A Smouldering Wick

Just a cursory flip through Living Waters evangelism YouTube videos, you see one of the great viruses that plague our nation – apathy. Not that we don’t care about things. It’s painfully obvious in “outrage”, “cancel”, and various other cultural terms, we care quite a lot. Unfortunately, while some occasions for care are legitimate, we get so consumed in temporal pursuits that we are almost totally absent of care for the eternal. 

I wish I could say that once you become a believer you are no longer a participant of this soul sucking and life wasting sin, but I find myself melting into a puddle of apathy on a regular basis. This may take the form of procrastination in personal study of God’s word, eventually leading to falling asleep during quiet time – or even skipping it all together, not seeking to serve my community and brothers and sisters in the Lord, not actively sharing the hope that I have – seeking to make Christ known, making disciples of my children and neighbors, not taking the care to put others’ needs before my own in service that points to the glory of Christ, and the list could go on. Not only do I miss a grand opportunity to obey in these ways, but my apathy seeps down further and quenches my desire for these things. It leaves me with a smouldered flame of a past love for the Lord, that I just can’t seem to revive. 

I know I’m not alone in this. I know that the culture at large is dealing with one of the greatest rates of suicide we’ve seen since WW2. I don’t find this statistic’s origin far removed from the apathetic state we find ourselves in. One way apathy can be made manifest is when we aren’t ordering our life the way we ought – with Christ’s kingdom first. Sadly, our felt need to escape a tumultuous existence, in this sin riddled world, combined with disordered affections (or the feeling of having none at all) leaves many without hope and seeking to “save” themselves from a meaningless and painful life. 

Yes, apathy can drag us that far. It can blind us to the realities of eternity with the vanity of our daily grind. It can numb us to the real urgency we should possess in having a right standing with God, who we all must give an account. And it can ensnare us to not care for the eternities of those perishing around us.

Do yourself the duty to complete a quick google search of current Christian matrys – they are nearing genocide numbers. These are believers that have been spared the sin of apathy, because their life is lived in the pursuit of Christ, with all else (including their own lives) counted as rubbish. They have not held on to any earthly comforts that would invade their hearts and spawn apathetic feelings. They have their treasure in Heaven – Christ. These are the types of lives we should be living too. Sold out for Christ, serving our King, spreading the Gospel.

So, is it the same for you as it is for me? We sit comfortably fattened from our holiday meals, warmed in our homes, surrounded by the luxuries of the typical American life, and once quietly with our own thoughts, something feels heavy. The apathy we feel and vanity of life we participate in, are flooded to the forefront of our minds. 

But in that moment I want to speak to you and speak to me. I want to first speak to the unbeliever: you are lost. Not in a wandering sense but in a sinful and hellbound sense. The feelings of meaninglessness are real because you have only seen and loved the world that is passing away. But God has given his son, Jesus, so that you may have life and life abundantly. Abundant life in full service to him, dying to self, risking everything because He gave everything on the cross for your sin. Abundant life eternally, with no pain, sin, or brokenness. He paid in full, the penalty for your sin, if you believe in him alone for your righteousness before God. However, if you reject this free gift, you are saddled with the payment in full and you will be called to the judgement seat to pay with your very eternal life. Until that judgement day comes, you will have to find your own temporal meaning that is fleeting and failing. I pray that you see it’s failures and come to rest in the eternal, lasting hope you can have in Christ alone.

Believers, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and myself: Walk in the manner of your calling. See what a great gift you possess, the talents that God has entrusted you with, and deal wisely with them – God will call you before Himself to assess the work you have done with his assets. Know that this is not a time to be at peace. Yes you have peace with God, but on this Earth you are fighting a spiritual battle in the name of your King. He has given you His Spirit and He hasn’t left you. Despite your apathy toward His mercy, kindness, love, and blessings, He remains with you and will see you through. This doesn’t mean that you are helpless. You are empowered by the Spirit to follow the commands he has given you: love God, love neighbor, make disciples. He has gifted you with the high calling of being an ambassador of Christ while on Earth. Make much of this opportunity. Work as though for the Lord, because you are. Enjoy the fruits of your labors that God has blessed and trust him with the growth of fruit you have yet to see. Trust that He is ever working in your heart and for your good. Cry out to Him for a heart that worships and is in service to Him for all your days. Read His word that He’s given you, because in it is the Gospel. And the Gospel will fuel you to obey and think rightly. 

Finally, I’m praying for you and myself in this struggle. We don’t get to waste our lives when such a gift has been given. Don’t lose the love that you had at the beginning. Repent and believe the Gospel, see your ever present need for the Spirit’s application of God’s truth in your life. Rely not on your own strength, but on Christ. And have hope in the future life to come in eternity.

“a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice”

Isaiah 42:3

In Christ, 

Michelle

America’s Religion: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-vsb6h-c54db0

When prosperity gospel, word of faith, pragmatism, cultural Christianity and man-centered theology collide, you get the hideous creature called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Coined by a team of sociologists, this American religion hides in plain sight. Join Betsy and Michelle as they discuss the core tenants, easy to spot signs, and how to counteract this all too common belief system within American evangelical churches.

 

Serving to the Glory of God

This week on the podcast Travis and I chatted about serving the church and how Jesus is the perfect model for selfless giving of our time and talents. Today, I just want to get into the practical side of this subject. We went over the “why”, now lets move on to the “how”.

God gives gifts to his people not primarily as a means of fulfillment for us as individuals, but for the maturing of his church. Our service to the church yields several benefits—for ourselves, for others, and most importantly for the glory of God. We cannot say that the Body doesn’t need us or that we don’t need the Body.

Before I begin I want to mention that this isn’t an exhaustive list and some of these ideas might not even apply to the church you’re apart of. Also, keep in mind your talents and abilities. If you have no idea how to play piano, then maybe don’t try out for the worship team. If you have a difficult time with organization, then heading up a planning committee might no be where God is leading you. Lastly, pray and ask God where He wants you to be.

Okay, let’s do this!

Teach a Class – Just as we mentioned in the podcast, teaching isn’t meant for everyone. Maybe teaching a children’s Sunday school class is more suitable for your abilities. Whether you’re teaching adults, teens or children, you should take this responsibility seriously.

Discipleship Ministry – Some churches have an active discipleship ministry. Talk with your pastor about how to lead a discipleship group and helping other Christian growth in their faith. Disciplining others is a great way to grow to spiritual maturity

Greet People – “Hello! How are you this morning? That’s quite a fancy shirt you got on!”. I already gave you your first greeting!

Cleaning – It’s a dirty job but someones gotta do it (lol).

Maintenance – Are you pretty handy with a hammer? Maybe you do some carpentry in your spare time? Churches could always use help with the maintenance of the building and grounds.

Prayer Team – Prayer is the most important thing we can do and it should always be our first action in all decisions. Our churches and pastors need our prayers. Consider joining a prayer team and bring your requests to God in a group setting.

Worship Team – Joining the worship band or team shouldn’t be your chance to fulfill your dream of being a rock star. This job is to help lead the church in worship to the Almighty Creator!

Nursery or Children’s Church – This is a valuable ministry especially to families who have young children that may be serving in another capacity on a Sunday morning. It’s a serious job to take care of other people’s children and may require extra patience and gentleness if you have some rowdy kids in your care (like our kids for example).

That’s just a quick sampling of places where you might find a need in your church body. If you aren’t sure where you can serve, ask your pastor! The leadership in your church would be grateful for your willingness to help and participate. And of course, bring all your requests and desires to God through prayer and the reading of the Word.

In Christ, Betsy