Responding to God

July 27, 2015

For as long as I can remember, I seem to have some recollection of the Jonah and the whale story. I think the thing that really blew me away this time hearing it was the revelation of Jonah being the only one of the prophets going to a people group that is outside of God’s chosen people to deliver a word from God that we don’t even get to hear the actual message. Like… what? What does that say about God and about His message to us? Like all the other prophets we get to see insight into the warnings, guidance, hopes, and judgements of God’s people and the one that is to the “outsiders” is hidden? It is one of the biggest evangelical crusades of the Old Testament and we don’t even get to hear the message Jonah spoke. How powerful did that word have to be?

To change the most wicked city and for them to repent and turn to God…every person… ALL of them! That blows my mind. Could it be that the reason that we don’t get that insight, as the “God’s people” of modern day, is that God is so much more concerned with our hearts and realigning our hearts, our passions, our purposes and our convictions back to His? I heard a quote recently from Tony Evans that said this, “God has established the church as the dominant cultural influencer. That is why it is the condition of the church that will determine the wellbeing of the community.” Thinking of all of this in the context of just what is happening in this last year with racial tensions and same sex marriage and everything else it made me reflect. God is so much more concerned about the church being the church. We have been talking about embracing culture and diversity, and all that is great and needed and vital to the true Gospel, but it is secondary.

Galatians 3:28 states “There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We are all one in Christ Jesus first and that then filters through our culture and should be embraced, appreciated, and accepted but secondary. I think what has happened, in our culture in both society and the church, is that angle has been flipped on its head and now the culture dictates a lot of what the church does. When it influences the church, then it will ultimately influence the community. If the church is segregated the community will be segregated. If there are racial biases in hearts of the people in the church it will spill over into the community. I am thoroughly convinced that the answers to all of this is the church being the church and everything that that emplies. I believe that the same is true today.

God is so much more concerned about the church being the church. That includes diversity, that includes reconciliation…that includes unity and love for each other… it includes serving each other and so much more. If we loved each other, and well, I believe people would take notice. How many times did Israel, in the Old Testament get to a place and the people there already know about their God and how He provided and protected and loved them? What if the same were true today?

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