Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Devotion 2.5.15

Saddled with strep throat, there really was little to do.  No exercise, running errands, doing spring work in the yard, or even sitting and taking notes and writing periodically or working on assigned work from the company I currently contract with.  It was a serious case of the "do nothings."  However, Netflix got me through the day with a few episodes of "Breaking Bad" with the occasional nap.  I fought the first two years of World War II on episodes from the History Channel on Netflix (don't let me know how it ends, it is looking bleak in the Pacific right now so don't spoil it for me), and then came the addiction. Bond.  James Bond.

I'm not the casual Bond fan, but I'm not the die-hard fan.  I believe that Sean Connery is still the best (he was chosen by the author of Bond books Ian Fleming and the creative force behind the first movies), but Daniel Craig is seriously testing that belief.  The die-hard fan doesn't even acknowledge there were other actors to play Bond but Connery.  However, I do love to watch a good Bond movie, and AMC offered up "Casino Royale," the first Bond movie I saw on the big screen since "Live and Let Die," which starred Roger Moore in the early 1970s.  The only redeeming value to that movie was Paul McCartney's song by the same name which received an Academy Award nomination.

It is said that Bond movies were popular in the 1960s for three reasons:  taking people to places they'd never been (places of luxury and extravagance), the actor, and the plot that was one of intrigue and featured gadgets.  Then Bond movies began to meander, lose their moorings, and other movies came to do what Bond once did.  It is said that today's Bond movies have returned it to that feel from the 1960s and so raise Bond to its former status.  Regardless, I love a good Bond movie.

The church seems to be undergoing its own Bond problems.  Church used to be a common denominator with common denominations.  It was relevant.  And yet we see the church drift.  Attendance is down, and people respond to surveys about faith less convicted than in the past.  Studies even of Christians show that some wonder about the Trinity, possibly even the resurrection, and mainstream denominations find challenges to their authority by new, non-denominational churches or by other "spiritual" options and the secular world.

I believe these kinds of events to be great in truth.  Challenge the status quo.  Challenge the comfort zones.  Make people confront what they really believe and test those convictions.  Instead, we sometimes retreat in fear and become concerned, wring our hands and circle the wagons.  It's not that the Word of God is as powerful as we proclaim or that we've lent a hand in the church's message becoming irrelevant, it is those other people.  They just don't come our way anymore.  Maybe the Word carries no relevance so let's adapt it to today's standards and repackage it and THEN it will carry meaning.

Christ tells us, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really know me, you will know my Father as well." (John 14:6)  The message is that simple.  So, do we make it too complex?  Do we burden people, as did the Pharisees, with our own ideas of what church should be (customs and traditions) and how we should be within it?  Or do we believe Christ and the power of his Word?  Do we believe that sharing the Word with others will truly reveal that "know the truth, and the truth will set you free?" (John 8:32) 

Pray that we keep the simplicity of God's Word as our compass when we take the Word to others. Pray that we listen to them in love and learn of their needs as we seek to share the Gospel with them.  Pray that we allow the Spirit to use us to speak this truth in love and mercy to others.

Hope Men's Ministry

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