Contemplations After Reading “Looking Away From The Darkened Sun”

Michael Spencer wrote this article as commentary on a Churck Colson article from Christianity today. After reading Michael’s comments and the Colson article, I have some contemplations of my own that I would like to share.

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“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit–but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” (Matthew 7:24-27 MSG)

Last night at church, and Tuesday night with the youth, we have dealt with the issue of hard times. On Tuesday night it was the story of Job from the Fuel DVD ciriculum from LifeWay. On Wednesday night we discussed hard times using the Nooma DVD lesson called “Rain”.

In the Nooma DVD, Rob Bell makes a stricking comment. A comment that really gets to the heart of a lot of my issues recently as regards my interest in the Emerging Church. He says,

“There’s this false, twisted idea out there among religious people that somehow you’ve got to have it all together to have a relationship with God.”

He goes on to say that the Scriptures speak directly against that attitude when Jesus says,

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 HCSB)

The Message paraphrases it this way:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. (Matthew 11:28 MSG)

It seems to me that a lot of us in the more conservative and fundamentalist camps of Christianity get so caught up in trying to be right that we forget how to be correct. There is a difference. If you believe right, but promote those beliefs in a wrong way, you’re wrong. There’s no two ways about it. You may know all the answers and you may have the entire catechism memorised, but if you can’t explain that to a non-believer or a new convert, than you are doing nothing other than making noises.

Christ calls us to come to Him honestly and openly. He calls us to come to Him messed up. In the same DVD, Rob Bell states,

“God says to us, ‘When you come to Me, come to Me with all your junk, with all your problems, come to me all screwed up, all messed up. Let Me take care of it.'”

To be in a relationship with God, you don’t have to have it all together. You don’t have to be a Calvinist. You have to have faith in Jesus. You have to build your life on His teachings. Jesus says to us,

“if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach”

Christ’s teachings are much more than just things to know. They are things to be worked into our lives. And when the rain comes, that is when we see how firm our foundation really was.

You see, the stupid carpenter…He didn’t do so hot when the storm came. His house collapsed like a house of cards. Great was its fall.

The smart carpenter. That is a different story. “Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit–but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock”.

Let us strive to work the teachings of Jesus into our lives. Let us stop pretending that we have to have it all together when we come to God and instead be real and honest with Him. Let Him know that you’re broken. Let Him know that you’re all messed up. Trust Him.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. (Matthew 11:28 MSG)

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