Here is another thing that used to puzzle me. Is it not frightfully unfair that this new life should be confined to people who have heard of Christ and been able to believe in Him? But the truth is God has not told us what His arrangements about the other people are. We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him. But in the meantime, if you are worried about the people outside, the most unreasonable thing you can do is to remain outside yourself. Christians are Christ’s body, the organism through which He works. Every addition to that body enables Him to do more. If you want to help those outside you must add your own little cell to the body of Christ who alone can help them. Cutting off a man’s fingers would be an odd way of getting him to do more work.-C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
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“…but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”…Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.—Acts 6:4,7
The church is afflicted by dry rot. This is best explained when the psychology of nonexpectation takes over and spiritual rigidity sets in, which is an inability to visualize anything better, a lack of desire for improvement.
There are many who respond by arguing, “I know lots of evangelical churches that would like to grow, and they do their best to get the crowds in. They want to grow and have contests to make their Sunday school larger.” That is true, but they are trying to get people to come and share their rut. They want people to help them celebrate the rote and finally join in the rot. Because the Holy Spirit is not given a chance to work in our services, nobody is repenting, nobody is seeking God, nobody is spending a day in quiet waiting on God with open Bible seeking to mend his or her ways. Nobody is doing it— we just want more people. But more people for what? More people to come and repeat our dead services without feeling, without meaning, without wonder, without surprise? More people to join us in the bondage to the rote? For the most part, spiritual rigidity that cannot bend is too weak to know just how weak it is. Rut, Rot or Revival: The Condition of the Church, 8,9.
“Lord, not more people, but more of You. Let me wait upon You, keep me faithful, send Your Holy Spirit. If You then send growth as well, I’ll thank You and see it as an added blessing. Amen.”
Many things—such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly—are done worst when we try hardest to do them.–C. S. Lewis
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But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. —Acts 20:24
We are 20th century Christians. Some of us are Christians only because it is convenient and pleasant and because it is not costing us anything. But here is the truth, whether we like it or not: the average evangelical Christian who claims to be born again and have eternal life is not doing as much to propagate his or her faith as the busy adherents of the cults handing out their papers on the street corners and visiting from house to house.
We are not willing to take the spit and the contempt and the abuses those cultists take as they knock on doors and try to persuade everyone to follow them in their mistaken beliefs. The cultists can teach us much about zeal and effort and sacrifice, but most of us do not want to get that serious about our faith—or our Savior. Jesus Is Victor!
“Lord, let me pray with Paul, that I might not ‘count my life dear to myself.’ I pour myself out today as Your servant, no matter the cost. Amen.”
Oh, brother or sister, God calls us to worship, but in many instances we are in entertainment, just running a poor second to theaters.
It seems that we make plans and then expect God to bless and multiply our efforts. This is a surefire path to failure. If we want to see God working authoritatively through us we must spend more time in prayer and less time in strategic planning.
– Buddy Helms, Old Wineskins