Cliff Note Christian

Posted on Apr 3, 2016 in Paul Sommer's Blog

Cliff Note Christian

CLIFF NOTE CHRISTIAN

By Paul Sommer

Could you imagine going to church and listening to the pastor read his sermon for the next 2-3 hours, or longer in some cases? Most of us would fall asleep or leave, or watch a video on Youtube, text our friends, etc. But very few of us would actually listen and be moved by the sermon, or would we even call it that?

Well, this incomprehensible idea is exactly what thousands did during the days of Jonathan Edwards. First of all, you may not believe me and now you are asking, who is Jonathan Edwards? He was a preacher that led the first Great Awakening for God in the 18th century in this country. Before the United States was a free nation physically, he was helping to make sure they were a spiritually free nation. I do not agree with all things proclaimed by Jonathan Edwards or other pastors over the years that read sermons or preached for hours, but the point is that our society has become one that is too busy to even consider the concept of doing so.

I was recently invited to go to Kenya, Africa for 2 weeks on a teaching missionary trip. I will be teaching and also ministering to the families of the students training to be pastors. I was very excited about the opportunity, but it was not until the following story, that I had tears welling up in my eyes. The pastor told me that the students are so hungry for the Word of God that during the 2-week intensives, they only sleep about 3 hours per night. To ensure that the students do not miss anything the speakers may be saying, they put bowls of cold water under the table. Whenever they feel like they are too sleepy to continue learning, they put their feet in the cold water to wake themselves up. Remind you, they do this for 2 weeks. At other times during the year, the schedule is not so strenuous, but this shows their utmost commitment to the Word of God.

May we learn from this amidst our instant gratification society. When is the last time you took a serious look and inventoried your life? We could use the word audit as well. After all, to run a successful organization of any kind, it is necessary to keep inventory and it is also necessary to be audited. This is a company’s way of having accountability, among other things. What would happen if we actually took that inventory of our spiritual lives and if we allowed someone to audit our spiritual life? Does the idea scare you? It should not; after all it says in James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. There is healing in being real about your life. Remember John also says in 1 John 1:10, “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.” I am not saying that we need to confess every sin we commit. We can go to the Father through Yeshua and do that, but it is important to have confession and accountability in your life in order to grow and desire God for more than just what is accepted as a normal or average Christian. Many of us are familiar with the studies that talk about the average Christian does this or does that or does not do this or that. These studies usually are not seen in a positive light so why would we want to be average? Maybe you play sports or an instrument, or something else you enjoy. Do you want to be just average, or do you strive to be the best you can be at it, or are we happy with the Cliff Notes concept in this area as well? What would the Cliff notes in our churches you may ask?

Pastor, just get to the point. Don’t bore me with any historical context. Just give me something to help me fix my issues. Pastor, there is nothing more is necessary ;  after all, I have a ball game to watch at noon. If this is you, take the time to ask God for direction, not what you want to hear. Last time I checked, God is the creator and I am the created. He knows what is best and on His time schedule

May we seek a deeper desire for our God and King? May we be like the 1st-century believers, whose life centered around the temple. They did this because this represented the dwelling place of God on earth, to represent the Heavenly temple that is functioning still today in the Heavenly Kingdom. They wanted to be in the presence of the King as much as they could. May we be those who truly do what the Lord’s prayer says, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Settle for nothing less.

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