Saturday, September 27, 2008

Living Beyond Ourselves

There is nothing more dangerous for the soul than "playing it safe" Christianity. That's where we plot along and give mental accent to some Bible truths (Jesus is Lord, He loves the world, we should treat others well, etc), but the nature of who Jesus is doesn't penetrate our souls. And when that happens we grow apathetic and avoid life on the edge - the place where normal Christianity is meant to be lived. Proverbs 29:18 says (esv), "Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint (or they get discouraged)..." That's another way of saying when there is no audacious, Christ-honoring picture of the future that is beyond our ability, we wonder off into Christian routine and apathy. How do you know if that's you? How do you know if you are living radically, for a vision that is beyond you? Well here's a few questions you might ask yourself:

1) Do I step outside my past experience and do things that are uncomfortable to facilitate kingdom advancement or the building up of the church?
2) Do I give generously and even amounts that I'm not sure I can afford, but God amounts told me to give?
3) Do I often do things for others regardless of how it affects me?
4) When I reflect on my life now and my life 12 months ago, can I see clear change?
5) Am I in constant prayer?

It's that last question, I would like to write a few more thoughts about - prayer. If we seek to live for an audacious, Christ-honoring vision that is beyond ourselves, we will pray a lot because we are abundantly aware that God needs to do something or this vision we have is a pipe dream. By the way, if our vision is within our natural abilities, it's not Christ-honoring. God calls us into the realm of the impossible. He has done so in your life since the day He saved you from your sins and bought you into His kingdom. And according to Jesus, entering the kingdom on your own effort is as easy as a camel passing through the eye of the needle - and if you don't know anything about camels or needles, that's impossible. Now here's what God wants to do in your life (the vision he has for you in some shape or form): he wants to use you to see many others enter His kingdom and for your life (as a part of the church) to be representation of Jesus and a demonstration of kingdom life! You can't do that in your own ability. You need God to step in and do something. That is where prayer comes in. Prayer is a demonstration that you are in need of God to sustain what you're all about. Just like eating today was a demonstration of my physical need for food. It would be stupid for me to think I don't need to eat - eventually. If I don't, I die. If you're not in that place of prayer, where you are contending and believing for something beyond you, you die. Spiritually, you begin to die.

Coming together for prayer is accepting God's invitation to partner with Him to live beyond ourselves. I want to encourage us to prioritize times of prayer together. Not because it is a religious activity for us to check off our list, but because we are living beyond ourselves and we know we need God.

Here's the prayer schedule for next week:

Monday: the Wentzville location gathers at 7 PM
Tuesday: Leaders gather at 5:30 PM
Wednesday: City location (last name A-L) gathers at 7 PM
Thursday: City location (last name M-Z) gathers at 7 PM
Friday: Both locations gather at 7 PM for a time of celebration and to set in Larry Mowrey as an elder