Journey to Awareness Lent Day 17

NIV Matthew 18:14  In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

The life of Jesus on this earth was a life committed to the will of the Father.  His mission was to be the way, truth and life for all of humanity.  Before the incarnation, faith was founded on what was to come.  All of the Scripture was given to reveal what the incarnation, the reality of God becoming human, would mean.  Even those who have or had never heard of the Hebrews, of Israel, of Jesus, or of the church have had a questioning need, an adequate revelation of the need for faith and a calling to have hope of divine love outside of themselves.

Isaiah 55:8  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

Lent brings us back to the reality of human need for faith.  It again shines the light upon what was done for our salvation.  In Lent the story of Jesus is retold for the purpose of penitence and preparation.  We are reminded of our time of being lost and how God has reached out to us in grace and love.

The church that was called to be a gather of the body of Jesus to be in fellowship with God and continue the work of the Father in reaching out is in deep trouble.  The biggest concern of the church is our shrinking numbers and focus on financial survival.  If this is all we are then we have set Jesus back to the tomb.

New programs will not change our current crisis.  The successes the world cannot be the foundation of how the church seeks success.  What is needed is a return to the reason for the incarnation and the reality of the resurrection.  We must talk about the things of God.  We must crave the discussion of living with the Word.  We must pray with intention and persistence that we not falter in the opportunity we have to be Jesus presence to others.

We must love people, really love people.  We cannot let ourselves be manipulated for this does not promote love.  We must not let ourselves become stuck in a survival mode for this pushes the Spirit of God away.  We must not be chained by apathy or indifference.  The little ones need us to much for that.

Journey to Awareness Lent Day 16

NIV Luke 19:10   “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

The concept of being lost is not one the occupies much thought in our culture.  There are still a few TV preachers and fundamentalist who use it as phrase to get an amen, raise money, or push a new program of “evangelism”, but “being lost” is far from being a social concern.  Church people, “saved” people, are not the dominant voice in the public square anymore.  The church itself has become more concerned with its material survival and cultural preservation than in being the presence of our Lord who “came to seek and to save what was lost”.

As relationships grow more shallow and transitory and our purpose in life more driven by consumption, “lost-ness” has become an idea delegated to the category of a religious vestige.  Being lost or having lost as it relates to God doesn’t matter much.  In an age of “no fear” the language of being lost is not a motivator for seeking God.

So what do we do?

First we pray.  We pray for ourselves.  We pray that we become sensitive, burdened, and filled with a desire to be what the church is intended to be:

NIV 1 Corinthians 12:27  Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

We need to pray that God will give us determination to do what Jesus came to do in seeking the lost.  We must also pray for those who are separated from God.

Secondly, we must take inventory of our own spiritual growth.  We must: (Philippians 2:12)  continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling- and grow in our desire for perfection.  It is this desire for perfection, of a closer, more confident walk with our Lord that will keep our focus on God’s desire.

Third, we must be witnesses that are (Matthew 10:16)  shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.  We must learn how to be sensitive to the actions of the Holy Spirit as God’s prevenient grace works on the hardened hearts that live in darkness around us.  We must be ready to listen without judgment.  We must be will to support without conditions.  We must learn to accept people as they are and them help them to discover just how much God loves them and what they have lost in not having this relationship that is the purpose of our creation.

People are lost.  People suffer.  People need.  Jesus cares. ( John 11:35)  Jesus wept.  Do we?