I love having opportunities to share the Word of God.
One of the reasons I love them so much is because through the constant preparation, meditation, and rehearsing, I think I’ve been challenged more by my sermons than by anyone else that heard them.
That may have very well been the case this past weekend. On Sunday, I had the privilege of sharing the message with the people of Bethlehem United Methodist Church here in Thornton, PA – the church in which I serve as the children’s pastor.
I had at least a half dozen different sermon topics that I could have preached on, but one stuck with me as I was figuring out what God wanted me to discuss. I’ve been reading the Old Testament a lot lately, so I’ve spent a lot of time reading up on the Israelites.
If you look through the entire Biblical account of the Israelites, this is a group of people that went through a lot. This is a group of people that saw God move – a lot! Aaaaaand, this is a group of people that rebelled against God.
One of the biggest acts of rebellion by the Israelites is recorded in Numbers 13-14. Most are familiar with the story, but if you’re not—read up on it! This tells of how the Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land and wound up getting stuck in the wilderness for 40 years!
It doesn’t take a renowned theologian to realize that an entire generation of Israelites missed out on a pretty good thing. God had promised an amazing, abundant land to them, but they didn’t trust God to deliver. They became so content with the status quo that they missed out on God’s bigger plan. They were happy with the way things were, and didn’t realize that there was something better. They were a group of people that became “stagnant.”
Being “stagnant” in your faith is a pretty common phrase among Christians. It’s used to describe people that aren’t really drawing closer to God at the moment, but also aren’t pulling further away from Him. They are just kind of on a straight line not going anywhere; not moving up or down.
In the medical field, they call that “flatlining.”
They also call that dead.
The Israelites didn’t make the move into the Promised Land because they were afraid of the inhabitants. The bigger picture – they didn’t trust God to go before them and fight for them like He said He would! They didn’t believe that God was actively involved among them. They didn’t believe that God would show up so instead of stepping out in faith, they became content with the status quo. AKA – Flatlined.
How many people in the church today are flatlined in their faith? Sad to say, many. Ashamedly, I’ve been there. More times than I would like. Even though we may not realize it at the time, a reason for flatlining may be because we don’t believe that God is actively involved in the world today. Zephaniah 1:12 says, “At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent…who think, ‘The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad.’”
People that believe the Lord will do neither good nor bad for them believe that God is not active in today’s world. People in the Old Testament believed that. People in 2013 believe that.
But if you truly believe that God is alive and active in this world, how could you become flatlined in your faith? If you know that the God that created the heavens and the earth is moving in the world today, wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?
Every day, you’re either drawing closer to God, or you’re pulling farther away from God. There’s no middle ground. Each and every day, you need to make a conscious decision that you want to draw closer t
o Him. Each and every day, I need to make the decision to draw closer to Him. I don’t want to become so content with the status quo that I miss out on the life God has promised for me. I don’t want to get stuck in the wilderness when God is inviting me into the Promised Land.
I don’t want to become flatlined.
-By Pastor Kevin, aka “Flow”