Dugouts give me the itch

So it’s been a while since my last post. As per usual I feel I have some ideas to share and stuff that’s been on my heart but I have no idea where this post will go. I can say though that a journey with the Holy Spirit is probably the best thing you can do.  I am convinced, that I as  Pentecostal minister/Pastor’s kid and basically lifer had it wrong. Galatians 5 has changed my life. Yesterday was 4-20. For some of you that don’t know, that is National Marijuana day. It was an amazing thing driving around yesterday, seeing people partake in their selfish desires knowing that the Holy Spirit has given me strength to resist my own fleshly desires, and changed me.  I’m not a champ yet either. I’m just saying that so far, the Spirit has been in control. I’m not claiming a victory in the war, but saying with the Holy Spirit’s help I continue win battles. We can all experience this freedom!

My Auntie commented on my last blog that she was concerned with the amount of Christians that deal with bondage. This got me thinking? Is it really this spiritual? I have an idea I would like you to consider. Perhaps it’s not spiritual bondage we are dealing with. Perhaps it’s our selfish desires? Perhaps the problem isn’t bondage, but a lack of the Holy Spirit. Remember, I said and I believe this, I had it wrong. I turned the Holy Spirit’s purpose into it’s perks. The prophecies etc, you know the exciting extras that come with the car (last blog I spoke about the car). The point of the Spirit is not to give us prophetic words, but to free us from our selfish desires and give us power to be His witnesses. I believe the two are linked by the way. Our humanity has screwed up our faith from the beginning. If we were great people, with great natural desires the bible wouldn’t tell us on a number of occasions that we need to change/get rid of these desires. And I’m pretty sure we also wouldn’t have eaten the forbidden “fruit” that got us in this mess to begin with.

Anyway, so I have journeyed on this selfishness search within my self I have become very focused on getting rid of it as best as poosible in my church, the Kingdom of God and believers (including myself). Our church had a prayer and fasting weekend two weeks ago. It was an amazing time with my church community. The Spirit has begun a work in myself and many of the people in my church. I am excited to see our lives transformed and freed. I can’t imagine the fruit this will exhibit but know it is going to change our city. But as we worshipped I had this nagging question in my Spirit. The question was simple. Why? Why do you go to church?

I’ve used the example before of a sales person. We are all in a sales position. We, by our actions, motives and relationships are in the game of selling Jesus’ hope and love to those that need it. Imagine going to purchase a car, or TV only to be received by a salesman with absolutely no passion or desire to be there? You ask him questions and he looks at his watch counting down impatiently to the end of his shift (I have lunch plans). He says with no exuberance the facts of the car and or TV, without even going into how much he loves them or how much they have changed his life, or how he sells them to all of his friends. I suspect you wouldn’t be too keen on buying that car or TV from him. You’d actually probably feel like your left with more questions than answers and move on to another store.

Sounds ridiculous, but that’s what church looks like to me most days. So I ask. Why do you come to church?

I was at an event yesterday for work in which the speaker took a cup, poked a hole in the bottom of it and began pouring water into the cup. The idea he was getting across was that as long as you have water coming in matching or exceeding the water going out your cup will stay full and you aren’t damaged by the water going out. He was talking about investments but my Spirit went somewhere else.

See water in itself is great. Usually (bear with me, as I understand acid rain etc but come with me for this example) we can drink  any water that has movement to it. If it rains, we can open our mouth and drink God’s juice (my dad used to always call water God’s juice. I think it was just to make us feel better about not being able to afford artificial juice). Water usually, again it’s just an example and not bullet proof,  is good unless it’s stored in something bad, or infected by something bad.

The church is like water. If we have movement, the water is powerful. It’s good for the members and the people who the water flows out too. Unfortunately I see more often than not churches have decided to be Dugouts. We store the water, only so it gets a green skum on the top and becomes infested with leaches. There’s no movement and the water has now become useless (unless you tap it and get some movement to water the fields).

The Church is not meant to be a dugout for the Holy Spirit, but a cup with a hole in the bottom. It’s meant to change us, fill us and give us what we need only so we can then distribute it’s goodness to other’s that need it.

I look out sometimes at the churches I lead worship in and think who would want to swim in this? So, why do you come to church?

I believe church is simple. I believe the cup and water is for a few reasons. One, to encourage the community. It allows us an avenue to come, and encourage those that need it, and by doing this we are encouraged. Remember the water comes in, and goes out but it doesn’t diminish. It’s meant to show the love and hope of Christ. Second, I believe it gives us an avenue to Worship God corporately. Again, it’s a community/relationship theme. This is also an encouragement but also fosters a unique opportunity to spend some personal time with the Holy Spirit as He minister’s to the body as we seek Him out corporately. Thirdly, I believe it’s a great opportunity to get taught, feed and encouraged by our leader so we know/remember that we are meant to have a hole for the life giving water to be dispersed. It also teaches us how to make this hole and use it properly. Cause the hole’s only good if you have the right one. Too many is dangerous and not enough is polluting (picture a dugout).

So why do you go to Church? If you go just to get it off your list, or as part of your Christian service please stop coming. Your bringing the body down, slowing the movement of the water and polluting it. And your missing the point. Gal. 5:4-6. You have followed your process and unknowingly fallen out of Grace. Church is not about you, it’s about the Kingdom of God, and I’m sick of the Kingdom being polluted. I’m convinced that God will take care of His Kingdom and replace anyone he needs too ensure His Kingdom succeeds. I’m also convinced that God needs to pull out some weeds and fertilize his Kingdom to once again make His church affective.

Maybe you need a spiritual weeding. Maybe you can relate to Galatians 5. Maybe you go to church without even knowing why you actually go.

We need a church full of passionate, excited, love filled people. Crazy that we would think the Church should be filled with people who look like Christ, and even look like Christ has changed them. I didn’t say filled with perfect people and process remember. We need you, the Kindgom of God needs you, the searching need you to stop running like a hamster in a wheel. We need you to get filled with the Spirit (how do you know if you aren’t being reset/filled by the Spirit daily? Well, are your desires changing? Are you passionate about God and His church? Are you struggling with the same things over and over? Read Galatians 5), and help the Kingdom grow. We need you to volunteer at the church you go to. The searching need to go to a church that has programs for their needs that are run by loving, passionate people.

I think we’d be surprised by the results. I mean, who wants to swim in a green, leach filled dugout? I’d rather jump into a clean lake, a swimming pool or even the ocean.

Pearl Jam has a song called Life Wasted. I think I can relate to this now in a whole different level. I don’t want our churches to be wasted. I don’t want our lives to be wasted. And most importantly I don’t want God’s Kingdom to be wasted, and the searching’s searches to be wasted.

Why swim the channel just to get this far?
Halfway there, why would you turn around?

Darkness comes in waves,… tell me,
why invite it to stay?

You’re warm with negativity,
Yes, comfort is an energy,…
But why let the sad song play?

I have faced it,… A life wasted,…
I’m never going back again.

Oh I escaped it,… A life wasted,…
I’m never going back again.

Having tasted,… A life wasted,…
I’m never going back again.

Oh I erased it,… A life wasted,…
I’m never going back again.

So, I hope this note finds you well. I hope you are challenged as I have been lately to be filled continually so the Holy Spirit can take away our fleshly desires and replace them with Kingdom building ones! I know it can be scary. In fact before I go I have to tell you this story.

During our weekend of prayer and fasting Dwight Schapansky asked why we fear/don’t let the Spirit change us. Someone in the crowd responded by saying it’s scary not knowing what God is going to do. It’s scary thinking that God will take away the things we like. This got me thinking. When I was younger my best friend and I wanted to buy the MC Hammer cd. So, our parents decided to get together and discuss whether or not we should be allowed to. They eventually decided no. I did the typical kid thing, slammed my door, told my parents I hated them and you know the list of childish actions goes on and on. I wanted that CD so bad. My desire at that point in my life (age and journey) was  MC Hammer. Only MC Hammer could give me what I wanted at that point in my life. I can honestly say that now, I would rather not listen to MC Hammer. My desires have matured. But imagine if I stayed true and stubborn, holding on to the desires I had when I was young? (Picture your spiritual life as a human one. You’re born, grow up and learn maturity through experience and knowledge. So you might be 40, but have the spiritual maturity of a 10 year old depending on what you have allowed God to do in your heart) I would have missed out on so much good. So I leave you with this. It might be scary in your faith journey (immature or mature) to let go, but it’s scarier to hold on. You’re gonna miss some amazing stuff. Don’t be a dugout. Cheers.

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3 thoughts on “Dugouts give me the itch

  1. If you had quoted the lyrics at the start of your blog I would have interpreted it as a turning to God and assumed it was a “Christian” band. It amazes me that Christians think they have the monopoly on these thoughts…everyone yearns for the righting of their true selves whether they know it or not. The earth cries out, and here we are the ones with the water after which you would never thirst again. “A cold cup of water?” “Why, yes, I’ve got one. Please take it.”

  2. I appreciate your thoughts and passion For God Ev! Surrendering is scary, but perhaps even scarier is not surrendering at all.

    “Life wasted” has been my favourite song, lyrically, by Pearl Jam, since they released it. It kinda tells me to start living… There’s more to living than being alive! I needed to hear it a few years ago and still need to hear it now!

  3. Hey Evan, your “spiritual weeding” thing made me think of a scripture I found while writing a sermon last week –

    Hosea 10.12

    I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness,
    and you will harvest a crop of love.
    Plow up the hard ground of your hearts,
    for now is the time to seek the Lord,
    that he may come
    and shower righteousness upon you.’

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