Re-Construction

Philippians 1:6; Revelation 3:14-21Image

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Every once in a while when you visit a favorite site or blog you are met with a “under construction” page.  You are instructed to come back at a later time.  Don’t go anywhere… because I have a construction project I need to announce.  The project is me.  I sense a need for change in my heart and life.  I am praying for personal revival.

Gypsy Smith (an evangelist from another era) used to tell his audiences: “Do you really want to see a revival begin? Then go back to your home and draw a circle three feet around in your bedroom. Then get down on your knees in the middle of it and ask God to convert everybody inside that circle. When you do that, you are experiencing the start of revival.”  I have begun to draw the circle in my own life.

I am frustrated in the construction project which is me.  I thought I was building a pretty good house there for awhile.  It seems the winds of time and circumstance have blown the the thing flat.  I’m getting tired of imaging walls were there are no walls… and the winds are starting to blow cold.

I’m reminded of the lyrics of an old Greg X. Volz song:  “How can you rebuild what once had stood so tall… when rubble covers everything in sight?”

I know I need to shore up some faith in the Philippians 1:6 promise.  What God started in me on December 6th, 1980…. he will be faithful to bring to an end, accomplish, perfect, execute, complete… the work he began in me.
What will cause me to pick up the pieces and build a great cathedral for God?  The desire to live a vibrant life in Christ for starters.  Author Greg Ogden wrote:

“All too often I have watched myself and others slowly turn down the temperature to where we become lukewarm and insipid.  We need purifying and refining contexts where the best is continuously called out of us.  Humans follow the law of entropy; we wind down, and our energy dissipates unless the poker stokes the coals of our lives and stirs them up again.  (Greg Ogden,Transforming Discipleship, p. 114.)

I don’t want to be lukewarm or tepid.  What I built yesterday was great in its day.  It is time to build a more glorious tabernacle.

ImageThere is some spiritual reconstruction ahead for me… for my body, my mind, my calendar, my habits… etc.  I am embarking on a project that will carry me forward for the next 20 years or so.  Pray for me as I go over the blueprints with my Lord.  And then maybe ask him to go over yours with Him.

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Down With the Old Man, Up With the New

Beginning today I am starting a series on my favorite chapter in the Bible.  It is… a drum roll please… Colossians, Chapter 3.  Find that surprising?  I love this chapter because I believe it to be one of the most beautiful pictures of Christian growth and maturity in the Bible.  It begins like this:

 1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

This is a passage about what happens to a believer post baptistm.  Why do I say that?  Well, verse one says:  you have been raised with Christ.  The word in Greek for raised here is the same one Paul uses in Chapter 2, verse 12:  “…having been buried with him in baptistm and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.”  This relationship of being raised out of the baptismal… and being spiritually raised with Jesus at His resurrection… is carried into Chapter 3, Verse 1.  Hence, my favorite chapter in the Bible is all about what it means to live for Christ – after you’ve taken that step of obedience in your discipleship called baptism.  An article in Sports Spectrum years ago tells what a difference baptism plays in the life of a believer.

“Pat Summerall, the well known sports announcer, overcame alcoholism and became a
follower of Christ in his late sixties. He said this about water baptism:  “I went down in the water, and when I came up it was like a 40-pound weight had been lifted from me. I have a happier life, a healthy life, and a more positive feeling about life than ever before.”

About prayer meetings and Bible studies Summerall comments: “It’s like an alcoholic looking for a drink. If he wants it bad enough, he can find it—no matter what. I’m like that when it comes to finding prayer services and Bible studies. No matter where I am working, I know that they’re out there and I can find them.”  (Art Stricklin Sports  Spectrum (Nov/Dec 2001), p. 27)

I like the connection made in this article… between how excited he felt coming out of those baptismal waters and the desire to scope out Bible Study and prayer services where ever he was working.

Becoming a believer in Christ, one undergoes not just an outward washing… but an inward heart transplant (Hebrews 8:10).  Our hearts are no longer chasing after the fame, wealth and comforts that this world can give us… but are after the affections of a living Christ seated at the right hand of God.

One final word about the word, raisedIn the Greek it is in the Aorist tense indicating that our co-resurrection with Jesus is a past completed action.  The moment we were raised with him… our hearts were his.

I still remember the evening of my baptism.  I wasn’t sure it was going to “take.”  For years I had faced the invitation portion of the church service with dread.  I felt an urge to do something, but wouldn’t do anything about it.  I wondered if now, after I had taken the plunge (literally as well as figuratively) I would still have that same feeling.  After my baptism, I changed my clothes and joined the congregation mid-sermon.  When the time came for the invitation… all I felt was… peace.  My heart was truly His!