Desiring to serve God in a real way…
I was invited to a Christian event by a friend. I thought to myself, “sure, I would like to attend this event. I’ll get to know more people, connect hearts and ultimately get closer to God.” That’s supposed to be the goal, right?
As I looked at the stage, I saw all the shiny lights, many musicians and dancers with their flashy outfits, adoration, decorations… so much excitement and emotions in the air!
It almost looked like a Hollywood musical, with all the special effects, the praise and worship team setting the stage! We all had our eyes, minds, hearts and emotions fixed on the presentation that was happening. Hundreds of people singing chanting, speaking in tongues, jumping up and down, gazing at the stage as the musicians played and shouting, “Praise God!”
As the last song ended, the band leader shouted, “Glory to God! Praise his name!”
“Amen!” the crowd responded enthusiastically.
“We are selling our CD’s & T-shirts to support and promote our music ministry! You may purchase them as you exit. Donations are accepted. Take a little of the Lord you experienced here home with you. Share this with your family, friends and that special loved one who you desire to know the Lord! Play our CD and meditate. Remember to read the scriptures. Call upon the Lord, and He will draw near to you. Experience your personal relationship with God!”
This was the first time I noticed how believers were promoting themselves like a celebrity or a movie star. They were performing and when the show was over they would shake your hand and sign autographs.
I wondered, ‘Is this how I can get to know Him better? Would being by myself in my room, playing the CD I had purchased over and over again, strengthen my faith? Would it help me get to know the One who created me?
I did this for several years as did many others who had their “God Alone” relationships. We all did. We had one thing in common: we all went home ALONE! Alone to our empty lives void of purpose, not knowing what God’s will was for our lives.
One night in my desperation, I fell on my face asking the God of heaven to help me get to know Him. The next afternoon on my way to work I saw a big detour sign. There was a Billy Graham event at the Montreal forum on St. Catherine’s Street. I noticed a big bus and men with beards and short ponytails and women with long dresses handing out papers.
My bus turned and I got off and went straight to work to clock in. My boss and I had a love/hate relationship; he was an atheist, I was a believer. We would often challenge each other on topics about God and such matters.
When he saw me he sat me down at my desk & handed me a paper he received from some bearded man outside the Billy Graham event.
I looked at the cover of Billy Graham smiling as he kneeled on his own star on Hollywood Boulevard. “This is just not right,” I said out loud.
My boss (laughing) said, “What do you think of your God now? Give this paper a read and let’s talk about it.”
I really wanted to read this paper, but an alarm went off upstairs. I checked it out and came back. My paper was gone! The cleaning lady had thrown it out. At clock-out time my replacement came in and I caught my bus home.
The Hope of Life
Shortly thereafter, I ended up moving east to Nova Scotia. It was there, at the Halifax Historic Center, that I came across people playing folk music and dancing. There were men with beards and short ponytails, and women with long dresses. “This looks familiar,” I thought.
One of them asked me heartfelt questions. “Do you know your created purpose? Do you know God’s will for you? Do you know we were never created to be alone? Do you know we were created to have relationships and relate to others in a real family environment? Do you know there is a life of love and unity that expresses God’s love and true character on the earth? The gospel calls all believers to live such a life!”
“You see,” one of them explained, “isolation, disunity, lack of community and the absence of fellowship is not God’s will for us. In the same way that it was not good for Adam to be alone, it is not good for anyone to be alone. We were created to be bound together by love. The answer to peace is not isolation – but honest and true, restored relationships with each other and our Creator.”
“God desires a relationship with us,” he went on. “He sent his son to redeem us from all selfishness and the lawless deeds of darkness, from the motives and desires of this world. He brings us into the kingdom of His marvelous light, where His spirit dwells. His dwelling place on earth is in a people who have his heart and have surrendered their lives to do God’s will. Because they surrender all, they are being set free from all self-will, selfish motives, self-glory and natural strength. It is a lifetime of surrender choosing to do so every day!”
“The lack of community and the absence of fellowship is not God’s will for us…”
“This is the real deal!” I thought. “It’s a whole life change from everything I was ever taught.”
THE GOOD NEWS… REAL RELATIONSHIPS!
20 years later I am beginning to see just how deep the motivation of self life works in me. I am now starting to see what I need to be saved from. I am grateful to those who loved me enough to bring the true Gospel to my life and help me see the things I am dull and very blind to. They encourage me daily to pick up my cross. Now, all I can do is learn to love, and love to serve my brothers and sisters in the body of Messiah, walking in the works prepared for me every day.
The truth is, Yahshua came in the flesh as a man; He walked in the works prepared for him, as a human being like you and me. He loved, and had real relationships with people. We are learning to do the same.
Our Master’s heart was and is to restore true Godly relationships. God’s love and life is not a stage show or an isolated group. His life is a real life of fellowship between friends, brothers and sisters working together to build up the body of Messiah on earth. We have found that by serving our brothers, sisters, and friends as we cultivate healthy relationships in community. This helps us grow together, and fall in love with Him and each other more and more.
Come and see!