Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pretty Houses and Empty Homes

Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: "Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? This is what the Lord of Heaven's Armies says: Look at what's happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!" Haggai 1:3-6
My husband and I are getting ready to host a prayer and praise night at our house this weekend with a group of friends to discuss Joel Rosenberg's new book, Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic and Spiritual Challenges In Time?. We hope the conversation about the book will spark something within each of us there that will leave us with a sense of immense urgency about sharing the gospel and seeing as many people as possible come to know Jesus before it's too late. We also plan to spend a good portion of the night in focused prayer for our nation, for our leaders, for the church, for the lost and for our own walks with the Lord. Heaven knows, we need it!

The verse above could just as easily apply to this generation of Americans as it did to the Israelites in 520B.C. The Israelites had been neglecting building God's temple for various reasons-- opposition from their neighbors and misplaced priorities, to name a couple. Instead, they were focused on "real life"-- tending their crops, improving their own houses and indulging in entertainment.

Sound familiar?

The problem was, because they were pursuing these things in place of their relationship with God, rather than as a result of it, the few things they were actually investing their time and effort into were failing and leaving them desperately wanting. They were planting crops, but harvesting nothing. They were eating, but still hungering. Drinking, but still thirsting. Reaping wages, but then losing them faster than they could count them!

And most importantly, while their houses were looking HGTV-ready, God's house was literally in shambles!

So, what does this look like for us today?

Today, as a result of the work Jesus completed on the cross, God does not dwell in a building anymore; he dwells within the individual believers themselves. We are the church; we are God's house! And we are lying in ruins! More than 80% of Americans claim to be "Christians", but there is a grave disconnect between that statistic and the direction this country as a whole is moving. We have told God to get out of our classrooms, out of our government, out of our businesses, out of our marriages and out of the way of our abortion clinics. We are flagrantly defying God's word, and no one seems to be all that concerned.

Where is the church?

Sadly, much of the church is more concerned with beautifying their homes, entertaining themselves and their children and tending to "real life" rather than tending to God's broken house. The church is hurting, and it's our job, through the power and strength of the Holy Spirit, to do something about it!

Believe me, I group myself in this category as much as anyone else. I would much rather be entertained than have to go out and actually serve another person or stand up for God's word and risk sounding like a bible-thumping lunatic, but people, if we don't answer God's call, no one will!

I pray that our gathering this weekend will begin a ripple that extends far beyond my little circle of friends. And I pray wholeheartedly that it's not the only one! I pray that you would choose to stand up and begin allowing God to use you to rebuild his church as well!
You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come. Matthew 24:9-14

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