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Summer, 2003

Nitty Gritty sin, inside or out?   

Well, summer is well upon us and it has been awhile since I've updated my chronicles. Time has a way of slipping away and before we know it we're well into it. Funny, I think sin has a way of doing that in our lives, too.

Back in 1996, the Lord started putting a real burden on my heart regarding sin. Not sin like we normally think about, but in a different sense. Hidden sin, deep down in our hearts. Sin uncovered, its ugly roots bared, even its seed exposed.  And it all started revealing itself to me in the most unlikely place, a ministry school classroom!

Its very easy to get all hyped on the Christian 'world', especially when you've belonged to big churches that are run like well oiled corporations. There's the 'look', the 'talk', the 'lifestyle', even the 'fish' on your car! There's the suits, demure dresses, short hair for men, big hair for women, the 'praise God' interjected into every sentence. There's the music, the Christian symbols on your car and bumper stickers. You can totally immerse yourself in the Christian culture.  Is this wrong? Well, not necessarily, but it can be dangerous!

Take for instance one of the couples in our year long ministry school class. Now keep in mind people in this class have come here from across the country and well, the world to attend to become God's ministers to His people. One particular couple really had the 'look'. I think our instructors as well as the rest of the class had this couple pegged as the next Kenneth and Gloria Copeland. They talked the talk They looked the part, attractive, well dressed. You could almost picture them on TV! Now, again, is there anything wrong with this? Not in itself. But, then again, when did God EVER pick people that looked the part? 1Samuel 17:7

Now seating in our class was not assigned, but on a first come first seat basis. As you would expect, most people tended to gravitate towards the same seat every day, based on when they got there. Well, let me share with you friends, hell hath no fury as the Christian that can't get their normal seat at church! The same was true here. One day another couple in our class, who typically were a little late each day and had to sit in the back, were thrilled to see a seat open up closer to the front. They settled themselves in. I sat amazed as I watched the 'golden couple' come in, stand in front of this couple and glare them down until the couple moved.

Well, I truly believe the Holy Spirit shares with you what is from God and what is not. Let me tell you, this was NOT from God. I tried to picture Jesus glaring down people that he went to dinner with so he could have his normal seat. You know, you can't blame people off the street that come into church and really don't know any better, but this couple was supposed to have the servant's heart of a pastor. This incident may seem very small, but it was here that the Lord started showing me sin past the outside. That there was something inside of people that made them sin.  Now really, this same couple, as most in our class, would have no trouble recognizing the smoker, the drinker, the adulterer as sinners, yet could not see their sin in exalting themselves over their brethren. They could not see the ugliness in their actions, and that, in fact, such a simple thing revealed so much about how they felt in their hearts about themselves and others. In fact, that one simple action has led me on a journey of discovery about true sin and exposed sin for the viewing. That in its basic form, from the first sin committed by Lucifer to every sin since, that the seed of all sin is... self. 

I really wanted to share this story with you, not as an expose of this couple, but to reveal how this one incident has changed my thinking on sin, and from that, shown me a whole new take on what's real and what's not. I started looking at myself and evaluating what I do and how I think to see if it muster's a 'good heart test'. I stopped worrying about keeping up a facade of how a 'good' Christian does things. Instead, I have tried to look at my heart and see through the veil of deceit in 'evaluating' others. I had so ensconced myself in the Christian culture that I looked with sympathy, and yes, a certain amount of contempt at others if I judged them to be sinners and heathen. This radical, but true, revelation of sin now makes me look not at the flaws in others, but inside my heart. Am I full of love towards others, with empathy?

There is an old song I remember that proclaimed 'they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love" that I think about often. Can others recognize me by the love I show to them and others? Am I clustered into groups of people I deem worthy enough to hang around with? If so, I have missed the mark! I like to picture Jesus hanging around and eating meals with the sinners of His time, healing on the Sabbath and in general disgusting the Pharisees that deemed Him to be not righteous enough.  He loved His people that were full of shortcomings regardless of their outward holiness. He looked instead at their hearts, just as even now He looks at mine. Its a sobering thought, that one day I will face Him with not my earthly trappings, the things I can use to fool others with, but with the inside of my heart open wide. And He will know.

 

 

 

Spring, 2003

Have you ever had so many things you wanted to talk about you didn't know where to start? That's kind of the way I feel right now!  I think of my Christian walk as taking a backwards path, not in moving away from God, but in regard to theology and doctrine.

I'll readily admit, I'm a studier. I love to delve into the Koine Greek meanings of Bible text. I love learning about Biblical Archeology and the culture of the time of Jesus. But frankly, the more I learn, the more I study, the more I think I understand some of the types and symbols used in the old testament and fulfilled in the new, the more I realize that Jesus brought a simple message to a simple people. He could theorize with the best of His time in the Temple, but he sought out the everyday people, the common man. He brought them the good news!

So I guess I follow this backward trail, seeing the unending questions of theology point to the simple. I see the way God, in His infinite order and wisdom show how He fulfills what He sets out, with a consistent meaning and message to us, His people.  I'd like to share some of this trail with you and hope you will visit me at this page to continue the journey!

 

 

 

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SEARINGHEART Luke 24:32

Last Updated : 09/23/2003

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