Summary: The spiritual conduit, or pipeline, between us and God can get clogged - how can we lives unclogged lives to hear clearly from God?
August 22, 2004
Rather than open with a reading from scripture - we’ll read many throughout this message - let me start by reading a few definitions from the Random House dictionary.
con•duit, n. 1. a pipe, tube, or the like, for conveying water or other fluid.
ar•ter•y n., pl. -ter•ies.
1.Anat. a blood vessel that conveys blood from the heart to any part of the body.
2.a main channel or highway, esp. of a connected system with many branches.
pipe1, n., v., piped, pip•ing. –n.
1.a hollow cylinder of metal, wood, or other material, used for the conveyance of water, gas, steam, petroleum, etc.
So, here we have three pathways described....A conduit, an artery or a pipe...All these things are paths or channels, things through which some substance flows, from one place to another... right?
Water, fluid of some sort, blood, gas, steam, petroleum...whatever...
One thing that the dictionary doesn’t mention is electrical power. Electricity – delivered through some sort of electrical wire or what we sometimes call an electric conduit.
What do these things have in common? What we’re looking at this morning is that they can get clogged, or somehow restricted in the flow of whatever substance they convey from one place to another.
illustration: show four pipes:
1. water flows clean and clear
2. water flows, but with some dirt and sediment included – a dirty pipe
3. one clogged, little or nothing flows
4. one’s dry – there’s no source attached
So any kind of conduit, a pipe like these, arteries that carry blood in our body,and electrical conduit, can get clogged, choked or shut down in some way, so that they do not convey, so that they no longer are able to allow whatever substance we can name, to flow freely, or flow at all.
clog (klog, klôg), v., clogged, clog•ging, n. –v.t.
1.to hinder or obstruct with thick or sticky matter; choke up: to clog a drain.
2.to crowd excessively, esp. so that movement is impeded; Cars clogged the highway.
as a noun a clog can be:
3.anything that impedes motion or action; an encumbrance; a hindrance.
Let’s remember these definitions as we move along this morning. And let’s think back to Jim’s message last Sunday. Speaking of clogs – no just kidding...
Actually, Jim was kind of a roto-rooter last week. Jim encouraged us to be willing, to be available, even to eagerly desire, as he preached from 1 Cor 14, to be useful, as God’s instruments, to one another....to be the conduit, if you will, the pipe, the artery, the channel,through which God’s Holy Spirit flows...to strengthen, encourage, exhort and console one another, using God’s various gifts of the Holy Spirit, and especially the gift of prophecy.
Now, Jim really messed me up last Sunday, because I was planning another message for today. Thanks a lot, Jim. I’d already begun to pray about and study Isaiah 40, with a message in mind to deliver this morning.
But when I returned to that passage to continue studying last Sunday afternoon, I struggled with a sense that I needed to connect in some way to what God brought through our brother Jim last week.
Now, from one Sunday to the next, with different elders preaching, there’s not always a connection. But I’ve been amazed at how often God has a thread that runs through the different messages we hear each Sunday at TCF, all this with no formal planning between us...that is, we don’t say to each other, well, so and so is preaching on this, so you should preach on this the next week to bring continuity.
Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, I believe that God gives us what we need each week, and more often than not, there is a thread of connection. When there’s not a clear connection, I believe God is clearly directing in that, too, so we don’t feel under any obligation to make that connection happen.
But last week, I couldn’t escape the Spirit’s leading that there was a followup needed to what Jim preached. Not a sequel, not a continuation, but a message that followed on the heels of what God said last week.
If we accept that God was speaking through Jim last week, and we do, the question that came to my mind was, “how do we keep from impeding, from clogging, the work of the Holy Spirit among us, as individuals? What’s our responsibility here?
How can we, so to speak, live spiritually unclogged lives?
That question inspired the title of this morning’s message: Living Unclogged
How can we keep the flow strong, clean and clear, in each of us as individuals, so that the Holy Spirit flows through us, in such a way that we do for each other exactly what Jim spoke of last week? So that we profit one another, and honor God in that?