Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What Are You Looking For?

A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign… blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed
(Matthew 12:39 / John 20:29)

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, not His ruckus. What we are attempting to do here, by giving these verses together, is to show the problem with seeking after signs and unusual manifestations today. Why do some people NEED to be at every so-called revival or outpouring? Prayer, fasting, worship, Bible study, witnessing, discipling, journaling, etc., are all blessings in themselves. It is a privilege to be able to be in communion with God through these “methods”. Why do we feel the need for more?

Could it be that our spiritual maturity is lacking? Maybe our spiritual disciplines are not exercised at a high level? Why do we not see signs in our own walk? Do we feel that we will become more spiritual if we go to an event where there is a “move” of God? Does greater emotional response equal a deeper relationship with Christ, or does it mean that we are experiencing a closer touch of the Holy Spirit?

These questions are intended to stir up awareness about possible problems with our motives. Of course, a move of the Spirit is wonderful, exciting, and to be longed for. But are genuine repentance and a deeper relationship, a casting away of sin, and a new, more Christ-like character our goal? When we truly have an encounter with the Holy Spirit we will be changed, not for a week, but for forever.

Think of all the biblical examples, and how Isaiah etc., realized how holy God was and how pathetic they were (Isaiah 6). Moses at the burning bush, Paul on the road to Damascus, John on the island of Patmos; a visitation by an angel or the verisimilitude of the Lord, or the presence of the Holy Spirit should in the first instance be a reverential, and even fearful thing, not simply a state of euphoria. Signs and wonders happen, but are we seeking the signs or a more intimate fellowship with Jesus? Do we define intimacy with feeling or fusion? Is intimacy simply experience or is it a bonding through time and commitment?

Seeing and being part of signs and wonders does not necessarily equate with loving God more, or growing in faith. For example, we could be using someone’s tools but not know the person. Someone could use our tools better than we could but that doesn’t mean they own them. Does Christ own you, or are you just using His stuff to get what you really want?


Jerry Bouey said...

I noticed that you have used the term journaling several times in your blog. Can you please define that term for me? Thanks.

In one article you used it in a way that I didn't have a problem with, but I want to make sure I know what you mean. There are some that use this term to mean making their mind blank and writing down whatever spiritual thoughts come to them (automatically assuming these thoughts are from God) - which I do have a problem with - though you seemed to be using the term differently in the other article. This time you didn't specify.

Anonymous said...

May I make a comparison? If my relationship with my husband was based on "signs and wonders" :), "rukus", feelings, experiences, etc., I'm afraid I wouldn't have stayed married for 37 years (yes, I am a baby boomer). My relationship with him and with the LORD is about bonding through time and commitment.

Thanks for today's nugget, Even So.

Even So... said...

Jerry, thanks for asking, and yes, it really does pay to define terms.

Journaling for me is no contemplative measure, period.

It is recognizing and recording God's faithfulness, not our random thoughts that may happen while we empty our minds, that would put it in the camp that I am trying to distance myself and others from.

Exist-Dissolve said...

even so--

Good stuff. Your description of the desire for "signs and wonders" reminds me of the story of Simon the magician, recorded in Acts 8. He had great zeal to be involved in what God was "doing," but for the wrong motivations. Instead of seeking to participate within the work of God for the sake of the Kingdom, he just wanted to be a part of the "show." Unfortunately, I think the "me" focused approach of modern, Western Christianity is little different from this (and I am hardly innocent of this charge). Many desire the spectacular, the dramatic, the world-shaking miraculous, yet neglect the very life of devotion to God and self-giving of which Christ was our exemplar.

Jerry Bouey said...

Thank you for clarifying. This definition was the impression I got in the other article (but I have been reading all else on your site and I couldn't remember exactly what it was until you restated it here). I am certainly all for this type of keeping records of God's faithfulness! Not only as a testimony to others, but a reminder for ourselves the next time we go through trials. Reminds me of Romans 5:3-5.

Even So... said...


Exactly, see my previous post "I've got the power" for a discussion on that very item.

Seth McBee said...

even so...sorry for the way off topic subject...but I have one of my seniors in my youth group that is going to be attending UCF this fall and I am way up in Washington state...know of any good churches in Orlando?

Even So... said...

What would you call "good"; yeah I can help prolly a little.

Seth McBee said...

I really liked the Toronto Blessing so something along those lines

Seth McBee said...

Sorry I have bad humor...

good being conservative in nature, Calvinistic, progressive dispensational, something along the lines of MacArthur and Piper. Doesn't have to be a large church...but big enough for a college student to get involved

Even So... said...

It's not dispy, but St. Andrews in Sanford has the privilege of having R.C. Sproul (ever heard of him, wink wink) as teaching pastor - to me that would be an incredible week to week learning environment.

Lots of bad, I mean really really bad churches there. Instead of listing, if you give names I will let you know of these.

Used to live there 18 years, went to UCF myself, but haven't lived there since 2000...times have changed since I was there with my old church, can't recommend it at all, unfortunately.

Exist-Dissolve said...

seth mcbee--

good being conservative in nature, Calvinistic, progressive dispensational, something along the lines of MacArthur and Piper.

* Sigh * /end sigh.

Even So... said...

Seth, busy today, home late afternoon, will get back to 'ya.


If Seth's student were coming to Lexington, Kentucky or surrounding area, what church might you recommend?

Seth McBee said...

thank you even so...and exist-dissolve...what's up with the sigh? guessing you don't agree with these pastors and the doctrines of Grace?

How far is Sanford from Orlando? That would be amazing. Have you heard or can confirm that R.C. has started down the psychology road in his theology?

Jerry Bouey said...

He might not be predestined to answer that...

Even So... said...

Jerry that was funny.

Sanford is just 15-20 minutes north of UCF. basically it is in the Metro area, highways and all, etc. Jerry, I might have mentioned the old IFB I used to attend, but you don't want to know what happend there. As well, I might have mentioned First Baptist Orlando, but Jim Henry just retired.

Martin and Diedre Bobgan (semi-well known PhD's) have taken issue with RC and what they term "psychoheresy", but they have put similar labels on John MacArthur as well. I find their research helpful but not always balanced. If RC goes down, as it were, we might as well not recommend any churches at all.

Seth, if I was attending UCF again, I would definitely try out St. Andrews, even if just for a while, even if I am not (I'm not) a paedobaptist, and yes, even if I am not a five pointer (I a...well, I will let you decide that).

Thanks for coming by, and I will call some friends back in O-town to get the low-down on the Church scene, know what I mean?

Sorry for the last bit, I am working at a Christian summer camp and do the music skits all day!

Seth McBee said...

even so...thanks a ton...if I had to choose five pastors I could sit under if I was away from my home church it would be:
Steve Lawson
John MacArthur
John Piper
Alistair Begg
R.C. Sproul

that is great stuff...even if he is a little different in baptism and eschatology than I am...thanks again...