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Categorized | From the Pulpit

Looking into mirrors

Thomas M. Doherty, Superintendent

North Michigan Conference

Free Methodist Church, USA

Writing for The Springs Church

 

 

Maybe you have been at a carnival or watched a program on TV where people enter a room full of mirrors. Some of the mirrors reflect an image that is wider, or taller, or even varied in shape related to the person who is looking into the mirror.

 In life we have mirrors, of a sort, that reflect truth to us. The Law of the Old Testament has been described as an instructor that shows us where we do not measure up. The New Testament shows us how we can, in Christ, fulfill the Law of God and live at peace with God.

Without the mirror of the Law we would never know things were out of order in our lives. The whole of scripture acts as a mirror to show us how we can reflect the image of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit too plays the role of a mirror. John 16:8 tells us that the Holy Spirit will be sent from heaven to convict the world of sin. 

The key with all mirrors is to believe what they reflect, unless they are the funhouse mirrors of the carnival. I have been troubled that the world doesn’t seem to know that their lives don’t measure up to the law and they don’t seem to feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit. More troubling to me is that one of the key reasons for this is the church is not believing and acting on what the mirrors of the scripture and the Holy Spirit are showing us.

We look into the mirror of the truth of the Word of God and rationalize that we aren’t too heavy, or our hair doesn’t look that bad. I know in my mind’s eye I see myself as that 28-year-old with dark hair and a red beard; and when I look into the mirror I see that 50-plus-year-old guy with short hair (to reduce the white on my head and a white beard). If I didn’t see that and saw the 28-year-old man there would be something wrong with me.   

The church almost does the opposite. The Word of God describes a strong, growing healthy body of Christ and we, through rationalizations and compromise, look into the mirror and see a broken down, wore out church just trying to survive. 

There is something wrong with our sight and I want to suggest two elements that will help us see truth as God presents it. First, we need to honestly examine ourselves to see if our lives reflect a true, full, uncompromising love for Christ. We would all profess our love for Jesus, but what does the evidence of our lives say.

First, do we have an ever-deepening sense of love in our hearts for Christ and the things that are important to him? What dominates our focus? Please don’t rationalize. What do we spend our time thinking about? What do we spend our time doing? How do we spend our resources? What breaks our hearts? Is Jesus truly our first love? Do we love Him more than anything or anyone; so much so that in comparison we hate these other things and people?

 Second, do we believe? Or do we rationalize? Not an intellectual belief, but I’ll risk my life on it, type of belief. The bible teaches us that confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and believing that God the Father raised Him from the dead is the only pathway to salvation. Our life does depend on believing this truth.

The bible says that the harvest is plentiful and the labors are few; therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest that He would send out labors into the harvest. And then he sends those who pray to the Lord of the harvest.  Do we believe that there are people who Christ died for, who are waiting to hear the gospel message?

I believe that if the church would love Jesus in real, practical ways, and believe that the Word of God is true, the World would see both the truth of how their lives are lacking and the transforming power of Christ in lives surrendered to Jesus.

These are core principles for church planting and revitalization. If we love Jesus enough we will love the people and things that are important to Him and be willing to step out of our boats into the water. We will be willing to bring the life-changing message of Jesus to people and circumstance that are in the midst of the stormy seas of life.

We will also be willing to be changed by the people we are reaching out to. Not changed in our principles but changed by new perspective and focus; reevaluating how, where, who and why we deliver the message of peace.

I believe that God is calling us as a church to really listen to those we are trying to minister to. I have been listening, and it is reinvigorating me as a Christian. Listening to those of the harvest, combined with looking into the mirror of the Word and His Spirit, will necessarily change us.  ,This change should impact our churches and will impact the development of new churches.  New wine skins for a new generation.

God’s call seems clear to me and God is looking for partners, people who hear His call, to work with and be a part of this next great move of God. 

May we all be caught up in the next great move of God’s Spirit and help with the plentiful harvest of souls.

 

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