Monthly Archives: November 2015

Terrorism destroys; Jesus restores

Our next door neighbor growing up was Mr. Bilow. (I don’t remember his first name. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t “Mister.”). I don’t know remember a lot about him. I was just a kid. But I do remember that Mr. Bilow restored old cars. Tow trucks would drag broken down jalopies into his driveway; Mr. Bilow would push the car into his garage, and then he would begin to work. In many ways, Mr. Bilow was an artist. Cars would enter his garage as a rusty, ugly bucket of bolts and leave his garage as a gleaming, restored vintage automobile. Mr. Bilow looked at those broken down vehicles and saw what they could become.

That’s how I want to be. Not with cars, but as I view our world. I long to see Christ restore the whole earth. I want to look at the broken systems and misappropriated ideologies and see what could happen when God’s Kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.

Last weekend’s horrid events in France reminded me again how broken our world has become. When terrorists indiscriminately destroy and kill, I still want my focus to be on the One who declares, “I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). When everything within me wants to run in fear, I need to be reminded that God tells us over and over in his Word, “Fear Not!” (Truth: 365 times the Bible says, “Fear not.” Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe God wants us remember every day of the year, even on days when terrorists wreak their havoc: FEAR NOT).

Like Mr. Bilow looking at a broken down Chevy and seeing a hot rod, I want to look at the world not through the terrorist’s evil agenda and blurred vision but through a God sized lens and imagine the possibilities of what could happen when people of God roll up our sleeves and get to the work of offering our world God sized solutions. Paul reminded a handful of believers in a thoroughly pagan culture in Thessalonica that “Our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5) Our world doesn’t need more words. The talking heads on the news channels give us plenty of words. What our world needs is a lived out Gospel message that has power, the Holy Spirit and a deep conviction. What our world is dying for is the dynamic, creative, transformative work of the Holy Spirit empowering us to love even our enemies and offering a better way to our broken down, fearful culture.

What rust and age destroyed, Mr. Bilow restored.
What sin and evildoers attempt to destroy, Jesus restores. Fear Not!

You might need a Spiritual Renewal Week if…

… The last time you read a Bible verse it was on a Christmas card.

… “Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub” was your most recent prayer.

… You bought earplugs for yourself for “Pastor Appreciation Month.”

… You started a petition drive for: “No Tithe November”

… Your co-workers refer to you as “The mean guy with an attitude.”

… Your most “spiritual” exercise on Sundays is taking a “Nazarene Nap.”

… Criticism is your spiritual gift.

… By showing up on Christmas Eve, you’ll double your church attendance for the year.

… You’ve learned the hard way that “Passing of the Peace” is not the time to grab the usher’s toupee and tell him to “Go Deep.”

… When you are compared to Oscar the Grouch, most people think the green puppet is a tad friendlier.

… You can recite the last dozen Detroit Lions football coaches, but can’t recall the twelve disciples’ names.

…The last time you shared your faith– it was to a full service Standard Oil gas station attendant as he filled your Chevy Vega gas tank and washed your windshield.

… In the friendship registers you sign in under the alias, “Mr. Noah It-all.”

… You’ve spent an entire sermon humming to yourself “99 Bottle of Beer on the Wall.”

… When asked to name your favorite hymn, you replied, “Hotel California.”

… The only time you were the first person to Sunday School, you broke into a cold sweat and thought: RAPTURE!

Or more seriously, you might need a Spiritual Renewal Week if it’s time to re-invigorate your soul and spend some quality time with the Lord. You might need a Spiritual renewal if it seems your spiritual tank is empty; your marriage is rocky; life is overwhelming; and you’re tired or just plain cranky. You might need a Spiritual Renewal if like the psalmist you are asking: Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? (Psalm 85:6)