Friday, January 22, 2010

It only takes a spark...

Back in the Kum-Buy-Ya times of the Jesus movement, with all the hippies and such, there was a little song that became a big hit. "It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around will warm up to it's glowing..." I've been thinking a lot lately about what it takes to affect change. How is it that some sparks get a fire going and some just hit the ground and fade away? Is there a way to ensure our sparks hit the spot where they cause a fire to grow?

Here are some thoughts (I welcome yours):
  • Sparks are a lot more effective when they hit some dry wood.
In order to be effective there has to be a culture, a deep corporate sense, a city-wide eye-opener heightened by deep gut-level understanding of our real state of the affairs. If people think everything is okay or even if we've decided, "Well, we can live with that" we are not likely to react to a spark, even if it's from heaven. If the local leaders are saying "Peace, peace when there is no peace" ( a Hebrew idiom meaning you say everything is okay when it's really not) then the sparks of good-will, the brainstorms of community improvement, will rarely make a lasting impact. After all, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.'
  • Sparks never start a fire without the wind.
In Jr High you learned the fire triangle. You have to have oxygen to sustain combustion. Even so, "unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain..." that is, unless God breaths life into your city or your problem, you're efforts will ultimately fail. You may make a splash, but you won't start a fire. It's not that God doesn't want to heal our land, He surely does, so what is it that allows the wind of the spirit to blow?

There was a time where God himself "couldn't do any miracles". The sparks never made a fire. The Bible clearly says he couldn't, not wouldn't. Two issues. I think both are our issues today
    1) He was too familiar.
    I think He's too familiar to us too. We need His power, to watch Him change lives, our lives, our friends lives. For too long we've been satisfied with 'just being Christians' without ever once experiencing the life changing power of God. Sometimes His story becomes white noise that we've heard over and over and has lost its reality.

    2) They didn't trust him, didn't believe that He could change their world.
    Jesus said He was amazed at their lack of faith. For some reason, they just wouldn't trust Him. "He's just one of our 'homeboys', we can't expect Him to change the world", "we can't trust him to heal and deliver and set free." I'm amazed too. We think if we can just get the Supreme Court fixed, get our party elected, turn the economy around, or fund the troops then we will be okay. So we trust in man and God can't help us.

    It does only take a spark, but we've gotta be the dry wood, open to the realities of our mess and then, then we have to believe, we have to trust that Christ heal our land. If we will, he will.


    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Excited about the New Year but we've got our work cut out for us...

    I love the year end scorecards. The 'how did we do' data. Whether its unemployment or drop out rate, I just love reading stats and figuring out how much of it matters and stuff like that. Last month the scorecards came out and Mississippi's had the most interesting scorecard of all. Check it out...

    Our state is the most religious state in the union. There are four ways to measure it and in all four category we are #1! (See article here)

    Our state is also #1 in poverty, teen parents, obesity and std's.
    Hmmmmm...I was just wondering, shouldn't one affect the other?

    Doesn't that alarm you? How is that the most religious state is also #1 in all these areas that you would think religious folks would be real good at fixin'? Here's some thoughts, and I'd welcome yours as well:

    - There really is a disconnect between church and real life. We 'go to church' more than any state (#2 is Mormon Utah). But what we hear there doesn't change what we do during the week.

    - For many, religion ('the routine of living out your faith', like church attendance and daily prayer, etc) replaces godliness. You can be very religious and very ungodly (that's the point of the polls). Real faith comes from a trusting relationship with Jesus that transforms your life and your community. No transformation, no real faith.

    - The Pharisee's were the most religious of their day (as we are the most religious of our day). I'm curious if there are any similarities. Jesus said they tithed religiously but they neglected the more important matters of social justice and love.

    Is it possible that we have neglected the "more important matters" of our day? Love to hear your thoughts... I'd also love to partner with ya to solve some problems.