Sunday, May 28, 2023

Street-corner preaching

 Pentecost marks the birthday of the Christian Church. According to the Biblical accounts, that was when the Holy Spirit descended as tongues of fire on the Apostles and filled them with zeal. They went out and converted people by the thousands. The people who listened to them were amazed to hear them speaking in their own native tongues.

The Christian Church was young and radical, vigorous and virile.

Today, those are not adjective most people would use to describe our churches.

Radical thought for the day (Ephesians 3:14-19)

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named*,

that He may grant you in accord with the riches of His glory to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses human understanding**, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

The phrase "inner self" resonated with me. I look around and I see people trapped in the frenzy of pursuing external, ephemeral wealth: The number of likes on social media, "views", how quickly people respond to your tweet, fiat currency, hot-looking girls, cool vehicles. 

It reminds me of how "ball drive" is used to train a dog. Get the dog stoked and then take the ball away. Get the dog stoked and then take the ball away. Repeat. Then use a very brief period of "possessing" the ball as a reward for a behavior the dog would not have done of its own free-will.

We do not have to be jerked around. We do not have to be continuously reminded of our inherent powerlessness. We can have inner peace. We can invest in lasting wealth. Every one of us can. We just have to reach out and accept the offer.

*"family" and "named" implies that the offer of the Father is universal to all peoples. Membership in the larger family of God is not limited to a single family (familial or patron deities) or village or nation or language or age or political affiliation. The offer is extended to everybody.

** I substituted "human understanding" for "knowledge".


  1. Amen,
    My Son asked me "If God is Good, why there is so much suffering and hate and violence in this world"
    I answered that God is not only Good, but He is far better than you can possibly imagine. The pain and suffering and hate and war and crime you see in this world is due to one single thing, evil in the hearts of men. Mankind knows what is right and what is wrong inside his own heart and yet so often we choose to do what we want, instead of what is right.
    And God allows us to do it...
    He could stop us from doing wrong, stop us from hurting ourselves and others, yet He doesn't.
    I believe for two reasons:
    First and foremost we are Created in the image of God and therefore we were given the power of free will, we can choose what we do, both Good and Evil.
    Secondly and the main reason, God Loves us, and Rejoices when we choose Him over our own selfish desires.
    If he were to Force the choice on us, then we would no longer have the choice of Loving Him.
    He proved beyond a shadow of any doubt that He is Good and that He Loves us, He gave His only Son to die for us so that our Sins could be forgiven and the path cleared so that we could approach our Heavenly Father and be seen as just as Good and Sin Free as Jesus our Kinsman Redeemer, our Hope in this Lost World, Our Sheppard who Saves us and keeps us Safe.
    May God Bless and keep you safe, and May He Love you as His own.

  2. "The Christian Church was young and radical, vigorous and virile.

    Today, those are not adjective most people would use to describe our churches."

    Terribly true ERJ. Too often churches now find themselves vigorous and radical is in pursuit of the same things as the world, be they material or trends.

    The early church focused on Heaven and became an earthly force of change. The current church too often focuses on earth, and becomes devoid of the power and vigor of Pentecost.

  3. Great value and wisdom here!

    Thank you Joe for the forum that attracts wise commenters!

    Great message!

  4. Interesting approach and worth thinking about. Thanks!

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