Monday, April 07, 2008

Bloody pits on a snowy day...

Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab's best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian's hand and killed him with his own spear. Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty men. He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard. -2 Samuel 23:20-23

It can't be done. I've heard this often castrates vision and hamstrings dreamers. It's the same kind of small minded thinking that Jesus rebuked the disciples about when they couldn't drive out a devil that had tormented, terrorized and almost destroyed a helpless child in Mark 9:14-29. Matthew records that in the same private discussion, Jesus chastised them for "the littleness of their faith" (Matt. 17:19-21).

Small thinking is at the root of much of the stagnant, powerless, storyless christianity that plagues many churches and too many Christian's lives. We've got no guts! Where are the Benaiah's? Those vision driven men and women who will hunt down a lion and dare to face him even in a pit on a snowy day! Not the most opportune situation I would imagine. Not great odds, not very sensible, thought out, wise or leveraged to his advantage. But there is a madness common to those who dare to follow God. Yes, an illogical bravery that teeters on insanity that leads them into bloody pits on a snowy day. What comes over a man to put everything on the line? What stirs in his blood to awaken him to risk everything for the chance to gain something that can only be grasped by those willing to lose it all?

The older you get, the more comfortable churches become...this spirit is often driven out by those who have forgotten the lure of such exploits. Neurological studies have shown that over the course of time, there is a cognitive shift from right-brain to left-brain. And if we don't find a way to stop the shift, memory overtakes imagination. We stop creating the future and start repeating the past. We stop innovating and start imitating. We stop doing ministry out of imagination and start doing ministry out of memory.

Other's mumble about not being called...

"Not called!" did you say?
"Not heard the call." I think you should say.
Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father's house and bid their brothers and sisters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face...whose mercy you have professed to obey...and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world. -William Booth

The times call for wildmen and women who will venture out of the cocoons of complacency and risk what they can not keep to gain what they can not lose.


Anonymous said...


Yesterdays sermon rekindled some old feelings that I thought had been rationalized away to the backburner for good.

Has the modern American church lost it ("it" being the vision of what it really means to BE a christian)to the degree that my mind has been telling me?

The sermon yesterday was......well,don't take this the wrong way.....unsettling. My wife and I had a discussion last night about how we want to have an authentic christian home, not one that our children will ultimately label hypocritical and end at their rejection of our "faith".

We will be searching to discover what the word says about this, but I have to tell you, I'm scared, cause I think I already know (at least to a degree) and I willing to make the sacrifice necessary to have that authentic christianity in my and my families life?

Thanks for pushing me to the edge once again.

Dave Jones

Unknown said...

Hebrews 12:27 uses a phrase about "shaking anything that can be shaken, so that only the unshakable will remain." I think that God allows life to accomplish that and I think His word creates that process too. Ultimately leading to a more sure footing than any of the other stuff we were settling on. I share your "unsettledness" too...if I truly believe the gospel, I must surrended my life in ways that push me too. But, never under estimate the reality that exists already in your home. Don't lose sight of the graces that adorn your home by God's mercy. He has allowed your kids to grow up in a home that cares about the issues you are wrestling with. That is a gift. A father who is willing to subject himself to the fire of God's word and simmer in its embers until the gold begins to glitter through the rubbish. You are God's gift to your kids.

Remember this too: Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us daily. -Sally Koch

Anonymous said...

Great advice Eric, I posted this little piece on my blog and think it re-iterates your sentiments -- “Life’s crowning victory belongs to those who have won no brilliant battle, suffered no crushing wrong; who have figure in no great drama, whose sphere was obscure, but who have loved great principles midst small duties, nourished sublime hopes amid vulgar cares, and illustrated eternal principles in trifles.”
Newell Dwight Hillis

Love Dad