Tuesday, July 19, 2016

This isn't going to be a posting of how I have discovered the missing piece that the church is lacking. I haven't. It isn't going to be me telling you what's wrong with church, for as much wrong that may exist...the church still does a whole lot that is good and right. Sometimes I think we forget that the church is a group of fallible humans worshiping an infallible God. Imperfect beings giving themselves to One that is perfect. On the other hand, I'm not going to make excuses for our imperfections...we are called to be a work in progress, as we allow God's Holy Spirit to transform us into the people God desires us to be.

So what is this post about?
It's about our need for a "PAUL" in our lives.

A "Paul" that would love us and speak truth to us. We all need that voice from another human being who is telling us what we need to hear. Not in a busy-body kind of telling...but one who is in touch with God and is willing to be that person who will encourage us....edify us...and yes...speak those things that we may be ignoring that we know God wants to address in our lives. A voice that will say the hard things to us that are necessary for our growth in Christ.
I'm reading the book of Philippians and it just occurred to me (I am somewhat slow) that there was a real love relationship between Paul and the church at Philippi. You can feel it as your read the opening words in Chapter one. "I thank my God in all my remembrances of you. Always offering prayers with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel form the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you are all partakers of grace with me."

Don't get me wrong about what I have insinuated here in this posting. I'm not trying to replace God speaking to us, or rejecting hearing God through the study of His word, but we need people around us who will not only encourage us, but correct us as a fellowship. I have such people around me. The one thing that has come out of working in recovery is that it has to be done with a heavy dose of truth in everything you say. I have to have a voice that will call me when they see me being to  heavy handed, or to easy, letting things slide. Attitudes and behaviors that you know are part of the trail leading back to an old lifestyle that will end badly. 

I keep going back to the original mandate God gave me when we started Vineyard Recovery Church. In no uncertain terms He said, "It is MY meeting...I will grow it...I will heal it...I will be in it." What was my part in all of this? To simply stay out of His way and cooperate with Him. This means that sometimes when I think I've got a really good message..it may not be the message He wants given. Many is the time I've stood up to speak and have a knowing inside that God wants to say something else. To tell you truth, such times are unnerving because you are moving into uncharted waters. But God has been faithful, and continues to be, as He will provide what is needed to be spoken. 

As part of our ongoing view of VRC, i always ask out core leadership to be in prayer, and to seek God for direction VRC will need to follow. One person recently called me to share what they had heard. It was a hard word, but one that needed to be shared. It gave a clear picture of what the path ahead of us will hold, and our need as a fellowship to prepare. Such is the voice of "PAUL". This individual has a track record of hearing God, so it was easy to truly believe that what they had heard was true. They loved VRC enough to share it. This person was looking out for the welfare and good of the group. That is the true heart of a "PAUL". The realization that we are all in this together, serving one God with a common purpose. As I tell folks...."this life of chasing after Jesus isn't all sunshine, puppy dogs and unicorns. It's messy....it's hard...and it's a journey more about not giving up than it is having our comfort needs met. Somehow, I believe when it's all over, it will have been worth it.

God on you..

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