Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

23 March 2009

Hide it under a bushel?

"It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand"
Mark Twain

Sometimes when "doing church" you think to yourself... I hope Bill Maher doesn't show up with a documentary crew today. I'm not really talking about Old Testament Elijah making poo fires, laying on his side in the public square stuff here. I mean the simple stuff. Like James 5:4 kinda things.

"Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord."

Have you ever seen the face of someone exploring the church world for the first time when their buddy gets up and begins dumping generic brand olive oil on people while praying in languages they don't understand, causing otherwise rational people to fall on the ground and do the hippy hippy shake? "Leaving so soon? Please sign the guestbook and make sure you leave us your email address so we can sign you up for a small group happy seeker friend!"

I've been on both sides of this debate. And it's not a simple answer really. Do you do your Holy dance behind closed doors and pretend that God is a motivational speaker who talks in 20 minute segments and just wants you to make more money and have better sex? Or throw that bushel right off (OH NO!) and go into 4 hour harp and bowl, intercession scream-fests with wordless worship slow-jams. Clearly the answer lies between. Clearly.

But the words that have been in my spirit lately are... "This is what we have been given." We're GIVEN instructions. We're given methods. When people are sick... God says to call the elders of the church, anoint them with oil and pray for the sick! The next verse says, "15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up." Cool! That seems like a good thing since Dr Dave don't do surgery. Luckily I've been given something that I CAN do. And SHOULD do. It's what we've been given.

It doesn't say, "if there is someone curious about Jesus... don't proceed. Let the sick cough it out as a testimony to the unbeliever. Talk about jobs instead. Visitors will find that less uncomfortable. Let this be a sign onto you"

I was talking to some teenagers the other day about tongues. Yeah... I'm one of those people. But I'm also a normal human being. How can that be? Because it's part of being a Christian. It's "what we've been given". When you don't know what to pray... the spirit of God prays through us. And sometimes it's in a language I don't speak. Or worse... sounds I sound dumb making.

Romans 8:26
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

I was telling the teenagers about this amazing experience about a year ago while praying with some young adults in my living room. I was praying in tongues when one of the girls actually literally understood some of the language that I was speaking! She had moved around a lot as a young girl and spent a good while living in Haiti, speaking Creole.

One of the things I say when I intercede is, (in the spirit of Romans 8:26 as it was just something that God burst out of my spirit, then mouth, without knowing what I was doing)... over and over I'll say "Et Asi" This is what my friend told me:

Et Asi (but there should be an upwards accent on the I)
It means "As it is written", or "As it says in the Word", or "As it is written in the Word"... you know.
Incidentally, it can also mean "Like this" if you say "Commo Asi". Random fact of the day. :)

Wow man. We do what God asks of us... regardless of how it's viewed... because He's God... and it's what we've been given. I think the issue comes down to control. Are we willing to let God direct us and do things the way He wants it... or do we rationalize and use our short-sighted tunnel vision to map the land.

We're Christians ya know. We're free only because we gave our lives to a Jesus who died naked on a cross so that we could have life. He bought our freedom and then gave it back to us to let us choose a life of faith... or stagnation. We don't get to change the rules to fit into our broken-down ,yet somehow culturally relevant, system. He's not that concerned about our foolish appearance. In fact, He can work better that way anyway! He's interested in us doing (and being) what He deems necessary to let him fulfill our obedience prayer of Thy Kingdom come and Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven"

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