Monday, September 2, 2013

For The Unchurched

I’m preparing verses to be put on cards, then attached to candles we are sending to a mission field where electricity is not readily available. Our “Together We Can Change Lives” group will be providing 200 candles to aid in providing light in homes. The verses I’m pulling all mention light. I hade a couple of pages full when this one spoke to my heart – and made me think of several people I know who no longer attend services.

He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. (John 5:35 KJV)

I was there. In my testimony, I do not try to hide the times my family was unchurched – not only not members of a church, we were not attending any services. As a child that was my parents’ responsibility and they did not fulfill that until I was ten, when we moved within half a mile of Immanuel Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We became active members.

For our family, when we moved away from Tulsa, the churches we visited were not “home.” The lack was as much within us as it was the churches. As a parent, I failed in my responsibility to attend and teach my children. Thanks be to God, those times are over, except for some people I love.

It would be unusual to find an individual that has not gone through a period of time when church attendance was their last priority. Some have dropped out altogether. I thought of that as I read that one little verse.

For a season, we truly rejoiced in the light Jesus brought to our lives, but that season ended. Why? He still shines as brightly as ever, but we’ve turned toward the darkness instead of His light. We had the opportunity to fulfill scripture and God’s request:

Let your light so shine before men, …

Why let our light shine before men?

… that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 KJV)

Is that why we turned away? Because the darkness gives us attention and we don’t have to do good works to achieve that attention. Take the last VMA awards. They certainly garnered attention and had nothing to do with God or good works. The celebrities made headlines, people talked/spoke/wrote (as I am now) giving them attention. Have you ever seen such attention given to God or good works?

So, if we want this world’s accolades, what choices do we have? Think for a moment, then tell me the musician and the top song of the month you were born. Don’t look it up, though, just from memory and the attention given them both at that time. Doesn’t last, does it?

Think for a moment, again, and recite John 3:16. I am almost certain you didn’t have to look that up and it was written two thousand years ago.

Good works won’t save. God’s grace does:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)

Return the focus to God. Return to that season where we rejoiced in His light. Consider the ‘good works’ that will show others our interest in Him and give Him the glory, great things He has done!

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