Attention-getters 

Ezekiel 1:28
“Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.”

Ezekiel has one of the most amazing and yet puzzling visions of God, of any of the prophets. He saw a whirlwind coming towards him, and out of it four multi-headed beings with faces like men, oxen, eagles and lions. Next to these creatures, he saw wheels within wheels, giving them movement in all directions simultaneously, and as they moved, it sounded like the movement of an army or that of rushing waters. While we might have many questions about what that experience must have been like, and what this imagery represents, Ezekiel does not leave us wondering about how he reacted.

“So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.”

Over the centuries, God has used a variety of means to get the attention of men. Abraham heard a voice, Moses saw a burning bush, Joshua met a sword-wielding general, Gideon met the Angel of the Lord, and Saul of Tarsus saw a bright light that knocked him from his horse. While the attention grabbers may vary, the purpose is always the same. God interrupts our world to get the attention of people, in order to call them to Himself and His service. Once Ezekiel saw this vision, he fell to the ground and listened to the word of God.

I wonder, what sort of things God has used to get your attention? Maybe He has brought a coworker into your life who is encouraging you to come to church, or perhaps He has allowed things to become somewhat difficult at home or with your health or finances. Whatever means He has used, our response should always be the same. We, like Ezekiel, should bow before Him, recommitting ourself to Christ, and listening to His call for our life.

Pastor Jim

 

The Church’s Got Talent 

1 Corinthians 14:29
“Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.”

Confusion broke out in the Corinthian church. Instead of meeting for the worship of God and the study of His word, the church had become a place for people to show off their spiritual gifts. Those with the gift of tongues saw the meetings as a time to speak or even sing in tongues. They thought the church existed to hear them sing. Others had the gift of prophecy, or at least they thought they did. To them the church existed as a place to share the things they thought were most relevant for the people to hear. I can imagine what the scene must have been like as the church gathered, opened in prayer, and then one by one, each louder than the last, the people began to share their thoughts and sing their songs. To the onlooker, it must have appeared to be a Christian version of “America’s Got Talent.”

Paul writes to correct their behavior and bring the fellowship back to something that honors God and impacts the community. In order to accomplish this, he reminds them of a responsibility that each Christian bears. He writes, “… let the others judge.” The standard of judgment that must lead the Christian, and shape the church, is the written Word of God. Paul is exhorting them not to accept everything done in the name of Jesus, as being from Jesus. This is a critical principle with much application, not the least of which has to do with the daily function of the local church. Scripture informs us, the purpose of the church is to glorify God, preach the Gospel, make disciples, and train up the next generation of leaders. To that end, the church is to teach the Word of God and provide an atmosphere where people can worship, pray, and develop godly relationships. Paul put it like this,

Ephesians 4:12-13 “. . . for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

We should view the church as a place where we are fed, instructed, built up, and equipped, in order that we might go out into the world, impacting our circle of influence for the Kingdom of Heaven. Sadly, today, many see the church as the Corinthians did. They think the church exists solely as a place where they can exercise their gifts, and when they are not allowed to, they become frustrated with the leadership and complain to others. In many cases, they leave their church and go to another one that will let them perform. While gifts are necessary for the church to function properly, the gifts are not given so we can showcase our talents. If you are not getting to do what you want at your church, don’t behave Corinthian. Instead, look at the fact that God may want to use you in a totally different way than He has in the past. Come to the fellowship looking to be built up and equipped for service, then ask God to set before you an open door to impact others for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Who knows, God may even want to use you in the children’s ministry…

Pastor Jim