YOU CAN’T MUTE GOD

When I was in high school I decided to forego my chores at home to go hang out with my friends. A few hours later I received a phone call from my dad. Very soon into the conversation I realized my father was calling to chastise me for not completing my jobs. Instead of listening to what he had to say I decided I didn’t feel like being lectured and muted the call volume. I let out the occasional “OK”, “mhm”, and “yeah” to make him believe I was still listening even though I had no idea what he was saying. I did not want to deal with my father and decided what he wanted me to do could be put on the back burner until I was done with what I wanted to do, and then I would do what he asked of me. Maybe.

Sometimes I feel like we treat God the same way. Even someone that does not really know yet how to listen to God can perceive what it is we are being called to do by our heavenly Father. However, when it comes down to the everyday grind of life, between school, work, friends, food, and binge watching a season of your favorite show on Netflix, we generally put God’s requests and demands to the wayside. You see, we think that we can do what I did to my dad. That we can put God on mute and pretend like we hear what he is saying. I have been putting off writing this very blog post because I have been so busy and kept saying “yeah I will do it when I have time.” Yet I never seem to get around to it, and I know God keeps telling me to write it that someday I will be able to reach someone, to affect someone. That may not happen early on in my writing career, which is why I keep failing to update this blog. Yet God keeps telling me to do it, and I keep trying to silence his call.

Unfortunately, unlike my not-so-perceptive dad, my God is not so easily fooled by our noncommittal responses and our attempt to drown him out. I know that I have been feeling the call to write this blog, work with a rescue mission, read my bible, go to church, and so much more, over and over. God does not stop calling us to do things. He doesn’t want to wait until we are ready to get a reasonable response or action.

I know I am not the only one who realizes this, or even struggles to do what we are told to do. I am busy. I have work. I have college classes. I have a social life and a lot of TV to catch up on, but God should take precedence over all of that. Through my own failures in this realm I have realized one big thing. If my dad did not ask over and over for me to do my chores, I would always be too busy to do them. Our grass would never be mowed, our dishes would never be clean, my room would be more of a mess than it already is. In the same way, if we have our choice, if we continue to attempt to mute God, if we keep making excuse for our lack of commitment to our beliefs, God’s plans for us will never be fulfilled. The one person who might read something on my blog may never be moved towards God if I never write the blog post. The family at the rescue mission may never hear of God’s grace if I decide not to volunteer. I may never read a passage that motivates me if I fail to read my bible. I may forget to worship my Lord if I decide not to go to church.

All of these things that we fail to accomplish due to our desire to do our own thing could be used to further God’s kingdom. We cannot mute God. We may try to, we may try to pretend to hear what God says, but in reality we are ignoring Him. God will keep on calling us, until we decide to shut up and listen. If we continue to ignore God’s voice, the day may come when we stand in front of Heaven’s gates and God might ask you, “Why did you mute my call?” God is calling you to do great things, no matter what it may be we cannot further His kingdom if we do not pick up the phone and listen.

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BIG CHURCHES AND BIGGER EXPECTATIONS

 

I have always been very picky about where I go to church. I don’t want it to be a small church, but certainly not too large, but that have to have contemporary music. The pastor has to challenge me to grow in my faith, but not come off as pushy or rude. I also HATE when I feel like the church is trying to sell me something. Offering money to the church with an open heart is an amazing and good thing, but I dislike when a pastor stops his own sermon to say that “if you are struggling with your faith you should join this class for $20.” That kind of pitch does not belong in a sermon so I try to avoid those types of churches like the plague. I have noticed this happens much more often in the larger churches. My experiences with that behavior left a bad taste in my mouth in regards to all large congregations. Recently, however, my tune has changed towards large and mega-churches. My visit to Northview Church in Indiana gave me hope for the future of big, contemporary churches, proving to the cynical me that these churches provide so much good for the community.

Pulling into the parking lot of Northview was overwhelming enough when I was greeted by traffic directors who had a specific spot for me as a first-timer to park. “Why does a church need traffic directors?” I asked myself as I weaved through a parking lot that could have double as a parking lot for an amusement park. I entered the church and was blown away by the sheer size of this church (the entryway itself was the size of my home church!) After choosing which of the three levels of the sanctuary I wanted to sit in I realized that not only was I going to get to listen to some amazing contemporary music, but I was going to be graced with a concert at church (they had a light show.) When the pastor began his sermon I was expecting it to be surface level and rather shallow as I was used to from big church pastors, but I was pleasantly surprised. The pastor was strong and influential, passionate and challenging. I did not feel like I was being sold anything, but encouraged to look at what the church offered. His sermon and the church atmosphere showed me what a larger church could provide to the community.

With new and fun music, a large and exciting atmosphere, and the resources to reach out to other churches and other parts of the community, mega churches have the capacity to affect more people than I can imagine. I now see the how essential the large churches are to attracting new Christians, millennials, and people that want to learn how to grow in their faith. Large churches may not be for everyone, but they have the opportunity of doing so much good for the Christian community.