2-23-2014 It's Not About The Miracles: Up Is Down

I confess a bit of a love/hate relationship with technology.  Oh, I love what new technologies can do--and, more importantly, what they can allow simple churches like ours to do--but I hate how easily something simple can gum up the works.  For instance, AT&T upgraded their systems and gave us a brand, new router for our office.  Our internet access is now lightning-fast, and that’s wonderful.  Of course, that meant that the main office computer could no longer print to the main office printer...

We spent several hours with several different technicians, all trying to figure out how to reconnect the printer to the network--but to no avail.  But then, Zach Malmgren came home for the weekend and graciously took a look at it... and fixed it in maybe two minutes.  Praise God for a church family... :)

Speaking of that, please keep the Kellerstrass family in your prayers, since David’s grandmother passed away this week.  She’d lived for a full century, and she knew exactly where she was going, but it’s still awfully hard on the people that she left behind.

In our Adult Sunday School class, we began the Crusades this week, and everyone was ironically very excited about that.  Oh, this Pope going to war against that Emperor is all well and good, but apparently, the real fun begins when the entire continents battle over religion.  I do have to admit that the discussion got very, very interesting when people began seeing parallels to the “culture wars” that the Church and the secular world have been fighting of late--at what point have we lost the war, simply by seeing it as a “war” against culture in the first place?  Oh, we should take a clear stand for truth, surely, but real, Biblical change comes not from controlling cultural power bases, but from changing the culture itself by changing the individuals within it.  Somewhere along the way, we found that it’s easier to treat the symptoms on a macro level than it is to treat the disease on an individual level--and, strangely enough, the patient (our culture) got sicker.

We talked about that a bit in the message this week, looking at two miracles that Jesus did on the Sabbath--much to the chagrin of the religious ruling elite.  They’d lost sight of the fact that the whole reason why we even have a Sabbath is to remember God and His power, and to live out the day in rest as an act of worship.  They’d gotten so focused on the minutiae of how to do that over the centuries that they’d lost the point of doing it in the first place. So when a woman was afflicted by a spirit, or a man was seriously ill, they’d rather ignore their suffering (or even become indignant when they praise God about their healing) than worship God by helping their fellow man.

Let’s be honest for a moment--we far too often get our priorities out of whack.  Would God agree that what you’ve so fervently invested yourself in should have become such a priority for you?  Would there be anything that He would say you’ve let fizzle in the process?  

Or think of it more this way:  When you think of holiness, do you recognize that you’ve basically just lived the way the world around you has?  Or do you picture yourself living apart from the messy world, on a high and purified hill?  Or have you lived like an ambassador--thoroughly in the world, but not even remotely of the world?