Friday, February 4

Spending time with God

People are getting fit for truth like they're buying a new tailored suit
Does it fit across the shoulders, will it fade when it gets older
We throw ideas that aren't in style in the Salvation Army pile
And search for something more to meet our needs
These lyrics are from a Sara Groves of my favorites artists. I was listening to her Conversations cd on my way to work this morning when the song The Word came on, with the above lyrics.

I can't speak from in-depth experience. My time in church leadership was considerably short in longevity, to speak with absolute authority. However, from my perspective, it seems as if the church likes quick fixes.

I suppose that is a condition of our society in general. Since the days of the Great Depression when people lived with nothing, our North American society has swung to the other side of the pendulum to a life of stuff and life of entitlement. [The US has the world's largest debt. The average person has 3.5 credit cards and the average household has over $15,000 of credit card debt (*as of 2008).] This, I believe, has given us a "quick fix" society: you don't have something, go and buy it immediately, no need to save; you want to lose 20 lbs in 1 week, try this pill, this plan, this tool; your church is in a slump, buy this book, adopt that program, bring in that speaker, plan this activity...

We try out a program, hoping that it was double our congregation or breathe spiritual fervor into the people and maybe it does. However how long until it passes? And people resort back to who they were? How long until the church reaches for the "big next thing" that will enrich the church and their relationship with God?

It was, what, four years ago? that churches were on the Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Church bandwagon, including my own church. There were home groups, corresponding sermons, signs, excitement and now it's Rick Warren who? Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating just a bit but I bet you that the vast majority in my church cannot even tell you the main principles of the book...I know I can't (granted, I didn't finish the book...but still.)

The point is the health of the church is directly related to each person's relationship with God. Having a closer relationship with God won't necessarily come through great speakers, great books, or great seminars (although He may choose to use them in your life) but rather it comes through time with God. Soaking in His words. Listening to what He has to say. Discovering more about Him. Worship and adoration. If we compromise on this, then our relationship with God become shallow and weak.

I know because I'm there. Despite being called to ministry, despite working on a missions degree, despite regular church attendance and participation, despite anything...I struggle with consistently spending time with God. I get into the phases where I can sadly go months without reading my Bible, outside of the Sunday sermon. Not good. And then, when I am convicted and dry and weary, I open my Bible for just even a drop of God's presence and I find myself surprised when God meets me there and I walk away refreshed. It's not that my daily circumstances have changed, it's just that my mind has been refocused onto Him and He ministers to me in the process. I am most alive when I am in the presence of God!

I don't want to compromise time with God for a "new suit" that will end up not meeting my needs in the long run or giving God the glory He is due. I don't want to be satisfied with mediocre temporal truths but to dwell in the lasting Truth. I hope you seek that too!

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