Thursday, August 24, 2006

Between You And Me: Part 2

Back on June 22 I addressed part of Cory's comment where he said church seemed like a country club to many. I want to address another part of his comment as well:

"Church, and God, to some is a matter of keeping up with the Joneses."

I'm afraid I have to agree with you on that one, Cory. While many people today don't go to and never would go to or claim affiliation with a church, there are some who, unfortunately, go because they think that's what your supposed to do. Either they go out of habit (that's what they've always done), they go because they want to be looked on favorably by neighbors and the community, or they go literally like you said to try to keep up with what everyone else is doing.

The real tragedy is that many of the ones who come for the wrong reasons won't see any change because they have a closed heart. They expect the wrong things to happen in their lives. Some expect all their troubles to vanish like magic. Some expect to achieve great wealth and prosperity because they are 'doing the right thing' by going to church or they are 'doing a good work' by helping, volunteering, and giving money.

These are the ones I want to reach out to. Try to make them see the true purpose for coming.

Let me try to explain: you know how you go to work, make the money, pay the bills, fight the battles of day to day life? Do you ever feel like screaming out "ENOUGH! I just want to get off the merry-go-round! I'm tired of fighting! I just want to quit! I just want to be free! I need some help. I can't do it on my own any more." THAT's the reason for coming. To find freedom. To find rest. You're tired of fighting the world. You don't mind working but in the world today there's just too much pressing down on you and too much that just doesn't make sense.

That's where Jesus says "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

"...I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls..." Anyone who will take the time to read my past posts (Lauren) and the brief story of my life will understand why those words mean so much to me. I have surrendered my heart and my will to Jesus. I know that might sound hokey to some of you but I can testify that by giving up control of my life I have gained more freedom than I could have ever imagined.

What is the burden Jesus wants us to take up? What are we expected to do in exchange for giving Him our burden? Jesus said in Matthew 22: 37-39 that the two greatest commandments were to 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' and to `Love your neighbor as yourself.'

That's our burden: Love God with all we've got and love our neighbors like we love ourselves. If we do that there's no jealousy, no envy, no worry, no burdens, no chasing after the 'stuff' of this world. There's just love. I can't say it any better than Matt Redman:

The Heart Of Worship
When the music fades
All is stripped away, and I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless your heart

I’ll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about you
All about You Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about you
All about you Jesus

King of endless worth
No one could express
How much You deserve
Though I’m weak and poor
All I have is Yours, every single breath

I’ll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about you
All about You Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I've made it
When it’s all about you
All about you Jesus

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