Striped-Candy Christianity

Have you ever ‘liked’ a TV evangelist on facebook? Ever been inspired by a ‘motivational’ speaker in church. Ever gone to church to see what will happen next? Ever applauded the band at the front pretending to “applaud” Christ? Ever been more focused on the church tea than on hearing the word of God?

I have done most of those.

A W Tozer died in 1963, after a life of intimate communion with the Lord. This excerpt from his article on Religious Boredom is a great challenge to our churches today. Although, this article is not new, I believe it is worth reading. If Tozer was appalled at the state of the church in his day, what would he think of the church today?

“It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. So we have the strange anomaly of orthodoxy in creed and heterodoxy in practice. The striped-candy technique has been so fully integrated into our present religious thinking that it is simply taken for granted. Its victims never dream that it is not a part of the teachings of Christ and His apostles. Any objection to the carryings on of our present golden-calf Christianity is met with the triumphant reply: “But we are winning them!” And winning them to what? To true discipleship? To cross-carrying? To self-denial? To separation from the world? To crucifixion of the flesh? To holy living? To nobility of character? To a despising of the world’s treasures? To hard self-discipline? To love for God? To total committal to Christ? Of course, the answer to all this questions in NO! We are paying a frightful price for our religious boredom. And that at the expense of the world’s mortal peril!”

Tozer’s full article

How can we lead people to the Christ of the Bible through entertainment, fun and excitement. The only way to God is through His Word.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”John 1v 14

I am so grateful to God for leading us to a church that preaches from the Bible and does not ‘entertain’ its congregation. I am so challenged. Each day I find myself face to face with the God of the Bible through His Word.

“Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16 v 49

Advertisements

Grace in the Moment

Once again…

My 3 year old wants to go outside to play. I am happy for him to go outside but I am in the middle of homeschool and I don’t want him to get his clothes soaking wet as is his usual custom. I tell him – “sure you can – but no water!”. He can play with sand, soil, grass, cups berries, sticks, spades – but no turning the tap on – no water! “Do you understand Mommy?” “Yes Mommy.” “What did Mommy say you shouldn’t do?” “Play with water”. “Thats right – no turning on the tap. If you turn on the tap, you are disobeying Mommy.” “Okay Mom.” The two boys run outside to play.

20 minutes later I call the boys in. One is dry and my 3 year old is completely drenched from head to toe and covered with mud. It is smeared all over his clothes and caked on his face. Normally, I would be tempted to laugh – but because of our conversation where he understood me and promised to comply, the frustration rises up inside me like a volcano. How could he so defiantly disobey me and stand there with a happy smile on his face. I quickly turn away and go inside so that I don’t shout angrily at him.

“Help me Lord. I feel so angry, I don’t know what to do – how do I respond? How do I help Him to learn to obey. I need grace Lord.” The Lord calms my heart. I go and start the bath running. The anger feels like paint inside me – slowly running down the walls and getting less and less.

I step out in faith – He give me His grace in the moment – now its not just me, its me and the Lord.

I have grace.

I can give grace.

I call my child to the door, still not saying anything for fear I say something in an angry tone.

We take off the muddy clothes, wipe his feet and head for the bath. I gently sponge him off. He is subdued. He knows – but he was overwhelmed in the moment by the fun of it all – he’s only 3 years old after all.

Finally I take a deep breath. “Mommy is not angry with you, sweetheart.” As I say it all the last anger flows away and is replaced with love for my little sinner – a little sinner who needs grace just like I do.

He looks up hopefully. “but Mommy wants you to learn to obey. Did you disobey Mommy?” “Yes” “What did Mommy tell you not to play with?” “Water.”

We talk – his heart is open – and so is mine.

We deal with the disobedience and God is able to work in his soft heart and in mine. We are closer together as a result.

We talk about the consequences – wasted time – missing out on what we had planned…

He is such a precious blessing – worthy of the time it takes to teach him this.

At times I have despaired over this child – over whether he will ever learn to obey.

While God has never despaired over me – as I sin in my angry responses.

He is there waiting for me…  to ask for grace.

We are sinners – but we are also children of grace.

It is only as we surrendour to God each day in our imperfection that he gives us His grace.

Do you have any encouragement to share about God’s amazing grace?

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

A Great Little Key Combination

Did you know there’s a really easy way to capitalize a title or heading in most word processors? (unfortunately doesn’t work in blog editors)

To Capitalise a series of words like:

  • a great little key combination

In your word processor, select the phrase you’d like to capitalise and press shift+F3. Its a toggle – press it once and you get this:

  • A Great Little Key Combination

Press it again (shift+F3) and you get this:

  • A GREAT LITTLE KEY COMBINATION

third time and you’re back to:

  • a great little key combination.

So much easier than retyping when the caps lock is on by accident!

Works for Me Wednesday