Monday, March 10, 2014
Pastorgraphs: “One Thing I Do Know”
March 10, 2014
[Pastorgraphs now online at ChristSD.com]
Pastorgraphs: “One Thing I Do Know”
I read a powerful article recently about how any congregation can revitalize its worship. What may surprise you is it came from a Rabbi. I could not agree with him more! It applies to Christians, Jews and just about any house of worship.
Simply paraphrased, the Rabbi said people come to worship, not to hear doctrine or dogma, but to hear how to walk daily with God. What they really want to hear from their clergy is not opinions on theology, but how do you, pastor/rabbi, live out your relationship with God?
He said when clergy preach doctrine, dogma or defense of religion, people get weary and soon quit coming. But when the message is about how to walk with God, through good times and bad, from the moment we awake until we close our eyes each night, the attention and attendance grow.
I think he is on to something.
One of my favorite passages in the New Testament is the story of the man born blind who was healed by Jesus. Remember that upset the religious leaders greatly. So they called the man and even his parents into church court to discredit the healing. You see, that gracious act of healing was a threat to the dogma, doctrine and polity of the established religion. Jesus didn’t hold the right credentials to do that. Much as they tried, the formerly blind man would not change his story to please the church court. Finally, in exasperation, he set the religious leaders in their place when he said, “Whether Jesus is a sinner or not, according to your stupid religious laws, I do not know. But ONE THING I DO KNOW! Once I was blind, but now I see!” (Jenkins translation.)
What the world desperately wants to hear is not religious laws, rituals, or defense of God (who is perfectly capable of defending Himself). What the world is starving to hear is that ONE THING YOU AND I DO KNOW from a personal encounter with God.
When was the last time you encountered God? Was it this morning when you awoke? “Good Morning, Father! Thank you for the good night of rest. Thank you for allowing me to awake into this beautiful new day you created. Thank you for the honor of living another day in this magnificent world you created. I’m so excited about what we are going to do today, together! By the way, Father, what do you have planned for us today? Father, I love you so much!”
That is a sermon no one gets tired of hearing. When you tell me about your personal relationship with God, and I share mine with you, we both learn and grow spiritually. It is quenching the spiritual thirst Jesus told the woman at the well about.
And it doesn’t have to be all about the good times. Tell me about how you and God handled losing your job, the divorce in your family, the bad news at the doctor’s office, or the sudden death of one so close to you. I want to hear how you and God got through that, too.
So for clergy whose worship attendance is sagging, and for anyone whose spiritual life is sagging also, get real (up close and personal with God). I hunger to hear about your daily walk with God, not your catechism. Maybe I can learn more how to stay close to Him from your testimony, and you from me.
So when was the last time you and God had a chat, an encounter? I want to hear your story. And if you tell me your story, I’ll tell you mine. It never gets old.
Devotedly yours, Bill Jenkins
From the Quote Garden:
“Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when you listen to God.”
~ Diana Robinson ~
Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205