Where’s your line?

January 31, 2008 at 11:49 am 3 comments

Ft. McDowell, Arizona

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post we listen to and appreciate the podcasts from Bethel Church in Redding, California.  The teaching there is much different than anything we have heard in our “Baptist days” and so we find it stimulating and frankly life changing.

Sometimes what I remember about one of these messages is not, I suspect what the speaker intends for me to remember, but usually it is a phrase or an idea that sparks something in my mind and starts me thinking.  That is good preaching, by the way.

Here is one in the form of a question that I think is compelling: Where’s your line?  That is, when you hear the Spirit calling you into some new venture, or a new idea, or a new view of Scripture, or a move of the Spirit, or a gift of the Spirit, where is the line you won’t cross to follow Him into something new, or maybe especially, in to something, new to you?

A number of years ago when we were trying to lead an old, rather staid congregation into a more expressive form of worship there were lines being drawn all over the place.  Drums are evil and I will not go to a church where there are drums.  I won’t raise my hands.  I refuse to sing those songs, I will not under any circumstances dance in church (for a lot of Baptists dancing anywhere is a line), I will not stand in worship for longer than one or maybe two songs.  Well you get the idea, even if it is clear that the Spirit is moving and the Presence is in the house, there is a line some would not cross to enter in, no matter what!

How about the gifts of the Spirit referred to as manifestation gifts or sign gifts.  There is a list in 1Corinthians 12 that clearly says there are some gifts like the prophetic, word of wisdom, knowledge, healing, tongues among others that, unless you apply some major theological gymnastics to make them go away, are clearly still for today.  There are a few pockets of theological resistance that still buy the argument that these gifts stopped being useful for building up the church when the canon of Scripture was completed, but there are not very many left.  But there are still many sincere followers of Jesus who have a line, related to these issues they are not going to cross, even if the use of those gifts would bless others and bless them.  They are willing to miss out on what the Spirit has for them and the church needs more than ever today, rather than cross that line.

Sometimes our line has to do with calling.  I will do anything God asks me to do except… I used to say I would never be a preaching pastor, that was my line.  My dad was a pastor and that didn’t look like much fun so I drew a line.  I would be involved in the church and do para-church ministry but I drew a line at ever being a preacher.  After almost 17 years of preaching and two years of not, I miss it in lots of ways.  Crossing that line and doing what I was called and gifted to do was a huge blessing to me and I think to lots of other people. I actually think it blessed the Father.

Crossing the line to reach out to groups of people who are not like you or who are participating in lifestyles you are opposed to, many draw the line there.  What does that do to the advancement of the Kingdom?

I think that our drawn lines thwart the moving of the Spirit more than any other thing.  When we say “I will go this far and no further” we are saying in effect, “Father, I do not trust you or believe that this thing you are doing, saying, calling me to is really You and really for me, therefore I will not do it”.

Where is your line?

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Entry filed under: Authority, Belief, Charismatic, Christianity, Church, Culture, Faith, Holy Spirit, Institutional church, Jesus, Kingdom, Miracles, Revelation, Supernatural, The Father, Thoughts.

Agreeing with the enemy. Remembering…Mabel Goodwin

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brooks  |  January 31, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    good question. We’re facing that very question ourselves. We are hearing Father calling us and giving us as you stated above “new views of Scripture.” As you may know that is seeing the bible, Jesus, and all the rest from a Hebraic/Jewish perspective. We’re finding that it is not very popular at all with some of our friends and family. It is very “new” or strange to them. They see God’s laws/instructions as outdated, obsolete, and quite frankly…anit-God. But i heard God say to me when i was with you in florida…..”follow Me”. I took that to heart. It’s a lot easier to follow the crowd and just hang with the fam. God has asked me the question….are you willing to lose your reputation…your influence on others? ARe you willing to sell all you claim to own? Are you willing to look different, eat different, dress different, act different, etc….. If I don’t answer Him with a resounding YES then i am desserting the voice i believe to be His. I would not be being obedient to the “follow Me”.

    For sure Father will test each of us and ask this question to us all…Where is your line?

  • 2. Doug Wright  |  January 31, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    It seems that the line we recognize is the one placed there not only by ourselves but by our parents, teachers, friends and pastors. (of course there are others who effectively place lines unintentionally and intentionally) It is wonderful that there are challenges to change.

  • 3. BS  |  January 31, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    i don’t know that i can answer that question until i am there.
    i read a great verse though last night which might help me answer this question:
    proverbs 22.3
    ‘a prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions; the simpleton goes blindly on and sufferes the consequences.’
    this verse may not fit perfectly but it says to me…answer this question NOW.
    thanks for making me think about what my LINE is and the fact that i should take heed of this verse and answer it ahead of time because more than likely i’ll get in the moment and draw the line in the wrong place.

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