“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen… But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” – Hebrews 11: 1,6
There’s a time that comes in all of our hearts where we lose sight, even if for only a moment, of where we are with God. Let’s be honest—it can happen more than once, and sometimes on a semi-regular basis. When that happens, there’s no judgement, no condemnation, from anyone that matters at any rate. But it’s time to consider whether where we are is the place we want to be. It’s time to think about whether we’re doing enough…whether we’re being enough. It’s time to decide whether just “enough” is really enough for us.
The fact is, church is not a club, and if it is, membership of that club is not enough. Singing songs without actually worshipping is a hollow thing. It’s not enough. Having meetings without inviting God to set the agenda is pointless. The church is an entity, a creature in its own right: a mission statement, not a museum. Simply turning up is not enough. Simply having excellent teaching and good programs is not enough. The status quo is not enough. The church is a living, breathing thing, constantly evolving, constantly changing. But change without transformation is not enough either.
Teaching the Gospel is a great thing, and a noble calling, and it’s not enough. Gospel means “good news”, and good news should be shared, but just sharing it is not enough, just as having good bible studies is good, but not enough. Being good people is great! But it’s not enough. The fact is, “good enough” is not enough.
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”
The overwhelming glory of God stems from His unending goodness. It’s in everything He does and everything He is. Goodness is one of the fruits of the Spirit: it’s both the means to an end and the end itself, just as God is our constant companion on the road to His Kingdom and the Kingdom Itself.
What does that mean for us? It means that goodness is our mission statement. Goodness is our watchword and our yardstick by which we measure how we’re handling things. Goodness is us walking the walk as well as talking the talk, and goodness is our revelation of God’s heart to everyone we meet.
Make no mistake about it: goodness is commanded to us. It’s not optional. It’s not an elective. We don’t get to be less good because our buddy across the aisle in church has had a particularly good week. It’s not cumulative: our last three weeks of goodness don’t excuse the week before, and the next three months of goodness don’t allow for tomorrow’s decision not to be good. It’s the only lifestyle that can truly represent God, that exemplifies the heart of Christ, whose example we were set two thousand years before we were born. Continue reading
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
– Ephesians 2:4-10
There’s a higher love than the one we’ve found here on Earth…and the world knows, make no mistake about it, the world knows. The lyrics of half the pop songs ever written talk about it, and the poetry of a thousand cultures whispers its name. Stories are told about it, great tales and epic narratives spanning generations. And then there’s philosophy and religion, twin branches from the same tree, one seeking to understand it, the other to embrace it.
The Kingdom Of Heaven is the true source for everything the world yearns for in this life. Everything about the Kingdom is concerned with elevation, with height. God is the Father, enthroned on high; the Holy Spirit is elemental and dynamic, a creature of soaring wisdom and flickering revelation. Continue reading
“Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
—2 Corinthians 5:16-19
The celebrated novelist L.P. Hartley once wrote, “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” That’s not some allusion to old-fashioned mannerisms, or how no one seems to be calling their children Edith or Lionel anymore—it’s a pointed remark upon the way that people change over the course of their own lives, and not just in shrinking, and becoming gradually more intolerant of loud music. It’s in the sense that your younger self wouldn’t know what planet your older self was from. Your younger self wouldn’t understand the language they spoke. Your younger self wouldn’t even recognise your older self as being the same person unless they were presented with a map of how they got there, a bullet-pointed chronology of the events that took place between then and now, and a ‘how-you-got-old’ YouTube video tutorial. The fact is, you’ve changed. Continue reading