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June 3rd - God’s Will Hunting

God’s Will Hunting

(1 Kings 14:19-20; 15:8-10, 12-34; 16:1-29, 31; 21:25-26; 22:41-4)

(2 Chronicles 14:1-15; 15:1-19; 16:1-14; 17:1-19; 18:1; 20:31-33)

Are you hungry?

I know that I surely am. I’m hungry for more. I’m hungry for more of God, more of His truth, more of His Word and more of His teaching.

I want to grow up in the Lord and to become fully committed to Him. Although I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Master and Savior nearly 40 years ago, I still yearn to continue growing in His grace.

Here’s a true confession: I am an active member of a large and busy church. The congregation is filled with friendly and fun people who love the Lord. An energetic and talented team leads rollicking worship each week, building enthusiasm and excitement for the presence of the Lord. Every Sunday, individuals give their hearts to the Lord for the first time. God is absolutely working in our midst.

Still, I am looking for a meaty Bible study. I am starving. I crave challenging content. I have a deep desire to fill up several spiral notebooks with rhema revelations from the living Lord. I want more of Him.

I want to teach others of Him as well. And I am not alone. Christ followers in many congregations seem to feel the same way. Plenty have said so, and we are storming the throne room of God together to ask for more. Much more.

God promises to answer.

Today’s daily Scripture reading contains a wonderful promise for all who will seek God.

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth

to strengthen those

whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”

(2 Chronicles 16:7-9, NIV)

Today’s Bible reading seems so timely and appropriate to our modern culture – and even many of our modern churches. Both Judah and Israel vacillated between idolatry and faithfulness, usually led by the hearts of their various rulers.

Does 21st Century Christian culture vacillate as well?

Modern mega-churches and their celebrity pastors hold church growth workshops and publish volumes of church management how-to’s. Local church leaders race to scoop up the latest lessons in ecclesiastical promotion and leadership. Marketing and efficiency experts advise church staffs and boards, perhaps even adapting secular business models to the church.

Instead of planting small, intimate and mutually accountable congregations in new communities, many large churches now establish satellite video services (on-site, online or in new physical locations). These programs offer today's churches a means of growing their numbers without incurring huge building costs and greatly increased operating budgets. This can certainly be wise stewardship, at least fiscally. May the Lord guide and help us to keep ministry personal as well.

Even our most popular Bible studies are often video-based. While these may provide excellent content, are we supplanting those in our own midst who might otherwise emerge as gifted teachers? Do we build Bible students or simply nudge one another along with our fill-in-the-blank discipleship? The questions beg to be asked.

New patterns of pastoral leadership and Christian ministry emerge almost annually. And we seem to adapt eagerly to fit the models of the latest mega-church.

Much good has come from these ministries. At the same time, however, ought we not to ask some difficult questions? Has the church itself become a new form of pop culture, or are we merely mirroring it in our midst?

Where do evangelism and discipleship fit in this process?

Of course, we can rejoice that the Gospel is now carried technologically to areas where it previously may not have been shared. However, we are prompted to pray that God will preserve congregational fellowship, mutual edification, Christian community and personal accountability.

If, for some reason, I do not show up at church for a few months, will anyone notice? Will someone check in with me in Christian love? Maybe and maybe not.

Many churches now employ small groups, which are intended to function as small churches of sorts. In many cases, this may be so.

Still, our supersizing may cause some of us to remember wistfully the days of the local church family, when folks truly knew and cared for one another. We might look back at centuries of Christendom, in which believers belonged to tightly knit communities. Today, churches talk about “doing life together” in small groups. In the past, folks just naturally shared their lives, for good or ill.

Surely, the bottom line is expressed in today’s Scripture readings in 2 Chronicles. This Old Testament verse contains an eternal truth:

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth

to strengthen those

whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”

(2 Chronicles 16:7-9, NIV)

The church is surely growing. Are we growing up as well?

If our hearts are fully committed to the living Lord, what will church look like? What formats will we need? What music will we have? Will we employ trendy graphics and intriguing dramatic skits? Will the pastor include clever quips or amusing anecdotes?

The mechanics and methodologies may differ in each situation. In a sense, the medium hardly matters, so long as people are reached with God’s Good News. The message is everlasting, isn’t it?

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,

baptizing them in the name of the Father

and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

and teaching them to obey everything

I have commanded you.

And surely I am with you always,

to the very end of the age."

(Matthew 28:18-20, NIV, emphasis added)

God is with us. He has called His people to follow Him, to lead others to Him and to teach one another to love and obey Him.

Are you hungry?

How will you be fed? Whom will you feed as well? And what will you feed them?

Can anyone point me to a solid-food Bible study?

Will you pray with me?

Oh, Lord, We are hungry!

Feed us with Your Word.

Raise up teachers among us.

Instruct us in Your truth,

And equip us to instruct others.

Build Your Kingdom

On earth

And in each of Your disciples.

Grow us up, Lord,

Until Your image in us

Can be clearly seen.


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1 comment:

  1. The hunger you so vividly express WILL be filled! This hunger is the prerequisite for His infilling and overflowing us.
    For deep, deep spiritual waters I challenge you to read the early Christian Fathers and the spiritual classics of the Saints.
    Long before I converted from Protestantism to Catholicism, I discovered in these works wells of living water that no modern Christian writing can touch.
    I will be praying for you in the knowledge that God will answer above and beyond anything you could imagine or ask for!