It's been too long since I've posted something here. I'm trying to turn over a new leaf. But we'll see. Life has gotten a bit crazy, with being a husband, a dad, and a pastor. I misplaced my superman cape a while back and have been struggling with the angst (and freedom) of being a mere mortal.
Jesus Christ doesn’t wait for us to show up to worship services before He shows up. It’s not like He has His alarm clock set for 8:55 a.m. each Sunday morning … and it goes off, and then He hurries up and shows up here at 2nd Street. He’s here, waiting for us when arrive, to join Him. And as much as you may think that you’ve INITIATED this connection, this conversation, and this experience of praise and worship with Him this morning, let me break it to you … you’re wrong. God is always the INITIATOR and you and I are always the RESPONDERS.
I love how the mid-20th-century Christian mystic, Thomas R. Kelley describes this reality in his classic book, A Testament of Devotion …
is the initiator and God is the responder.
But the Living Christ within us is the
initiator and we are the responders. God
the Lover, the Accuser, the Revealer of
Light and Darkness presses within us. ‘Behold,
I stand at the door and knock’ [God says in
REVELATION 3:20]. And all our apparent initiative
is already a response, a testimonial to His
secret presence and working within us.”
And in Kelley’s words, which express this mysterious front-line truth of how God works in our lives, I see an important truth ...
We do not gathered for worship, primarily because WE choose to be. Jesus Christ is always the INITIATOR, and we are always the RESPONDERS. Entering into Jesus Christ’s presence, hearing His voice, taking on His character (His thoughts, words, deeds, and priorities) and then more fully living out the will of God … this all happens because we’re RESPONDING to the loving, pursuing, wooing, INITIATION of Jesus Christ.
Let me ask you a question. Where are you seeing Jesus Christ alive and well right now? Where are you seeing His presence, His footprints, His voice, His fingerprints, and His actions? With the people you work with who are accountable to you? With the people you work with, to whom you’re accountable? In your relationships with family, with your spouse, with your children, with the people you’re dating, with your friends, or with the people you’ve felt estranged from right now but who Jesus Christ has been inviting you to begin building new bridges of relationship with? Where are you seeing Jesus Christ alive and well right now? Where are you seeing His presence, His footprints, His voice, His fingerprints, and His actions?
If you’re not seeing Jesus in these places, then you’re life with Him isn’t THE REIGNING PRIORITY of your life. Because when we make Jesus Christ our First Love (cf., REVELATION 2:4) and THE REIGNING PRIORITY of our lives, it’s like we get a new pair of glasses and we begin living life with God, not apart from God … we begin seeing His presence, His footprints, His voice, His fingerprints, and His actions everywhere … and when we look at Him and see what He’s up to, we’ll consistently see Him looking back at us, and inviting us to join Him in what He’s up to.
There are not some parts of our lives and experiences that are “spiritual” and other parts that are “not spiritual” or “natural”. All of life is most intimately and accurately defined by its “spiritual nature”. Like C.S. Lewis wrote …
have spiritual experiences. We are
spiritual beings who have natural experiences."
Godspeed to you as you RESPOND to the working in God in your life today.