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Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37568
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 Nonsense and Sorrow - Paul Ravenhill

A missionary child, accustomed to meetings where the Lord moved,
was attending some meetings with her parents, who were on furlough.

After one meeting she said to her mother, " Mom, nothing happens here."
The mother knew exactly what the child meant, but nevertheless asked,
"Don't they do the same things we do?
We stand up to sing; they do the same.
We clap; they do too.
We raise our hands and so do they..."

"Yes," answered the girl, and not knowing how else to explain it, said, "but nothing is going on here."
And she was right:
the service had all the forms, but they were empty of reality.
A child, with a virgin spirit, knew it!

Things which don't make sense are ... nonsense
Nonsense produces something - it produces Sorrow.
If all earth's sorrows are first felt in heaven, so with this also.

I watched a video of a church meeting.

The video started with a clip of the "praise and worship show."
There was a young lady, questionably dressed,
apparently unconscious of how she appeared
and very conscious of who she was,
leading, bouncing and singing,
a "lite" music, with a "heavy" accompaniment.

The video then cut to the important visiting preacher.
He started out with a hearty, jovial, greeting
before entering into his "serious" message.

The whole thing was somewhat "fingernails on the chalkboard."

Did he not see the lightness on display in God's house?
(When does lightness become nonsense?)
Did he not feel any need to address it?
Was he afraid to challenge it?
Did he think that he could build a message from God
on the foundation laid out before him?
Or ... was it that he himself had never known the real thing,
to be able to discern that which was not real?

Things take on a life of their own,
spiritual declension starts almost imperceptibly,
and then grows and takes over.
We start forgiving the slipping, and the sloppiness.
We consider it a detail without much importance,

What is church all about?
Does the God Who found Israel's offerings repulsive,
not find our little games repulsive.

God is the "I am."
He Who "IS" ...
not any kind of make believe,
not any kind of theater.

Church is where God seeks to meet with His people.
Church is where "I am" shows the "What is."

It is a place of deadly seriousness,
and total transparency.
A place where we can meet with God Himself.
A place where no flesh glories in His Presence.

Maybe we can't change the "church,"
and the flow of history.
But we can let God change our lives.

We can then come "in fear and trembling" (Phil. 2.12)
and having drunk from the unfailing Fountain of our salvation,
praise, proclaim, and honor His Name,
"in spirit and in truth." (Jn. 4.24)


SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2019/4/24 19:52Profile

Joined: 2005/6/6
Posts: 693
Campbell River, B.C.

 Re: Nonsense and Sorrow - Paul Ravenhill

"...was it that he himself had never known the real thing,
to be able to discern that which was not real?"

"It is a place of deadly seriousness,
and total transparency.
A place where we can meet with God Himself."

After tasting the real thing, how can anyone sit through a dead church service?

Nigel Holland

 2019/4/24 21:01Profile

Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5608


//After tasting the real thing, how can anyone sit through a dead church service?//

They have no choice- only 1% or so of churches have the real thing. More may have it for short seasons but it is not sustained.


 2019/4/25 7:09Profile

Joined: 2017/7/14
Posts: 1162
Snoqualmie, WA


There are plenty of solid believers out there who have never been a part of a powerful presence of God in a service. They have no idea what it's like, they have no idea they cold even have the presence of God like that.

Pastors, associate pastors, elders, deacons all of them who have not experienced the wonderful moves of God will resist anything that looks disorderly. They will resist any preacher that cannot be controlled, they will resist anything that makes their services, leadership or spirituality look 'fanatical'.

Yet, they are true believers, love Jesus, read their bibles and care about the kingdom of God.

The answer?

Well, one answer is a prayer meeting. A prayer meeting where the people of God are encouraged to seek God deeply, to pray honestly and seek for change in themselves and their families. It is here they can meet God and sense his presence, it is here God can and will meet them and give them a sense of what it is like to be 'in the presence of God'.

They will want this in their services as well.

I'd start with the prayer meeting.

A re-emphasis is needed. To so many the highlight of any church service is the sermon. The speaker/pastor is the main attraction, that means all other things are in a subordinate place to the sermon. Worship, prayers, ministries to one another all sit very low on the scale of importance.
To so many millions, to think any other way is to minimize the importance of the sermon and the word of God.
It becomes an unsaid 'either/or' frame of mind.

To make God center and the 'living word of God center', God's presence demonstrating the living word among them should be prayed for.


 2019/4/25 11:27Profile

Joined: 2005/6/6
Posts: 693
Campbell River, B.C.


"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."
John 14:21

Todd, I agree probably 1 percent or so of churches have the presence of God. But people always have a choice; perhaps some are called to be light in a dead church, others He might call out of dead churches, possibly to start or attend a home fellowship of find a church where Jesus is.

Marvin, I don't believe it's possible to be a New Testament christian and not know what the presence of God is. Christians might not experience the presence of God in a church, but a person must know it in the inner man.

Nigel Holland

 2019/4/25 15:53Profile

Joined: 2017/7/14
Posts: 1162
Snoqualmie, WA


Hi Nigel: I fully agree Christians know the presence of God inwardly.

But what it's like corporately is different. A joy felt among the whole congregation or a fear or awe that enters. That is something different when the whole experiences it simultaneously.


 2019/4/25 16:01Profile

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