Sunday, September 6, 2009

First Chair

It has taken me a week to get around to this post, and I often just don't post something I intended to post when that much time has passed because something new has come up to post about. But, I'm forcing myself to postpone those other things and step back a week to our pastor's sermon and share with you because it did speak so loudly to me!

Ronnie's sermon was based on Judges 2:7-13 and was about reaching the next generation for Christ.

7 The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel. 8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres a]">[a] in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the LORD to anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.

We just finished a study of the book "Crazy Love" in our life group, which really challenged me about the concept of "lukewarm" Christianity, and God has called me to choose whether I'm going to be hot or cold for Him because lukewarmness is not an option.
Ronnie's sermon built upon what God has been working out in me lately -- a tendency toward lukewarmness for Christ does not have effects that are limited only to my own life. It affects my family, my friends, and especially my children.

Ronnie used three barstools as a simple, and very powerful, visual of the consequences of lax faith. The first stool represented where the devoted, committed, faithful, obedient Christian would sit. It's a seat where the people who served God and saw His Works would be seated (v. 7).
The second stool represents where the "lukewarm" Christian sits -- the people who know about God but who don't necessarily have a relationship in which they truly know God or have experienced His Works (v. 10). Ronnie challenged us, as Christians, to honestly evaluate which chair we would be seated in.
The third seat was reserved for those who abandoned God altogether, worshiping false gods and doing things that anger God (v. 11-13).

The point that what seat I'm in really affects those who are watching me, not just myself, is what spoke so deeply to me. Ronnie used the example of King David and the two generations of men following him. David would have been in that first chair, a man who, though sinful and faulty, was committed to God. His son, Solomon, however, was a man seated on the middle stool because he knew about God, but didn't really know God. Solomon's son, Rehiboam, was completely confused and lost when it came to Spiritual matters.

An entire generation is being lost for God. There are so many distractions, so many other things to worship, so many other things to seek to fill the inner void that only God is meant to fill. This generation is seeking something authentic and meaningful in our throw-away society.

However, if they are only met by a group of un-passionate, bored with God, hypocritical, middle-seat Christians, they are going to pass on what we are peddling --- and end up in that third seat. Without the One True God.

God wants us to get off of our stools and move to the first chair if we're not there. He wants a deeper relationship with us. He wants us to live our lives with a true measure of faith. He wants us to make people want what we have through our joy, passion, and love.

Which chair?


Sherry said...

Once again, thank you Mischelle. Loved your post. I just borrowed that book from TH. Can't wait to get it started. You've definately made me think about some things. I often wonder where this generation (even ours) has gone wrong along the way to end up where the "world" is right now.

Valerie said...

So true........We MUST be willing to sacrifice our comforts and wants for a busy life and lots of activities, in order to actually be at home and teach our children about the ONE true God.