I have really been delinquent with writing thoughts down lately. To be honest I’ve had to many thoughts, but very few good ones, or clear ones. I suspect today’s might be no different, though due to a job assignment for church I need to write something for my churches bulletin. So I will copy and paste some of this blog and send it to our team to place into the bulletin for this upcoming weekends service. Hopefully it’s worth the read. To be honest I’ve been thinking about the idea of Causality (Cause and Effect) for months. It came hand in hand with the idea that we need to have the Holy Spirit more in our churches and lives. Even after I shared this for months at our church, only a few people got it. To say the least it has been both frustrating and demotivating. Then again leadership I suspect is always like this.
We are often inspired by amazing success stories, were a man or women leads people to amazing results and change. One most recently that inspired me for the second time (as I’ve known of the story but to see the movie refreshed the inspiration) was the movie Invictus. The story shows Nelson Mandela lead South Africa through the Apartheid. It was a huge paradigm shift for the country and one I am sure was not very easy. I wonder what kept him going? I feel like giving up myself and I’m not trying to end racism weaved into the fabric of my countries business and political cloth. I’m simply trying to lead Christians, my church into a full relationship, sometimes a real relationship with their saviour. One that will help them live fully. Sounds like it should be a no brainer.
So I’m frustrated. I’m tired, and I feel like I’m trying to make a horse drink water.
The reason for this frustration is not the effect of my leadership efforts, but the reason. Our church (the worldwide church) has been brain washed into serving Moralism instead of Christ. Instead of seeking the Holy Spirit to change us, lead us and give us His fruits we settle for acting morally. The ironic part is this came out of a move of the Holy Spirit. In the early 1900’s there was a great move of the Spirit. It inevitably changed the world, and started some of the main Protestant branches we find ourselves attending today. I am (almost) ordained by one of these movements, the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.
I don’t think it’s hard to picture but imagine this. The Holy Spirit is moving, changing people’s lives. The Spirit is convicting, giving passion and control to the followers of Christ. The Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit are running rampant throughout the Azusa Street revival, which then flowed out to the rest of the world. Needless to say the Christians of this time were changed for the better. The effect of this movement was biblical change. It was a desire to be Holy and focused on the things of God. The effect was Holiness, the cause was the Holy Spirit.
Years later we see, by looking back something I’ve seen our churches do even today. We focused on the effect, instead of focusing on the cause. We slowly placed the effect as the important piece of our spiritual life’s puzzle. With our focus skewed, we quickly developed processes and rules to maintain the effects. Since the Holy Spirit took away our fleshly desires, it seemed natural then to make rules against any fleshly desire. Are you with me? The Holy movement began. We decided we needed to act differently than the world. “Act” being the key. Instead of focusing on the Cause, we focused on the effects, believing that the effects cause the cause.
Here’s an example. I was working on my deck this weekend and got sunburnt. The cause was the sun, the effect was a burn. Now I could equate that being burnt means I was in the sun. So, my goal now is to be burnt, or look like I’m burnt. So I paint my skin red, or go to tanning booths to get burnt. With this I achieve the appearance of being in the sun, but I have not actually been in the sun. We can get burnt many different ways, but they don’t all mean we were in the sun. The same goes, I believe with the concept of Morality. We can act morally without God. Sure God causes morality, but morality is its own venture.
So many people I know, in our church and outside our church are Moral believers. Notice I didn’t say Christians. I am really fearful for some of them. So content in their walk, believing they are Christians but really have no relationship with the Cause, God. They’ve only been infatuated with the effects, faithful even to them. Matt. 7:22-23.
I was saying to a good friend of mine yesterday whom happens to be on staff with me at the church. My struggle is obvious. It’s a physical, and socially obvious sin, usually. So for me it’s easy, people can tell and judge my sin, and I know that I’m sinning. It’s a 10 commandment type of sin. Someone murders, well that’s easy to see, so we judge it and tell them to repent. Morality is like a sleeping giant. It’s a sin that is keeping you from God (Matt. 7:22-23) because you’re acting like you are a Christian, but aren’t one necessarily. So because you are acting Holy, you assume you are. It’s assuming the effect of being burnt means you’ve been in the sun.
This is rampant in our culture, and is destroying our churhes potential. We ignore the Spirit because we think as long as we act right, the Spirit is with us. I was told a story this weekend about someone not liking that Christians have dances at their weddings. The person said, “How can people tell that we are Christian’s if we are dancing like the world does”. I said, so if no one is dancing how can we tell who’s Christian and who’s not. What distinguishes them at work if there is no dancing allowed? The truth is simple but hard, the Holy Spirit is what distinguishes us because it gives us the fruits and gifts that people without it don’t have. It gives us the real sunburn, not a fabricated one. That is what we are missing, the effects from the right cause. Not a perception of the effects.
So how can you tell if you are a moral believer? Or even more so, how can you tell what state your relationship is with Jesus? How often do you pray? When was the last time you were convicted? Are you keeping rules, and lists of things you are allowed to do and not do, or are you allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you and take away your selfish desires? When was the last time you asked the Holy Spirit to change you? When was the last time you allowed the Holy Spirit to press the reset button?
Moral Believers are everywhere. It’s the classic, great sermon Pastor, but not actually doing anything about it. The process is their faith. It’s a heritage often passed down from their parents. Act right, that’s what a Christian does. NO NO NO!! We don’t act right, we live right!! A huge difference.
Anyway, let’s focus on the cause. God help us to be better at not turning our journey into our rules, but help us to remember the cause, You, and help us to follow hard after You every day!!!