Saturday, February 21, 2009

No brainer....

Sometimes it takes a long morning walk to put two-and-two together. Other times of course I could walk five miles and the penny still wouldn't drop. But this morning - random thoughts settling on my brain and just as quickly moving off (how I wish I knew how to trap some of them) - I made a connection between a couple of recent discussions I've had that was kind of an "ah-ha".

So apologies to my Atlanta friends, but I'm going to out them on this one. I'm wondering if maybe they made the connection already; but then I probably would have heard something...

To summarize, here are the two posts in "Cliffnotes" version.
  • First, I responded (The February 6 post) to a question about realizing the truth of God's presence in everyday life. Several guys my friend knows had expressed the desire to know God more fully, but they were/are frustrated at God's apparent distance so much of the time.
  • Then, a few days ago (and I just realized this was actually an email exchange that I haven't blogged about until today) we exchanged some thoughts about what happens in between church, small-group gatherings, or Bible-study meetings - the ongoing challenge vis-a-vis encouraging people to follow through in terms of contact, prayer, accountability, intentionality, encouragement etc....
Now I hope it's not just me, but is anyone else seeing the GLARING truth that's just jumping around trying to be noticed here? It's like one of those New Testament moments when I swear Jesus would have used the word "duh" if it has been invented in its Aramaic equivalent. Here it is: The exact same people who expressed their profound and honest desire to connect more meaningfully with God in the day to day.... are the same group of folk who routinely pass up on the opportunity to deliberately be the presence of Jesus in one-another's lives...

The following turns out to be a consistent phenomenon: Jesus followers who intentionally reach out to one-another (on a day-to-day basis) experience more in the way of affirming spiritual experience between Sundays than those who park their faith-based relationships in a quiet place when they are not at church or attending a church-related activity.
  • Here's the (potentially) liberating truth: We say we want to experience the kind of relationship with God that is evident and personal each and every day... Yet we routinely fail to follow through when it comes to putting into practice the simple principles advanced by Jesus himself.... What's up with that?
Jesus said very little about doctrine, or about the way he leaned regarding church politics. But the Master did offer some very clear observations regarding how people would know that we are - in truth - his disciples. "Let me give you a new command," he said: "Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples — when they see the love you have for each other." (John 13:34-35 The Message)
  • Would it not then follow that such a demonstration of love involve deliberate reaching out to one another, and more than once every week or two, at church?
  • Would it not also follow that following Jesus so closely might lead to an increased apprehension of the reality of God's presence?
Love one another.
Do it well.
Then let's talk about Do we feel close to God...?
I'm just saying....

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