Christ is All in All
I am sitting here trying to understand how to operate my new laptop. The TV is on, the air conditioning is humming loudly, and I am sitting here alone. I have two spiral notebooks at my side, and a variety of colorful pens. That’s how I usually blow off steam – writing about what is on my mind.
Today, I have been pondering my ministry. I am the Pastor of Eternal Word Fellowship Church. It is a great church, but it is not yet thriving as I hoped it would be. I am praying that I not be controlled by numbers. I am praying that I will do all the Lord has put in my heart regardless of how others respond. I used to worry a lot about the people that I felt turned their backs on me. Sometimes I wondered if they actively opposed what I was trying to do. Can Christians actually be blackballed? As you can see, my mind is racing, thoughts flowing, past, present, and future all ripe for consideration.
But today, sitting here, I realize that nothing else matters. Marvin Sapp sings a song with that title that often speaks to my spirit in times of stress. It is so true. Nothing else matters besides seeing Jesus. I long to sit in His presence and hear what He has to say.
Got to Be There
Turning off the electronic eyes that seem to be everywhere, and shutting myself off from the rest of the world, I often find it necessary to sit. And listen. And wait. Many times we are tempted to spend our prayer times doing all of the talking, but sometimes, we should be quiet. Intimacy is often found in what is not said. Psalm 46:10-11 (KJV) reminds us, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.” It is in the stillness of life that God speaks – He speaks right in the middle of it. As the Scriptures tell us, He is WITH us! And when He speaks, it is always what you need to hear, even if it is not what you want.
Our human relationships suffer in this bustling, busy world from lack of presence. We sit in the room together but our minds are a million miles away. Each one has their cell phone, tablet, TV, or pc to keep them company. We have forgotten how to relate face to face.
But face to face intimacy is exactly what is needed in order for our relationships to be strong. We have to talk to each other, look at each other, and touch each other. That’s what happens in real relationship. I love technology and all that it does, but I am so afraid that we are more connected than ever, and less connected than ever, all at the same time.
Like many of the raffles we love to take a chance on, we must be present to win.
The Honor of Your Presence is Requested
“The honor of your presence is requested,” a line normally only seen on formal invitations, finds its way into my thoughts. Jesus requests the honor of our presence, no matter how worn out and weary we may be. The invitation is extended in Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV):
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
All we have to do is accept the invitation – to come as we are – into His presence. Why is that so hard for us? We are willing to give Him almost anything – money, service, talent – except our presence. The sad truth is that all of our sacrifices for Him are useless without the sacrifice to Him – our presence, our lives, us!
After all, our living sacrifice is God’s greatest desire. Intimate relationship between Him and us. This is why Christ died – to absorb the sin that separates us from God. Nothing else matters.