In the History of Christianity, and pretty much everything we humans do, change comes because we don’t like something the way it is. If we can’t change it we leave it and do what we want done. Every segment of Christianity started that way. Most were born out of heresy, exclusion or abuse of power. Others came from a particular view of scripture. Today it is not so much doctrine as it is needs and the expectation of what God will do for us.
Pat Boone told us a miracle a day would keep the devil away. So folks went looking for daily miracles. Now let me say if you go looking for God working in the world you will come closer to finding it than if you don’t look. But as I read Pat’s book, that’s not quite what he was saying. You could expect all kinds of God-brought miracles if you had the faith they would happen.
About that same time the “gifts of the (Holy) Spirit surfaced. Now we could be lead by the Spirit and we wouldn’t have to worry about doing wrong or getting lost if we were in the“Spirit”. But Spirit-led people were often interested first in what God (the Spirit) was going to do for them than bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit. See I Corinth 11-14.
Healing was and still is a big part of certain segments of Christianity, and has been for years. Putting out your fleece, as in the story of Gideon, was another way to be sure God would make everything work out. Everyone wants a sign, and that was an often request made of Jesus.
So what has God done for me lately? If God is all-wise and all-powerful, surely we can expect some of that wisdom and power to be given to us. When I hear about these new up-and-coming church groups, I always hear how God works with power in their group. God lays it out in front of them; all they have to do is rake it in. And while the people are all about the same, their differences keep them looking for the best experience to see God working the way they want in their lives.
Am I about to complain? Yes. Why? Because that’s not what I read in the Bible. Do I read of mighty works and miracles? Yes. But do they make up the bulk of the story of God in the Bible? No.
Let’s take a trip down Biblical Memory Lane. First there’s the miracle of creation. Then what? How long before Noah builds the ark? Maybe six hundred years or so. Then there’s Abraham. How many wonders did he get except the promised child, and the ram that kept Isaac from being toast? The rest of the time he walks by faith alone and it wasn’t easy.
His heirs see few “mighty works” and finally, Joseph ends up in Egypt. There he ends up in prison on a trumped-up charge. He has the gift of dream interpretation and two guys in prison promise to help him if he tells them their dreams. He does and they forget they ever knew him. Finally the word gets out and the king gets his dreams interpreted and Joseph works for the king and turns the country into a radical socialist nation.
Then there’s Moses. He gets some
really good “signs and wonders” like the burning bush, the rod-snake, plagues and the crossing of the sea, manna and water from the rock and the Ten Commandments. Where are the signs and wonders? They then wander in the wilderness for forty years. How many miracles do we read about during the “wandering”?
They cross Jordan on stopped-up water. Jericho falls. Then what? They win battles, the Judges come along and there’s Gideon’s fleece, Sampson’s hair and some slick war strategy. Samuel arrives. How many daily signs and wonders do you read in his life? The kings arrive, and years pass without any notable signs except for Elijah and Elisha. Years go by with the divided kingdom in one mess after the other. Then comes the invasion and exile. They spend years in exile away from their land. How many miracles did they get? Along come the reformers, like Ezra and Nehemiah. How many days did they just walk by faith only?
Ezekiel gets his valley of dry bones, but his life is almost daily bad, as is Jeremiah’s and the rest. All of them call for a reformed and restored nation and the rewards they promise for this are not signs and wonders, but a nation worthy of being called God’s people.
Of course, we are New Testament folks and we do see the works and wonders of Jesus written there. They are what the hoped-for Messiah would do; meaning they hadn’t been done much before. So when we read the life of Jesus, we tend to see those things which fall into the spectacular. The daily grind of faith gets lost in the excitement of the exception. Question: How much did Jesus’ signs and wonders convince people that he was the Messiah of God? Not much. Did he use the signs and wonders to prove he was the Messiah? No. Not once does he do a miracle and then say, “That proves I’m God’s son the Messiah”.
Jesus dies and is raised and his followers go out into the world with the good news. It starts with wonders, i.e., the day of Pentecost. In Acts there are wonderful happenings, the dead are raised, and jail doors are opened. Paul is converted. How many miracles did Paul get? He didn’t even get relief from what he called his “thorn in the flesh”. He walked day after day by faith in Jesus and the resurrection, never seeing a wonder, other than the grace and love of God.
Christianity is a life choice. It is the conviction that God spoke through Jesus the Son, and told us how to bring about God’s will on the earth. The gospel is not first about establishing churches and saving souls for eternity. It is about God’s will here and now, and the assurance of things hoped for, such as the defeat of death and eternal life as the result.
Being a Christian is often a hands dirty, legs weary, walking in the dark, life. It’s not about what God will do for us, as much as it is what God has already done.
ROANOKE CHURCH OF CHRIST “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN-JULY 21, 2019
CONCERNS: Mark McRoy’s neighbor’s cousin Paul Esteppe, has jaw cancer. Teryn Gaynor’s continued prayers for her stepfather. Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole. Pray for Darnell Barnes. Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell throat Cancer and her cousin Harold Clark, Lung Cancer. Donte McCadden, a young father with CF. Former members, Ray and Debbie Reiss,son-in law, David, brain Cancer Treatment.Deanna McRoy has a kind of cancer that can return at any time. Debbie McRoy’s cousin, Linda Alsup health issues along with husband, Prentice recurring cancer.Also: Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Gary Overstreet, Bill Albert, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
Bible Study: 9:30 AM
Sunday Worship: 10:30 AM
Wednesday Evening: 7:0
ROANOKE CHURCH OF CHRIST
The Church work Day will be rescheduled for a later date due to the intense heat.
Was cancelled due to the extreme heat and the number of folks who will not be attending due to vacations this week.
To our guest speaker Buford Lumsden for last week’s service. We were grateful to have him as our guest speaker and we really appreciated his message.
ADD TO YOUR DIRECTORY
Carolee Crosen’s address :
2123 Lynn Ave SW, Roanoke, VA 24014
Phone # 540-520-0300.
Rob & Gloria Kinney: 2033 Darlington Rd SW Roanoke, VA 24018
Phone # 540-774-5466
Teryn’s mom’s screens came back clear and her blood count numbers were good. No tumor was visible. Thanks for your prayers. She will be doing a couple of more treatments.
Congratulations to Jack Thompson for making the Virginia Tech Dean’s list for Spring 2019.
The Window blinds in the foyer must be kept closed due to the amount of heat coming through the windows. Also the doors to the auditorium must be kept closed to keep the cold air in.