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Fresh Understandings

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Fresh Understandings - September 30, 2005

"When (Jesus) said this, he called out, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.' " Luke 8:8

Woe to the over-churched. That's me; raised in the pews. God looked down and saw me sitting there. He formulated a razor-sharp communiqu and handed it off to the Spirit. The Spirit breathed it into my pastor's sermon. Charged with conviction, the message flew from the pulpit. It arced through the air, hooked a hard corner into my ear, spiraled down the cannel, hit the eardrum, and bounced onto the floor. I had been practicing A.S.D. (Auditory Selective Dullness) for some years. Born in the church, the effervescent words of life were poured over me before they had meaning. When I was old enough to understand, they were already the words without meaning. Jesus is the blah, blah, blah. It is a malady I fight today.

After I determined that God was for retirees and recluses, I moved on to reaching for "tens" on the fun-o-meter. "I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure" (Eccleastes 2:10). Such living never brought joy. My truest desires were not even greeted at the door, let alone invited into satisfaction. Behind the temporal games was a longing to touch the presence of God. I began to wonder if the gateway to the enormous life in Christ lay in grasping the true meaning behind all those churchy phrases." Washed in the blood", "raised with Jesus", "dead to sin", "covered by grace"; such phrases were so much white noise for me.

One morning I awoke and there beside me was what I needed to open the tired phrases. It was a box of instruments which included faith, desire, a well worn Bible, meditation, and prayer. I used the tools to crack, pry, and incise the trampled muddy walnuts until they burst open to reveal resplendent gems of every color: emeralds of hope, blue sapphires of love, diamonds of truth. "Christ in me" was no longer a ho-hum by-line. It was my oxygen. The words were the same but the power exploding out of them began waking me from the stupor I used to call "life".

Contributed by Don Goulding

 
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