Monday, July 28, 2008

The Making of an Ogre

Where would you look to discover how to make an ogre?

Why would you even be looking for that?!

I wasn't looking - it just jumped out at me, sorta like the tattooed ogre did at the Bookmine Thursday.

On Thursday, while Jan & I were scanning in the "Christian book section" seeking items on our "most wanted" library list calling out titles back & forth, I could hear the voice of a father instructing his son, "Books were taken out of the Bible so we have to find them... It is important to search for knowledge because no one will find it for you... We know these "lost books" are true because they are so old."

I tried not to listen but prayed for the young man & for an opportunity to speak on the accuracy of the Word.

I didn't know the trap was set. His unsettling view was the bait.

"Have you read..." he inquired about several classic Christian books, initiating conversation with a stranger - ME. I didn't even hear the trap spring.

Then conversation turned (I didn't do that!) to organized religion (aha! His true motivation!) and the many evils found therein.

He quoted scripture. "You must worship God in spirit and in truth and not in temples made with hands."

As did I. "Do not neglect the fellowshipping of the saints."

I did manage to tell him (did he really not know?) that false prophets have been around for ages including during the time of the early church & that being old & written down does not make something TRUE or Divinely inspired. He tried to give me his Bible conspiracy theory.

As I left the area, he condemned me for choosing man over God (for me it's a big G - not sure for him). I told him, "I choose Jesus!" I was sorry I didn't give my personal testimony and the gospel presentation. It just didn't occur to me in the midst of the ambush. (May I be prepared with that answer & not sidetracked by the worshipping in Jerusalem vs. this Samaritan mountain argument next time, Lord!)

I wasn't looking for how to make an ogre but found out this a.m. (I woke up with Stan's alarm so it's REALLY a.m. > wake up the rooster a.m.)

Remember, I'm reading about Spiritual Disciplines with Andrew & Caleb? Check this out:

But without true fellowship, even the Christian who is ardently practicing the Spiritual Disciplines will not develop in a spiritually balanced way... Hebrews 3:13 warns, "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is still called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." ...When we are outside the spiritual protection God intends for us to get from fellowship, it is much easier to be deceived by sin. Some of the most sin-deceived people rigidly practice many of the Disciplines... Without the tempering (iron sharpens iron) influence of believers with differing gifts, they confidently asserted twisted views of Scripture, delivered "words from God" for everybody, and were able to justify even gross sin because of their supposed spirituality.

How do you make an ogre? In this case, keep him out of church, out of fellowship!

My SS class actually discussed someting about this yesterday - not in my words but in some similar to these of Whitney's:

Just as we need to experience the discipline of modeling and talking of Christ with unbelievers, so we have need for a similar discipline with believers... J.I Packer defines fellowship as "seeking to share in what God has made known of Himself to others, as a means to finding strength, refreshment, and instruction for one's own soul." ...As we live like Christ when together, we encourage each other in Christian living. As we talk like Christ and about spiritual matters, we also stimulate each other toward Godliness.

Put directly, as each believer disciplines himself ..., his or her individual spiritual growth helps to build up the local body of believers when that believer is in fellowship with them. As that body of Christians is built up collectively, the increased strength of this fellowship contributes to the spiritual growth of the individual and encourages his or her pursuit of Godliness.

There was a question in SS: How is the class enabling/encouraging us to grow to be more like Christ? Because of the smallness of the group, we are able to share more of our lives with each other, getting past the "How are you? Fine." mentality that is prevalent most places to the nitty-gritty, real-life "How are you really?" soul-searching that we need to do.

An applied blessing from a SS testimony yesterday: "You can have as much of God as you want."
This statement caused me to examine my life and ask myself: "How much of Him do I want?" Do I truly invite Him to reign over every area of my life, filling this temple with His glory Eze 44:4? I should.
Can I really have as much of Him as I want?
Do I choose to feast upon this relationship?
"Taste and see that the Lord is good." Psalm 34:8

Back to preventing ogerness:
[There is a] common Christian failure to distinguish between socializing and fellowship... Socializing involves the sharing of human and earthly life. Christian fellowship, New Testament koinonia, involves the sharing of spiritual life. Don't misunderstand--socializing is a valuable asset to the church and necessary for a balanced life, but we have gone beyond giving socializing the place it deserves; we have become willing to accept it as a substitute for fellowship, almost cheating ourselves of the Christian birthright of true fellowship altogether.

It looks like this: two or more Christians can sit together for hours, talking only of the news, weather and sports while completely ignoring their need to discuss directly spiritual matters... they are so independent in their practice of the spiritual disciplines that they almost never talk about such things on a heart level, and without personal interaction about the mutual interests, problems, and aspirations of discipleship, our spiritual lives are impoverished. ...Only Christians can have the rich banquet of koinonia, but too often we settle for little more than the fast-food kind of socializing that even the world can experience.

So, there you have it. Feast vs. junk food vs. famine.

I encourage you to find a body of believers with whom you can have true fellowship= koinonia.

Don't become an ogre.

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