2016: Page 136

Page 136 saw a return to cold weather with morning temperatures in the low to mid 30’s.  While the temperature outside was cold, the warmth of fellowship was present as the church family gathered to worship together this morning.  Our Sunday School class continued in the book of Proverbs with a focus on chapters 21 and 22 this morning.  As has been the case each week, there is so much wisdom represented in each verse that God wants us to not only know, but to focus on and apply in our lives.  The morning message at church was brought by our youth minister and continued a series through the Sermon on the Mount.  Today’s message from Matthew 7 focused on “Seeking What God Desires”.  The entire series is wrapped around a focus of being a relevant church by being the church Jesus founded back in the 1st century.  

While there is a push in many circles of influence, and even within many churches, to become more relevant by becoming more like the current culture, there is nothing more relevant to any person in existence than to become more like Christ.  Our focus as individuals, and as church congregations, must remain fixed on a growing relationship with Jesus.  While many would say that the calling of God for His followers to become a “peculiar people” doesn’t fit a culture that needs the church to be relevant, I contend that a church is completely irrelevant if it conforms to the surrounding culture without boldly proclaiming the absolute relevance of the truth found in Jesus.  

After the church gathering we headed to lunch and then down to Potato Creek for an early afternoon family hike.  While the wind was a bit brisk, the interior trails through the wooded areas were filled with a variety of songbirds.  As we walked the roadway back to the truck, we paused to watch an osprey soaring high overhead.  As he circled over the lake he would occasionally pause in mid-air with a razor-like focus on the water below.  Eventually he saw the opportunity he was waiting for and made a diving plunge into the water, coming up with a fish firmly grasped in its talons.  As he took his catch back to the nest to share with the family, we passed a heron wading through the shallows where it also maintained a steady focus as it watched for an opportunity to catch a meal of its own.

As I thought about the lessons from church, and from nature, I wondered about how focused we are in keeping the commands of Jesus to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love our neighbor as our self.  Our very survival, from an eternal perspective at least, depends on our razor-sharp focus in maintaining our walk with God every day.  The relevance we have as individuals, and as church congregations, depends not on our ability to be like the culture but on our razor-sharp focus in accurately representing Jesus to the culture.  

I pray that you and I would constantly seek the wisdom from God that He has promised to give without finding fault.  I pray that we would make the most of every opportunity to present Christ as relevant to every situation.  I pray that we would not succumb to the temptation to sacrifice truth in an attempt to make the gospel more acceptable.  I pray that we would understand how the transforming power of Christ becomes the only thing that maintains lasting relevance to a world that is lost. 

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