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Paul was so concerned that he might take some glory from God by “boasting” of what he had done that immediately after making the claims he says, in essence, but don’t look at me. I have a thorn in my flesh that I cannot get rid of. I’m actually a weak man. He said, “I’m not even trained as well as the “Super-Apostles.” Paul was not trying to gain a reputation as a “Super-Christian.” He was trying to direct his followers to the worship of Christ alone.
How do We Become “Caught-Up?”
We must go after God! I think this is one of the most difficult issues we face in the church today. How do we get people to want to be “caught-up?” Don’t confuse this with the rapture of the church. It would seem that all Christians want to be “caught-up” in the clouds with Him. The struggle is that of getting us to actually want Him now. Do you see what I mean by being more taken up with our salvation than our Savior? Everybody wants to go to heaven. However, not everybody wants to walk intimately with Jesus today. Enoch was “caught-up” because he walked with God for over 300 years.
During the Easter service at a friends church the pastor invited everyone to come forward and put a slip of paper on a cross that was positioned in the altar area. On the pieces of paper they had been asked to write down the various struggles they were having with the Lord (in their personal walk). The pastor said, “I’m glad that we didn’t ask them to actually sign them because I think everyone could be more honest that way.” Over the time since Easter the pastoral staff has been taking a few of those slips off the cross, every week, and praying for them.
In our conversation the pastor told me, “I have been very saddened and surprised by how many of our people put down spiritual lethargy as their problem.” The word “lethargy” simply means “indifference.” The problem with lethargy is that you don’t care. You know you are not “caught-up” with Jesus but you don’t care. Lethargy also means sleepiness. In this case it would mean spiritual sleepiness.
Paul has a word for those dealing with lethargy. It's found in Ephesians 5:14 “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” There is a great truth in that. “Wake Up!” What do you think you are doing? I thank God that our church has a good number of you that are committed to the vision of our church. But we need more – not for our churches sake – it’s going to go on with or without you (or me for that matter) – but for your sake. You need to wake up!
Why do we have to wake up? Why must we be spiritually alive? Verse 16 goes on to explain: “because the days are evil.” We live in very difficult days. Spiritually speaking, it is very difficult to live victoriously today.
Medication: A Merry Heart
A man went to visit a friend and was amazed to find him playing chess with his dog. He watched the game in astonishment for a while.
“I can hardly believe my eyes!” he exclaimed. “That’s the smartest dog I’ve ever seen.”
“Nah, he’s not so smart,” the friend replied. “I’ve beaten him three games out of five.”
St Mark’s Community Church, Janesville
New Beginnings Church, New Ulm
Verse of the Week: Mark 16:15
Today’s readings: 1 Samuel 13 – 14