I can’t believe it. I missed Wednesday church last night. In and of itself that is not hard to swallow, but the fact that I just plain forgot about it – that’s just unbelievable. I am becoming more and more convinced that the world system has one goal, and one goal only; distract people with activities and responsibilities to keep them occupied in order to prevent them from going about their Father’s business. That’s it in a nutshell. Unfortunately, in our fast-paced American culture, it is working to perfection.
My wife picked me up from work and said we needed to take the kids to an easter egg hunt – yes, three days after Easter. I grumbled, but surrendered to the inevitable. However, my youngest boy did not want to go so I said I would stay home with him.
Yes! Saved from the Easter bunny!
I had to get over to my mom’s and pick up her car to use the next day, so I got that out of the way. My wife had to run a couple of errands before taking them out there. I had to prepare a quick dinner for my boy, which my wife handled before leaving the house (bless her heart). The dog needed fed and I had to look something up on the computer. After this whirlwind of activity subsided and all other kids had left, I sat back and breathed a sigh of relief. An hour or so later the crew arrived back home and I prepared dinner for the rest of us. I then remembered I needed to run a software program to a tech buddy of mine, so I took off. It is then that three profound truths dawned upon me.
1st – today was Wednesday.
2nd – the time was now 8:30 PM.
3rd and most distressing – I had missed church and never realized it! I just stopped what I was doing and shook my head. Wednesday’s scorecard reads:
The cares of the world: 1
Going about my Father’s business: 0.
Not good. Lord, forgive me…
Another distraction that riveted my attention last evening came via an item I received in the mail. It was the 2007 Pastors.com catalog. I scratched my head, bewildered. Why on earth would I get this thing from Rick Warren’s Saddleback internet ministry? I thought perhaps someone was playing a prank on me. I suddenly realized, ‘Oh yeah! I am actually a member of Pastors.com’. Oops! Forgot about that. Ok, before you call me a hypocrite and a white-washed tomb, just know I did that for research purposes only. Let me explain. See, when I was still attending my old AoG church, I became suspicious that the pastor was not preaching his own sermons. I signed up so I could access all Rick Warren’s sermons and download them for a small fee. I did find the very sermon series my pastor was preaching from – word for word. That lead to my exodus from PDL franchise store #1296. Best $4 I ever spent – to be quite honest.
The catalog contains a listing of many of Warren’s sermons and all his books, and teaching materials and even has books by other authors – that support his purpose-driven paradigm. Busy man that Warren guy. I will have some detailed commentary on the catalog and other current Warren activities forthcoming on my discernment blog Post Tenebras Lux. Look for it within the next week.
In my post My Heart Breaks I wrote of my discouragement ministering to the two college students Ned and Michael. They mocked the resurrection of Christ and shunned the invitation to attend my church to hear about the resurrection. Well, I have good news and bad news to report. The good news is that on Tuesday the boys stopped by my office to chat for a few moments while they gathered equipment for their next job. Michael, the Hindu fellow asked me several questions about the Christian faith, including why Christians constantly display the symbol of the cross. I explained that the cross was central to our faith and salvation. Christ willingly went to the cross to die for our sins and to bear the wrath of God in his body as a spotless substitute. Those who believe on him will never have to pay for their sins or experience God’s wrath in hell. The cross is a constant reminder of Christ’s saving work.
The bad news is while this dialog with Michael was going on, Ned wrote some distasteful things on my whiteboard that raised my ire. First, he wrote ‘Happy Easter’. He then crossed out Easter and wrote in ‘Zombie Day’.
My brow furrowed. I knew no good would come from asking, but I did anyway. “What do you mean by ‘Happy Zombie Day?”
“Well, Jesus rose from the dead, so he must be a zombie, right?”
“Jesus is Lord and Savior, not a zombie.” I said, feeling like I was patiently correcting my 6-year old daughter instead of rebuking a 22 year-old man. I turned my attention back to Michael but kept an eye on Ned’s dawdling. He drew a zombie towering over a man. The zombie said something about needing brains. The man said, “Why would my savior eat me?” or something similar. I pretended not to notice, but my blood began to boil. He not only was showing me great disrespect, he was blaspheming the Lord of the universe. I began to see red, but the grace of God restrained me. I focused on Michael and blocked Ned’s ‘artwork’ from my sight. The boys left moments later. I looked at the board. The zombie drawing was not there. That cooled me down a little. Perhaps Ned saw the smoke billowing out of my nose. Anyway, I have decided to not tolerate irreverence toward my God any longer. Next time I will ask them politely but firmly to respect my belief in God and not to mock Him in my presence. What they do on their own time is between them and God, but here it is between me and them.
Going a bit further back in time – the Easter service at my church went very well. The sanctuary was filled to overflowing and I had to sit on the pew at the very back, against the wall. I didn’t mind at all. We sang one of my favorite songs, ‘Days of Elijah.’ The service began with a baptism, which proved appropriate for the occasion. Watching the covenant act of identifying with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ on Easter put this high holy day of Christianity in perspective right from the start. Pastor Earl preached a clear message on Christ’s resurrection and its meaning to us. I pray that the seeds he planted in the hearts of those unsaved in attendance, will continue to be watered and in time take root in their hearts.
Well, I have one thing to say. Judge not.
Your being saved from the Easter Bunny is a bit of a miss-of-the-target. You see, that easter egg hunt was not about the Easter Bunny. It was a community outreach to speak about the “identifying with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ”… as you put it. So, going to the easter egg hunt would not have been missing church, because that is what it was: A church service in the park with an easter egg hunt in the mix for the kids.
BTW: I’m laughing as I type this, so don’t think I’m mad.
A comment on your adventures with Michael and Ned:
I am with you in this. Here’s a thing to remember. When children are to the point in an argument where they know they have lost, they resort to name calling (referring to Ned). Also, here’s a couple of verses from Proverbs to shed light on the situation…
Proverbs 1:7 – “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Stubborn fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
Proverbs 12:1 – “Whoever loves discipline loves to learn, but whoever hates correction is a dumb animal.”
(God’s Word Translation)