I was in an engineering class the first time I watched the tragic explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Even though I wasn’t alive when it happened, I caught a glimpse of the horror thousands must have felt as the events unfolded.
And, the first question everyone wanted to know was, “What happened?”
After months of investigation, here’s what the Rogers Commission (the group commissioned to investigate the explosion) discovered: An o-ring seal in the right solid rocket booster failed at take-off. I won’t bore you with the details, but an o-ring is a small device relative to the size of a space shuttle. Very small.
It wasn’t something huge, like a puncture in the rocket booster or a hole in the cabin, that caused this disaster. It was a small, seemingly insignificant, o-ring failure.
I think there’s a lesson here for the church. What if the big sins, you know the ones you try hardest to avoid, aren’t the greatest threat to your joy and the church’s mission?
Maybe it’s the sins lying underneath, the ones considered normal or acceptable, the ones going undetected, that are affecting the church the most. I want to address nine of these sins.
The phrases “do not fear” and “do not be afraid” appear 365 times in the Bible. Ironic? I think not. And here’s what I think the church misses about fear. Let me pose this as a question. What is the opposite of fear? Courage? Bravery? William Wallace?
Wrong. Wrong. And right, but you’re ruining my point.
The opposite of fear is…LOVE. Add to this the reality that God is love. So, according to the Transitive property of mathematics, the opposite of fear is…God.
If you’re a child of God, the one sin that shouldn’t plague you is…fear.
Yet, Christians are the most fearful people on earth. Even our salvation is rooted in fear. Does it bother anyone that the primary method of bringing people to Jesus has been to scare them away from hell?
That’s fear language, the antithesis of God. Look at what John says.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18
The church is scared to make decisions out of fear. Christians are hesitant to step into dangerous situations out of fear. The catalyst for our obedience is fear. Where’s the love?
Several weeks ago, I decided to remove the words “fear, scared and terrified” from my vocabulary. Maybe you should do the same. It could change how you see the world. And God.
Apathy’s best friends are passivity and entitlement. Together, they’re a vicious threesome.
There’s nothing mediocre or normal about God. His power is beyond comprehension. His beauty is beyond description. His love is beyond measure. The same God who created the universe and formed stars desires a relationship with you.
Yet, the attitude is often, “OK, God loves me. That’s great. What’s for lunch?” No. You don’t get it, bro. God loves you. And you’re content with, “That’s great.”
Our apathetic approach to God explains a lot about why people in America aren’t lining up to become Christians.
I mean, think about it. How many Christians have you met that left you thinking, “Wow, I want to be like them?” But this should be the norm, right? Am I way off here? Shouldn’t you be so transformed by God that people want to ask about your life, even if they hate God?
In Scripture, when men and women truly experience God, everything changes. Everything. So, that begs the question, “Have you experienced God?”
In my younger days, I would literally eat myself sick. I mean, if I ordered food, I ate all of it. Period. Naturally, this presented a problem when I ate buffets.
Looking back, I see that my attitude was gluttonous. And the gluttony wasn’t that I ate myself sick. It was that I used a gift God gave me on myself…in excess.
Gluttony is primarily about the heart. It’s a craving for excess. Gluttony says, “Those voids God is supposed to fill…don’t worry about that. I will fill them.” Gluttony happens when you lose your awe of God. You see, as long as your eyes are fixed on Jesus, your heart’s desire is for him.
Is the world not desperate for this message? As we gorge our stomachs with food and flood our houses with trinkets, our discontent only increases.
Where are the Jesus followers who will fix their eyes completely on him, throwing away anything that treads the line between want and need? Where are the Christians who will feast in excess on God?
The great philosopher Van Wilder once said, “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” That’s right. But Van Wilder isn’t the only one who talked about worry. Jesus said you shouldn’t worry about anything (Matt. 6:25-34). But Jesus wasn’t serious was he? I mean, really Jesus? Anything?
He was serious. You see, worrying is symptomatic of a larger issue…lack of faith. And for followers of Jesus whose primary mission is to show the glory and nature of God to the world, worrying is a problem.
Recently, I asked a good friend why worry plagues the church, and he said something profound, “My greatest concern is that we don’t want to need God. We’re Americans. We’re independent.”
That’s hard-hitting stuff right there.
Americans will do anything to maintain the illusion of control and responsibility, so no wonder worry plagues us. Worry is the by-product of bearing a weight only God can bear.
Do you see the irony here? The more independence you desire, the more worry you will experience. So, why not give everything to God and let his peace reign over your life?
I erased this like five times, but God kept telling me to put it back. So, I did. With hesitancy. I love you, God.