Hallelujah, Thine the glory!
Hallelujah, Thine the glory!
Revive us again!
I’ve been meaning to write about our revival at church, but every time it crosses my mind, I’m not where I can sit and do it. So, here I sit on this Election night, when it’s looking like ol’ BO will be re-elected, and I decide to turn off the television and just have some time with God in my thoughts. I had a friend on facebook bring up a very interesting question: If Obama’s so bad, then why would God allow him to be elected a second time? I can tell you know that I don’t have an answer for that. And to be honest, I don’t necessarily think that Obama is all “that bad.” I think that he had just about the smallest about of experience EVER when he was elected in 2008 (and trust me, I did my part to prevent it!). I also think that he doesn’t understand what it takes to be in that office. He talks a big game and he gives great speeches, but need I remind you that Hitler was a great speaker as well?? I just don’t think that he knows how to run a business and for a very long time now, our government has been exactly that, a business. Our economy is bad and I don’t see any improvements in the near future if BO stays in office. I really and truly feel like Romney would be the better option, if for no reason than his proven success in the private sector.
I really just need to get off that topic though. I know there are many who don’t agree with me and that’s fine and dandy. Our pastor has said several times in Sunday School that God places people in leadership positions, or allows them to be there, for reasons that we may not know or understand. I have seen that evidence for sure. I don’t know why God allowed BO to be elected the first time OR the second time (which has apparently just been confirmed on CNN). I only know that I need to trust the plan that God has set forth.
Back to revival…
Our guest speaker was Pastor Robert Rhodes from Union Grove Baptist Church in Opelika, Alabama. He was a fireball, let me tell you! He was super nice and super effective. I felt so refreshed after Revival. I was tired, for sure, from being up with the kids until at least 9 every night and then not getting in bed until 11 myself, but my spirit was refreshed. He touched on a lot of things that made tremendous sense. He preached Sunday morning, Sunday night, and then Monday through Thursday night of that week (October 21-25). The week was basically about REAL Christianity. A few of the sermons really stood out and are ones that hit home in a way for me.
On Sunday night, the sermon was about having a heart of worship. It was so moving. When we come to church, it’s not to sit around and talk about the football game the day before, or to gossip about the news around town. As Christians, our purpose in coming to church is to WORSHIP God. Yes, it’s totally okay to talk with your friends, but we need to realize that worship should be our number one priority. After we’ve had worship, and after the sermon has been given, we can use that time afterwards to fellowship. And it’s so important to make your heart READY for worship before you even set foot in the sanctuary. Before you come to church, take the time to pray and get your heart right. God wants to come in and sit right beside you while you worship, but you need to have an open heart and a clean spirit. When you sing the worship songs, be aware that you are singing to God Himself. You aren’t singing to the congregation. It doesn’t matter what you sound like. What matters is that you are pouring your heart into the worship of Him. I already love, LOVE our worship time at church, so I will have no problem with that!! It just was a very moving sermon about the importance of readying your heart to receive Him in worship.
Monday night’s sermon was a little about dealing with troubles. It was a very opportune time for us to hear that message because we had *just* experience a not so great day in the world of employment. It was one of those kinds of days where you question why you are even there. Yeah, it was bad. So we packed up and headed to church. I can’t remember the exact books of the Bible on which he spoke, but the message was about how differently we handle troubles in our lives. For most Christians, when tough times come about, we know to turn to God and lean on His strength to get us through the storm. Troubles can make Christians stronger in faith. We know that God is ultimately in control of everything and it is therefore easier to “let it go” and press on. For many non-Christians, troubles can sometimes send them on a wild goose chase as they try to find whatever can help them get through it. If there had been some sort of substance (like alcohol or drugs) then those things would likely make an appearance again while that person was going through that hard time. When you don’t have a direct line to the One who takes care of us, you have a harder time dealing with the struggles. This sermon was good to hear because it fortified our emotions and we were able to rationally look at the situation and determine that as long as we are giving everything our absolute best (as if we are doing it for God and not for man) then we know that God will work it out.
Tuesday night’s sermon was about judging. I know what you’re thinking. That’s a loaded sermon, right there. And, to be honest, I kind of felt that way too. It is hard not to judge people. It’s even harder not to judge people when you are a Christian because we claim to know that some people are not behaving the way they need to behave. But, if you read the Sermon on the Mount in the Book of Matthew, you will see a nice little section on judging. Paraphrasing – How can you say to someone “there’s a speck in your eye” when there is a plank in your own eye? How can you say that you’ll remove the speck from your brother’s eye when there is a plank in yours? Hypocrite! First, remove the plank from your own eye, then you will see to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5 – Paraphrased, of course). Basically, we should not cast judgment on another without first turning inward and judging ourselves. It’s easier said than done, I can tell you that! There was a portion where he said that judging is okay sometimes, when you are using discernment. Jesus said to beware of false prophets and that we will know them by their fruits. We need to learn how to use discernment in our judgments sometimes. The example he gave was this: A convicted felon (pedophile) came into church to be active in the environment. That’s all well and good and they would welcome him into the church and pray for him and everything. Well, then he wants to be involved with the children at the church. That’s when the preacher steps up and says no. There is no judgment on him to say that he is unwelcome at the church, but because they know of his past, they use discernment to make the decision not to allow him access to the children. It’s not to say that a person cannot repent of sin and turn over a new leaf, but the pastor has a responsibility to care for his congregation. Allowing a person who had been imprisoned for pedophilia access to children at church would not be filling that responsibility. It’s kind of hard to explain the discernment thing any other way.
Wednesday night was about Sin and Repentance and was REALLY good. This was the sermon that really spoke to me. Basically, to get to Heaven, we have to be willing to let go of our lives as we know them and be willing to let Jesus take the reigns and point us in the right direction. You know how I said that the week was about REAL Christianity? Well, this is where it really came into play. A lot of churches and evangelists and stuff preach about how becoming a Christian is a simple matter of praying a prayer to ask Jesus to come into your life. While you do actually pray a prayer, the point of Biblical Christianity is realizing that you have to LOSE your life in order to SAVE it. Repenting from your sin is crucial to this. You have to be WILLING to stop your sinful behavior, do a 180 from it, and let Jesus take over. You have to be willing to give up the reigns to your life. If you want to go to Heaven, you have to stop sinning, start repenting, and let God have control. Sin has NO PLACE in Heaven. God is HOLY. He cannot allow ANY sin to be in His presence. I am a firm believer that you cannot lose your salvation once it has been given to you. But I do believe that if we don’t try to continue to life a Christ-centered life and if we don’t seek forgiveness of the different sins that we know we commit on a daily basis, our reward in Heaven will not be great.
Basically, I very much enjoyed the revival. I have some things still on my heart from it, but I don’t think I’m ready to put those out in the internet just yet. I really feel like God has placed us at this church. Both Jack and I love it there so much, and the kids are really thriving there. It’s been a blessing to have fellowship again.
Now that I’ve written almost 2000 words (holy moly!! ) I think I’ll call it a night. I sure can get long-winded, can’t I? 🙂