Monday, January 04, 2010

Monday Morning Musings ...

Yesterday was a very good day, even though I didn't do well myself. First worship of the new year and it was an interesting morning for sure. Music went well and the Spirit was noticeable throughout the service. Do you think the extra prayer for the service had any impact? Yes, that's what I think as well. Even with all of that there were a lot of distractions. We lost our ability to record our services about a year ago and so far no one has figured out the problem. I was particularly burdened for the service and message and wanted to have it recorded. So I ran around trying to find a boom box, or anything, that I could even set up in front of a speaker and do a manual recording. I tested 4 around the church none would record. I ran to our local Dollar General store and the only portable player they sold did not record. I went home and brought our nice tabletop unit, speakers and all, and it would not record. So there was no recording. Might have been for the best given that our sound system went ballistic during my message. It worked fine throughout the service but did some loud bursts of static noise while I was preaching. The second time it happened I just unplugged the whole system and spoke loud for the rest of the service.

As I wrote in my previous post I was extra burdened for this message. I had wrestled for a couple of weeks over this message and then the Lord redirected me on Friday. God's redirection was definitely the way we needed to go and it only increased the burden I felt. The message was from Matthew 9:35-38 and asked the question "Do you feel it?" There is a difference between feelings and feeling it. Jesus "had compassion" or "was moved to compassion" for the people in the towns and villages. In the Greek this is one word, that most literally means "to be moved as to one's inwards (bowels), to be moved with compassion or to yearn or beg with compassion". In other words Jesus really felt it in his gut. A deeply felt and moving (no pun intended) act. Also, Jesus described the people as "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd". Harassed and helpless was actually describing a violent act, not a passive observation. I then reread verse 36 this way, "When he saw the crowds, he was hit in the gut and deeply moved, because the people were molested and pinned down, like sheep without a shepherd." Does that change your reaction to the verse? It does for me.

When was the last time you were bent over in discomfort for the needs of people around you? When was the last time your breathe was taken away by the needs of the people you encounter?

Feelings come and go, even feelings of compassion. We change the channel and think of something else. We look the other way and don't dwell on the needs we see if it is just feelings. But when it is felt, things change. When it is felt a change of behavior follows. Notice also, that Jesus asked his disciples to pray for more workers and then in chapter 10 sent those same disciples out to do the work of the gospel. Too often we "mature believers" hear a plea to pray for workers and we add it to our list, but rarely grab our coat and go to work.

To make sure that the needs around us are felt requires prayer, surrender, a willingness to really look and be moved by what we see and a change of attitude.

What do you feel? What will you do?

In spite of all the distractions and in spite of my failings (or was it because of my failings) God moved and people responded. Some came to the altar, some asked further questions and some emailed responses.

So what will you do?


At 1:58 PM, Blogger Tim Morris said...

Personally I have always been a feeling kind of person. Not so much for my spiritual walk as for my compassion toward others. Sometimes including my anger toward others.
As you know our world has been turned upside down largely because we responded to the pain we saw in others. I would warn you that responding to others with compassion, acceptance, love could cost you everything.
We are not called to love the sinner and hate the sin, we are called to love others. When I felt the pain of those rejected the only sin I found to hate was my own.
If your church responds to this idea and sees the "harassed and helpless" what will it become?
A place of emo's? Bikers? Pregnant teens? Mexicans? Blacks?
Will it sacrifice it's reputation to include the "harassed and helpless"?
You have opened a big can of worms pastor, it could be interesting to watch safely here from Indiana.
If you think sound system trouble is a distraction wait till a drunk yells out a couple inappropriate amens!
Looking forward to the progress!


Post a Comment

<< Home