Summary: These are hard times for the churches across North America. We have the greatest message the world could ever hope to hear but people shut their ears and hearts to it. So what are we to do?
Opposing the opposition -
This week I was drawn to the book of Jeremiah. God called him to a difficult task at a difficult time.
Jeremiah was calling out to the people of God but they wanted none of it.
In fact they had enough of Jeremiah and planned to kill him because he would not stop testifying for God. It seems it did not matter who he approached great or small they refused to listen to him.
Jeremiah was told by God to warn the people of God that the wrath of God was coming and that destruction and exile were near.
This message struck such a deep cord within me I decided to go Old Testament this week.
I made myself a sandwich board sign to wear and paraded myself at the busiest intersection of town at the height of Friday rush hour.
On one side I wrote Repent or Perish and on the other side was Turn 2 Jesus. I thought the messages were simple enough and clear.
I took this different approach to get into the mind and character of Jeremiah because I empathized with him. In my mind I wanted to be sure I was willing to go all the way in preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Here on Sunday I have a captive audience so to speak but out there in the fallen world it is a very different environment.
To my surprise a man showed up whom I recognized and he sat in the park near me and began to pray and read his bible while I marched back and forth.
Yes I had prayed before I went out but I had not expected the Lord to send me a prayer warrior to encourage me. Saints I want you to know that God has got your back today and every day.
Together we witnessed for 3 hours to a few positive horn honks and thumbs up. There were only two motorists who shouted profanities but my prayer warrior told me he had prayed for them too. One lady passing by with an out of state licence plate gave me a cold bottle of water. It was a hot day. God bless her.
Being a Pastor you get to wondering if anyone is listening and you get to wondering how else can I tell the world about Jesus.
The Lord told me through this exercise in faith that sometimes it's not us its them. Do you ever get worn out by people who just never seem to hear you when you speak?
Let me illustrate.
My wife claims this is one of my bad habits – she says that I hear her when she is speaking but I do not listen to her.
Friends this is an ailment that affects not only husbands and wives but God’s Saints as well.
You dear Saints may have noticed that it is very, very difficult to share your faith with unbelievers in a way that will engage them in the conversation. It does not have to be a serious conversation about creeds or doctrines just a simple admission by you or a simple “amen” as you are talking can cause people to flinch or pull away from the conversation.
Sadly our culture in North America has become a godless culture that is more ready to spend time taking in what the culture has to offer rather than considering what the Living God has to offer.
These are hard times for the churches across North America. Peoples hearts are cold. We have the greatest message the world could ever hope to hear but people shut their ears and hearts to it.
So what are we to do? Well the Bible has a great example for us in the Prophet Jeremiah.
Today’s scripture passage reveals how the people of God responded to Jeremiah as he was trying his level best to call people back to repentance and worship. Sometimes it seems no matter what we try to do, those who we are trying to reach, just don’t want us to share with them what God has put on our hearts.
I’m reminded of an old movie Cool Hand Luke where the actor Paul Newman is sent to a Southern chain gang for cutting off the heads of parking meters. In order to break him of his anti-authority attitude there was a Warden who orders him to dig a ditch in the sweltering heat of the day.
The orders change several times and the ditch gets deeper and longer until finally the Warden comes over to inspect the progress.
The Warden looks at Paul Newman and asks - who took all this dirt out of my ditch? Fill it up and put it right back where you got it from, this is my prison. Now Luke AKA Newman must put all the dirt back into the ditch but this time its pouring rain instead of boiling hot out. Mud is heavier than dirt. But Luke does it.