Saturday, April 13, 2013

Waiting on the Lord is always worth the wait

All right, so nobody told me that signing your kid up for junior high track meant that you’d be standing around all day waiting for him to run a race that took all of 15 seconds. In the cold wind, with sand and dirt blowing from every which direction in your face and eyes. With a concession stand lunch consisting of a lukewarm hotdog. 

The sacrifices we parents make for our children. Guess I’m exaggerating a little. It wasn’t really all day. Just that we arrived in Rochester for the 9 a.m. meet, and it wasn’t until about 11 that Tyler participated in his first event, the long jump. Then we must have waited another two hours before he ran in the 100. Then I think it was another two hours before his relay team was on the track. So, yeah, pretty much all day.

Not a waste, mind you. We were able to see quite a few PORTA junior high athletes perform, and they all gave a great effort in representing the school. So, good job, guys, in your first meet of the season! 

We are blessed to have a good school with teachers and coaches and administrators and staff, not to mention some outstanding volunteers, who lead our kids well and strive to prepare them for success in life, whether in the classroom, on the athletic field, through music and the arts and a host of other organizations in which they have opportunity to learn and to lead. Thank you for investing in our children’s lives!

Who really enjoys waiting, though? It’s not one of our strong points. We live in a culture where we want and expect things now, not later. You pull up to the drive-through at your favorite local fast food establishment and you don’t want to be there for 20 minutes when you only have a 30 minute lunch break. You arrive early at the doctor’s office for your appointment in hopes that you won’t have to wait too long, but you know bringing a good book with you anyway is a good idea. And who waits to read the morning newspaper when you can get all the stories right on your mobile device now?

The people of Israel were not good at waiting either. God had called their fearless leader Moses to the top of Mt. Sinai where He would give Him the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone. As Moses went up the mountain, the glory of God came down in a cloud and His presence like a devouring fire lit up the atmosphere. I long for the day when God reveals His glory so visibly in our midst. Or perhaps I fear such a day.

Well, the people grew restless as Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights on the mountain. They got tired of waiting. Apparently they forgot to bring their Kindle Fire along or couldn’t get a strong enough wifi signal to download another book to read. Either way, they wrote Moses off and demanded of Aaron that he make gods for them, apparently soon forgetting commandments number one and two (see Exodus 20:1-6).

And Aaron, Moses’ brother who was left in charge, rather than standing boldly for the Lord in truth and righteousness, caved in to the demands of the crowds, fashioned a golden calf and declared, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” (Exodus 32:4). 

It is a sad day when leaders of the people give in to the tide of current popular opinion instead of gaining strength by waiting upon the Lord. It is a sad day when leaders let the ungodly set the course and go right along with them. It is a sad day when leaders seek to please men rather than seeking to please God. 

Rather than waiting to hear from Moses the Word of the Lord, the people began self-destructing by doing whatever they saw as right in their own eyes. Let us be a people who wait upon the Lord, who delight in and yield to the authority of God’s Word, and stand boldly upon His truth and righteousness in a world of wickedness and destruction.    

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ready to be blown away by the glory of God

I hope you had a great Easter celebration this past Sunday. We were blessed by a wonderful worship service in which our choir sang the praises of the One who died and rose again. What a blessing, as well, to see all the children lining the platform for the children’s message! 

To all our guests who attended, as well as to our faithful fellowship, thank you for being a part of this special day. It was truly a joy to worship with you. And as I said, if you are looking for a church home but just haven’t quite found the place, we’d love to talk to you more about the mission and ministries of the First Baptist Church. 

All I can say is, something good is going on. Maybe better said, Someone good is going on. That Someone is Jesus. And as long as He’s the main attraction of the main event, then church is good. 

We’re not here to dazzle anyone with our music, although we do strive to give our best to the Lord through our songs of praise. We’re not here to impress anyone with fancy stained glass windows or magnificent architecture, although we’ll try to keep our windows clean and our building in good working order. We’re not here to tickle anyone’s ears with a feel-good, self-help, seven-steps-to-a-better-you kind of message, although we do hope you’ll feel better when you hear and believe the gospel message.

Our desire is to encounter the glory of God in worship. We want to hear from heaven. We want to experience the presence of the Almighty in our midst. And I believe God wants to show up and show out among us more than we know.

I think too many times we’re content to settle for less than God wants for us. We’re comfortable with going through the motions of worship without actually worshipping. We’re satisfied with coming to church instead of actually being the church. We’re good with making room for God without giving Him full control. We’re okay with hearing the Word of God as long as it doesn’t interfere with the routines of our lives. 

Friend, God wants to interfere with your life! He wants to disrupt your convenient schedule and change your self-focused plans and dreams. He wants to transform your worldly way of thinking. He wants to reshape your selfish attitudes and half-hearted motivations. He wants to conform your stubborn will to His. 

The psalmist knew something about this desire to truly encounter the Lord and to seek Him above everything else. He didn’t settle for lesser things. He wanted the real thing and would not be satisfied with anything else. 

We have two growing boys, both of whom often come home from school having worked up a mean appetite. They’re not satisfied with a single pretzel or a baby carrot or a slice of an orange. They’re hungry for food, and lots of it!

In Psalm 27 David’s worked up a mean appetite for God. His one-thing desire is to dwell in the house of the Lord, meaning to live continually in the light of His presence and glory. He’s not satisfied with a small taste of the Almighty or just okay with keeping traditions. He wants to encounter and enjoy and be blown away by the glory of God.

The reason David’s craving is so intense is because it’s fueled by knowing that the Lord is his light and his salvation. The Lord is his safety against the advances of the enemy. The Lord is his stronghold and shelter. There’s nowhere else to go.

It is time for us to look heavenward, to fix our eyes on Jesus, to settle for nothing less and nothing else than to know Him more, to encounter His presence, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Let’s come to church ready to be blown away by the power and majesty and glory of God! Come, Lord Jesus, steal our show for Your glory!