“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17 (NIV)
A Little Understanding – The Entryway isn’t Enough
Childlike faith is the key to the entire floor plan, starting with the entryway but going far beyond. We must believe that there is more, laying out our lives in such a way that we can discover it. Childish faith is just happy where it is, in the entryway. When the entryway dweller does become a little restless, their options are limited by their one-room floor plan. They can look all over the space they have and discover there is no more to discover! The only way to improve the entryway is to give it a facelift. Make things look better. Continuing with the entryway metaphor, adding a coat of paint, a new closet organizer, updated tiles, a table for cell phones and keys, and new door mats should do it. It may be the same room, but it looks so much better!
I hate choices. Okay, that isn’t totally correct. I hate choices that have an upside and a downside; I find it hard to make up my mind. I’ve been told it is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, so why does a guy like me have so much trouble making up his mind? My theory is this “woman’s prerogative” observation was made by a man watching his wife shopping for clothes or shoes or both. The fact he was willing to say it out loud leads me to believe that he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the drawer. He was probably the same man who when asked by his wife during the shopping trip, “Do these pants make me look fat?” answered, “I don’t think it has anything to do with the pants.” Not being a medical doctor or psychologist does not exclude me from stating with 99.5% certainty: men can be indecisive (and fat) too.
We, as Christ followers, aren’t so good at loving God fully and completely. If we aren’t so good at it, then the collective of Christ followers must suffer from the same flaw. Did you know that loving God completely is actually part of our nature? God created us that way, and until a piece of fruit and a slithering tempter altered the path of history, that’s the way it was. God created human beings different from other beings. Humans are created in the image of God and are able to think and make choices. Inside this creation was the longing to be tied to God. Outside of it was the sense that…
People often ask, “Why does life suck?” For those who find the language offensive, please forgive me, but it wouldn’t be a quote if I tried to soften it. Pastors may use more carefully chosen words, replacing the offensive ones and reworking the question this way: “Why is everything a struggle at my church?” I would never go as far as to say the solution to life sucking or a struggling church is Proverbs 3:5-6, but I can say the solution to navigating through these times is not in your hands, your strength, or how you understand things. The solution lies in letting God take over, and He will plot the course. He will carry the weight. “He will make your paths straight.”
Many personal growth, church growth, and outreach how-to books and motivational sermons are “mirrors,” or to bring it back around to the building metaphor, pictures of the décor. They address the appearance. This isn’t a bad thing. Appearance will go a long way when it comes to enticing people to visit your church or ask about your faith. What people see demonstrates the commitment, enthusiasm, and passion of Christ followers.
Boy, I struggled with this Advent theme! I feel… I guess I should stop there because I have already started off on the wrong foot. Joy is not a feeling. Joy is supposed to be a constant. Joy is not influenced by situations but rather situations should be influenced by joy with one notable exception. Joy should grow stronger as we recognize that God has a plan no matter what situation we go through. Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve, when it comes to me and joy. Often I allow my feelings to bury my joy, even deplete it. Joy shouldn’t be influenced by situations but if Satan has his way, joy is all but eliminated or at least forgotten/overlooked when life doesn’t go the way we had hoped…