Just got back from teaching all weekend to a fantastic church group from Birmingham in the heart of the Mid-Wales Countryside. We were working together to try to focus on God speaking “Just One Thing” to each of us. I strongly believe that Satan loves to condemn us, by making us over-aware of our faults and failures, and then piling on the guilt over anther failure, and another failure, and another failure… The domino effect kicks in, and then we take over from Satan to push ourselves down even more.
Romans 8:1-2 clearly teaches us that;
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death”.
I love the rendition of this in The Message:
“Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.”
The clean air in Mid Wales was a very tangible reminder that God, through His Spirit, wonderfully clears the air of our lives. When He wants us to hear His voice, He usually wants to explore with us “Just One Thing” at a time. We are lovingly invited to consider His ways, and meditate on how listening to Him and focussing on One Thing at a time can lead to a more balanced approach to our Christian walk.
Whilst encouraging the lovely folk last weekend to try to focus on their own personal “Just One Thing”, I also had to consider the same question for myself. It should come as no surprise to the preachers out there that we often have to walk through the points of our own sermons personally before we can ever effectively deliver them!
One point that struck me forcibly (both in the preparation , and in the delivery) was that Noah’s ark was never intended to be a permanent home for Noah and his family. They were in there quite a long time; not just the 40 days of consistent, gut swirling rain, but they also had to wait for the Ark to come to rest, for the waters to recede, and for the land to be able to sustain at least an olive tree branch. It was actually 378 days in total (see http://www.arkonararat.com/Timeline.html). It was a long time to be cooped up together, and I am sure it would make for a really interesting fly-on-the –wall documentary!
But once they were able to leave the Ark, they had to figure out how to be in the world; a world forever changed by the last year of their lives. It struck me forcibly that they had been a family in the Ark, and now they had to be a family in the World. For us as Christians, we are not supposed to live inside the Church Building. We are not to be the Church living in the Church; we are to be the Church, living in the World. We come together for support and encouragement, but it should only be to encourage us to interact and talk to those who are perishing outside the church building. To those who do not yet know Christ. For me, this is what I understand by missional church. I do not think I am a brilliant evangelist, but I do just want to talk to folk about Jesus. I have to focus on how I can accomplish this, wherever God has placed me, and do my best. I will probably never feel that I do this brilliantly, but God calls us not to perfection, but to aim for excellence in whatever our own “One Thing” actually is.
Lozenge Moment – something to think about …
- Make yourself a hot drink, and give yourself a few minutes to focus only on what “One Thing” God might be challenging you about
- Understand that God will equip you to do whatever He challenges you to do
- Your responsibility is to choose to say “Yes” to God.
- Write the Challenge down, and date it – keep this safe.
- Consider carefully what you will do to respond to what God is saying to you, at this time, where you are, regardless of the difficulties you might find yourself in.