Saturday, November 10th, 2012
The Church (Part 1: Introduction)
I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:11-12 (NIV)
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.
1 Corinthians 1:27 (NKJV)
For I am the least of the apostles.
1 Corinthians 15:9 (NKJV)
I consider myself unchurched. I crossed the half-century mark a handful of years ago, and only then did I commit to Christ. I was 51. The odds of a conversion were against me, but God loves a long shot. My come-to-Jesus meeting was a mountaintop experience--literally.
Except for three Newfoundland dogs, I was alone in a cabin on the top of a ridge. Three years would pass before I found a church and a pastor. Therefore, my first years as a Christian were extremely personal. Just Him, me, and His Book.
But I was an eager pupil. Like others who are saved, I fell in love with my Rescuer. I knew what the world had to offer, and I had no desire to re-enter it.
As an animal lover, I compare my salvation experience to that of a rescued dog. I have owned kennel-raised dogs, and I have fostered and adopted abused dogs: canine survivors of a brutal world. There's a difference between them.
Here's the thing: rescued dogs are extraordinarily grateful. They remember their despair, and they spend the rest of their lives trying to please their kind master. Same with me.
Since I committed to Christ, what I have learned and what I have written come from God and study--in that order. Though I now love my pastor and attend church when I can, my travel schedule keeps me still, relatively, unchurched.
On the other hand, Jesus assigned a Teacher to each of us: 'The Helper, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you' (John 14:26). 'He will guide you into all truth' (John 16:13).
The fact that I am unchurched may be one reason that God chose me to write about His church. I didn't learn from it about Him. I learned from Him about it.
I believe our 'Great High Priest' (Hebrews 4:14) wants His church cleaned, restored, and rejuvenated.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Church series.