By Charlie Johnston
Great news! Reader Tom Kuipers from Atlanta has set up a private chat board on which you may exchange contact information with each other or just talk about whatever – without me hovering over you. The link, which I have added to the permanent links at right under “Private Forum,” is Next Right Step Forum . So you know, you must register and be cleared by Tom to get on the site. No one can go there who has not registered and been approved. But once you are on, you can have at it. So people in different regions of the country can now get to know each other off-line as well as on. I am grateful to Tom for setting this up and maintaining it.
I have been inundated of late with people in agony, whose families are in crisis or are suffering some terrible setbacks – and some just worried that they are not doing enough…or that they are prone to stumbles and failures of their own fault. The worry seems to grow greater the darker the cultural skies get around us. Please remember that I preach the ordinary. Do not try to gear yourself up for dramatic, heroic action; just take the next right step. Don’t get caught up in trying to banish all sin in your life. As a very wise priest once told me, when you focus on banishing sin directly, what you are engaged with is sin. The only way to conquer sin is to drown it in a sea of love. Do not be surprised to find that you often do not do what you want, but the very thing you hate…that too often you do not do the good that you want, but the very evil you do not want to do. (Romans 7:15-19). You are in good company with St. Paul. Recognize that you are a broken sinner and keep getting up and stumbling forward. That is the best a true Christian can do. I tell you firmly that God is not concerned with whether you are worthy. Along with you, He already knows that you are not. He is concerned with whether you are willing. Do the little you can and you will be astounded at the amazing things God accomplishes with the poor, broken tools we are.
Michael Brown of Spirit Daily wrote a marvelous piece on miracles earlier in the week. He was right on target. The study of theology has done much to deepen our understanding of the faith, to protect us from error. But theologians fall into deep error when their dense ruminations cause them to think they have become masters of Christ rather than His servants. It is an arid parody of faith that St Paul warned of in 2 Timothy 3:5, people who “have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof.” Paul warned us to avoid such people. That does not mean we should become storm-chasers, ever seeking after the next sensation. It takes two legs to walk efficiently. Faith requires the firmness of sound theology and the knowledge that all power is in God, who acts as He will.
I have gently spoken of a new age of miracles coming. I do not say that figuratively. I mean it literally. No, God is not going to change the ordinary means He prefers we work our lives out in. But miracles, in ages past, have been used to demonstrate compellingly that God IS, to show what pleases Him, and to confirm His servants. Right now, it pleases God to draw all vanity and malice out while He keeps His hand largely hidden, so that hearts may be fully and truly revealed. But He will act with unmistakable and obvious power to demonstrate all the things I have mentioned when all hearts have been revealed. A Church without theology is just a light show. A Church without miracles is an archaic fable. Be careful what you either carelessly condemn or confirm, lest you find yourself contending with God. This is the New Advent and the Lord will come in power and majesty. Wait for Him. Be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord.
Later tonight I will have details and contact information up on the trip to the southeast for later next month. People in Nashville, Atlanta, Ft. Lauderdale and Birmingham are getting things up and ready. It will be in a regularly updated link on the black bar at the top of the page, entitled “Upcoming Events.”