Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Devotional 230310

Dear brothers and sisters,

Good morning. Thanks for holding me accountable to grow by your occasional feedback to my devotional. As I mentioned in my initial invitation, I hope this devotional sharing is not a one way street. I am sure the Lord has been doing great things or giving you great insights in life that can be other people’s blessings, provided that you share. When you share how the Lord has spoken to you through your devotional readings, it will excite me to know that you are growing in the Lord as well. My goal of sharing my spiritual journal with you is not to show you my growth in Christ, but to stimulate you to grow yours – go to the primary source of all insights and enjoy the fresh living waters from above. Then, put down on writing how the taste of the living water and your thankfulness to His grace for each day.

Great crowds of people have entered into a grand conspiracy to eliminate prayer, Scripture, and spiritual direction from our lives. They are concerned with our image and standing, with what they can measure, with what produces successful church-building programs and impressive attendance charts, with sociological impact and economic viability. They do their best to fill our schedules with meetings and appointments so that there is time for neither solitude nor leisure to be before God, to ponder Scripture, to be unhurried with another person.

We get both ecclesiastical and community support in conducting ministry that is inattentive to God and therefore without foundations. Still, that is no excuse. A professional, by some definitions, is someone who is committed to standards of integrity and performance that cannot be altered to suit people’s tastes or what willing to pay for. Professionalism is in decline these days on all fronts – in medicine, in law, in politics, as well as among pastors – but it has not yet been renounced. There are still a considerable number of professionals in all areas of life who do the hard work of staying true to what they were called to do, stubbornly refusing to do the easy work that the age asks of them. Unlike so many, we do not peddle (or market) the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God (2 Cor 2:17).

Long before the church was invaded by consumerism, Apostle Paul had issued the warning to the early church. I guess there is nothing new under the sun. What the church of Corinth went through, we are still going through. The City of Corinth was like any metropolitan city in the world today. It is highly materialistic and hedonistic. People in this kind of environment will measure their “success” by materialistic wealth and fulfillment of personal desires. “The more the better,” “the faster the better” and “the bigger the better” are the common motto. Unfortunately, this has also become the motto of many churches today, where we emphasize the more people or money the better, the faster to grow the church the better, and the bigger the church the better…and so forth. Is it wrong? It is not necessarily wrong in growing a church, but not by sacrificing some core values like making disciples, for example, which takes times. One cannot focus on build qualitative disciple by emphasizing on fast quantitative growth of church at the same time. It is like boasting the un-natural growth of body cells – which will become cancerous cells. Cancer is a phenomenon of some fastest growing cells in our body, which overtake the healthy cells and eventually ruin the whole body.

Pray that the Church in America will return to a healthy growth pattern, which focuses not just on the quantity and neglect the quality aspect of the congregation; not just preach the sermons of God’s provision for our materialistic desires, but fail to emphasize the core value of being obedience to God’s words. Have mercy on us O Lord…we all share the responsibility for failing to make disciples of all nations. Help us do it in wherever you place us in life today, whether it is at home, in school or in the market place. Amen?

Love you as a fellow redeemed sinner,


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