked how many had previously prayed and asked Jesus to come into their hearts. This time close to 70% raised their hands.
Where are we missing it? Statistics tell us that there is no measurable difference in the rates of teen pregnancy, drug usage and delinquency among church attendees and the general populations. Divorce, adultery, addictions and suicide are just as common among church attendees as the general population. There is still a lot of work to be done "within the walls", which is the church.
Converts have been made and minds have been changed, but the heart remains divided. The word says that unless a man is born of the Spirit he cannot see the kingdom.”
I hear of churches saying how wonderful it is at their church but what about these kids and others that are outside of the church?
I want to tell you about a dream. This was not my dream but a dream that was told to me and has had a great impact on my outlook.
In the dream there is a beautiful church on a hill. This church has a wall around it, a tall wall.
Above the church a gigantic hand holding a gigantic pitcher is pouring out water on top of the church. This water soaked the church and over flows the church. The water is caught by the wall around the church, which forms a moat.
Here then is a moat full of God’s living water providing a place for the people of the church to play. The people play all sorts of water play, splashing and splashing.
The church protects this water by placing guard to walk the top of the wall, making sure the wall was not breached.
Down below this church on the hill was a dry desert-like valley. The valley was filled with people who were dying of thirst. They were emaciated and dying.
Then in the dream stands Jesus. Jesus is standing outside the wall around the church. He is right at the base of the wall looking up at the guard on top of the wall. This picture is not right. Jesus should not be outside looking in. Nor should all the living water be held captive by the church. The people in the valley need it.
So I say to you people of God, do not be like this church, let the water of God out of the church, let the workers go out and work the fields. Do not frown on un-conventional methods of evangelism for it may reach those who would not otherwise be reached.
It grieves the heart of God that the church keeps His bountiful pouring-out within their walls. Yes, it is fun for us to have God’s spirit in abundance. But we must also take it out and must spend time out in the world to reach those people and give them a drink of God’s spirit which we carry.
What can happen when we go out? Here is one small example of what happen one day when I personally decided to go.
Story of Anthony:
A group of us had come for the day to minister to the street people by giving them warm clothing and food.
A man stood by the food table. It was a cold day. Some of the people didn't have coats. We were blessed to be able to give many a warm coat and show God's love. They were so appreciative, except for this one man. All he had was an old green ragged blanket around his shoulders. He would not take a coat nor speak to anyone. He just stood there.
Someone handed him a large cup of hot soup. As he would put it up to his mouth to drink the soup a large portion of it dumped down the front of him. His hands were covered with dry soup as he tried to wipe his face. Some of the other team looked at him and would walk around him. A couple of them even rebuked him. He would not move from the area and was really in the way of the people getting their plates. His manner of eating also was rather repulsive in appearance but yet there was something about this man. I kept watching him and asking Holy Spirit what it was about him. Why was he standing there? He didn't appear to be any threat and when the others rebuked him he didn't respond.
As the day went on he continued to stay there. The food table was beginning to be cleared and most of the team had left for the day. The Lord told me to go now. As I approached him and looked him in the face I noticed for the first time that he had gum disease so badly that he only had a couple teeth left and even those were ghastly standing in badly inflamed gums with almost the total root of the tooth showing. He would take another drink of the soup he had been "trying" to eat all day and it again spilled out of his mouth. I then realized for the first time this man was not able to eat properly. He didn't have the gums nor teeth to hold the soup in his mouth long enough to swallow.
He was so thin, so frail looking. My heart went out to him. I asked his name. Immediately a voice answered me and cynically asked my name. I recognized who was speaking and immediately responded with, "No, I am not speaking to you, what is "your" name?" Again the voice answered me. Again I responded in the same way. The man looked at me with a puzzled look. The rest is burned into my mind for life. The man looked at me with puzzlement in his face and tried to speak. He struggled for what seemed a long time and then in a weak voice said, "Anthony". I smiled and told him, "Anthony, Jesus loves you". He looked down at the ground and said, "No, he loves you".
The look in Anthony’s face was of such rejection and sadness. Then all of a sudden the other voice came forth in strength. "Why can't you guys just talk to us? Why can't you just stand there and say what you have to say and not touch us. Every time you touch us you leave something. Just don't touch us." Then Anthony came back.
Ah, I thought, so we leave something. Interesting? Then the Lord reminded me that we are told to go and preach the gospel. We are to use the laying on of hands. This was not just a suggestion. There was obviously a real reason here that we had missed. This thing was telling me with great anger to not be touching them because we leave something. Then the Lord reminded me how the cloths were taken from Paul and the anointing was so strong that people were healed and delivered. Could it be? Yes, we have the same anointing within us. Yes, when we touch we cause the demons to flee from the anointing of Holy Spirit upon and within us. So, touch, touch, touch.
Two of the team members were still around and had come over to see what was happening. They saw the conversation between Anthony and me. After the anger of the demon I looked at Anthony and said, "Anthony, can I pray for you?" He said, "Yes." I then looked at him and asked, "Can I please touch you?" I then extended my hand and Anthony hesitated and then reached out and took it. I asked him if the others could pray with us and touch him also. He gave his permission. We prayed for Anthony that day. When we were finished I don't think one of us was dried eye. Afterward I looked Anthony in the face and said, "Anthony, Jesus loves you." Anthony looked back with a big smile and said, "Yes, Jesus loves me."
As I said, this will ever be burned into my mind. Anthony, the most unlovable man in the courtyard, possibly the most repulsive, was standing there with his toothless smile accepting Jesus' love.
It is amazing what can happen when you stop being lukewarm and really loving with Jesus’ love.