One of our children had a thing about dinosaurs. I can’t remember who it was but I do know that we have quite a few plastic dinosaurs still knocking around the place. The largest dinosaur (a brachiosaurus) has somehow found its way to a windowsill in a bedroom now used by our grandchildren when they visit. When opening the curtains the other morning I noticed that the large dinosaur had acquired a Jesus pendant. I don’t know how or when the pendant appeared, but it occurred to me that the dinosaur did seem pretty happy about the situation.
Then my mind wandered off at a tangent (as it often does). The words ‘Dinosaur Church’ appeared from nowhere and the thoughts that followed were not about a church for dinosaurs but a church that has become a dinosaur. Then I found myself challenged about my own church and questioning whether it was a dinosaur church? After a sharp intake of breath I decided to let the question ferment for a few days because I felt this was a question I needed the Holy Spirit to answer. That could have been a mistake because the questions have multiplied since then! I then found myself in Psalm 51 reading the words of David as he sought mercy, forgiveness and cleansing after being confronted by the prophet Nathan about his sin in sleeping with Bathsheba and arranging to have her husband Uriah conveniently bumped off on the battlefield.
How do I put David’s sin into perspective with what happens in my world, in my life and in my church? First I am troubled that disciples are not being built in the church, and that the gospel message is not reaching those outside the church. Second I am disturbed by our ignorance about prayer and indeed about the way that we pray (or don’t). Surely it is time to rip up the prayer shopping lists and come to God in a place of true surrender in which the words that come out via our thoughts and mouths have been placed there by the Holy Spirit? And that I am afraid is the third point. Francis Chan wrote a book about the Holy Spirit. He called it ‘Forgotten God.’ How is it that we so completely manage to leave the Holy Spirit behind in our spiritual journey – both in our personal walk with God, and in our churches?
Finally I have to ask about how God is being glorified in my life and in the life of my church? Because if He is not then what is the point of a spiritual journey be it my own or the one that my church should be on?
So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honour and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. (Colossians 1:9-14 NLT)