Church Invigorated. What if?

4 04 2020
An article in Christianity Today (see link at end) asks church leaders in Italy and Spain to share insights to help North American pastors meet the challenges of Covid-19. They make several important points, including,
>>take social distancing seriously, NOW.
>>reach out to all members for care
>>stop all meetings
>>equip believers to feed themselves from Word

The challenge comes to us from European ministers:

>>> How can the urgency of this season result in a greater level of effectiveness as disciples once the crisis abates?

As we come to the end of Ephesians chapter one, Paul’s prayer from a heavenly point of view strikes with force,

“[that you may know] what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His might power, which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph.1:19-20, emphasis mine).

Would you not agree that God must be extremely interested in how the Church handles the mighty power that has been invested in us, especially during these days of crisis?

We are living in a most extraordinary time, a time to beg God to display His power.

The Church has a chance to change and emerge with spiritual force for the good of humanity. What part will you, and I, play in that change?

As I reflect again on Ephesians, I am more convinced than ever that our obedience will be weak and temporary unless it is built on the character and provision of God.

I have sketched (below) the contour of the Ephesian letter. It resembles a cross-section of North America, with
>>the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges on the west (or left),
>>maintaining the heights to the Rockies,
>>then giving way to the great plains of the Midwest,
>>with a final ascent at the Appalachians.

The high mountains are the great truths of God, things we must believe (orthodoxy = right belief). Note the great themes we will discover in coming days:
>>the power of Christ
>>Grace in salvation
>>One body unveiled

The great plains picture how we walk out our faith (orthopraxis = right practice), through,
>>Body ministry
>>New relationships (marriage, parenting, work)
>>Soul armor

I encourage you to read straight through Ephesians once again.
Note the contours which you observe.
Let’s pay attention to the ways we can walk worthy of our calling.
What is God beginning to stir in your heart?

If you would like to receive these reflections by email,  sign up here to receive “Robert’s – Today With Jesus.” 

Missed earlier posts on Ephesians? Click here to go back to the first one on my website.

Here is the link to the CT article I referenced.

Praying from Our Heavenly Point of View

30 03 2020
Ansel Adams gave us dramatic landscape photographs which remain classics.
Two reasons his pictures are so grand are
> his captivating subject matter 
> his breathtaking points of view

What Adams shows us in art, the Apostle Paul shows us in prayer.

Do we, the Church, pray,about captivating subject matter from a breath-taking point of view? So far in Ephesians chapter one, we have been taken high up into the spiritual blessings held safely for us by God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Now that same Holy Spirit who seals us and guarantees our inheritance teaches us how to pray from that breathtaking point of view.

You have a friend who needs prayer for whatever need — illness, a job, recovery from an addiction, a relationship, a marriage, infertility, etc. In prayer, position your tripod high in the heavenlies and pray that God,

“may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Christ)” Eph.1:17

You have just brought your loved one up to Yosemite Falls on a crystal clear day! Knowing Christ more deeply surpasses any financial or medical provision.

For your child, your aging parent, the refugee who walks down the street, the homeless man on the bench — pray them right up to the Three Sisters in central Oregon, that,

“the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling,

Stay up there!

“...what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” (1:18)

Can you believe this glorious view!

“…and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (1:19).

Praying from the mountaintop gives deep peace, because we have asked God for the very best. And we know it is His good pleasure to grant these requests — always.

And grand prayers look down upon Covid-19 as problems in the lowlands.

Today, try praying for your loved ones from our heavenly position in Christ.

Choose and meditate on one of these stunning resources available in Jesus
>the spirit of wisdom and revelation
>your understanding being enlightened
>knowing the hope of His calling
>the riches of the glory of His inheritance
>the exceeding greatness of His power

Mary’s Song

16 11 2015

The oil lamp flickered well into the night. Martha and Lazarus were asleep, and the house was quiet as Mary took up her stylus and poured out her thoughts to the Lord. What flowed onto the page was a conversation that set her free…

O Lord, it greatly heartens me to think upon your words, for you told me you enjoyed my presence more than noble works. But I must tell you honestly, I find it very hard to know I’ve really chosen what you call “the better part.”
I envy the accomplishments, the good that others do; I don’t have much to offer to prove my love for you. The looks I get from others, my feeling of fatigue–could it be I’m not the person you think you see in me?

Child, I tell you now in stillness what I said among the din–the only thing I look for is a longing heart within. I’m not looking for performance. I don’t care if you’re the best. I desire your companionship. I want to give you rest.

That you could want my company, though I struggle so, is a greater gift of comfort than you could ever know. O Savior, take my sadness, my ever-wand’ring heart, and forever reassure me that it is the better part.

The turmoil of your inner life will rarely settle down; chaos and confusion will always come around. But you can learn to rest while striving, sit while standing tall. I promise I’ll be listening, no matter when you call. So come aside and learn of me; there’s room here at my feet. Your tender heart’s desire is the only thing I need. I tell you now in stillness what I said among the din–the only thing I look for is a longing heart within.

Luke 10:38-42

woman contemplationFOR REFLECTION: Do I give myself permission to receive Christ’s compliments even though I still struggle in my walk with Him?

[excerpt from Imagine Meeting Him, by Robert Rasmussen, 1998 Multnomah Publishers, p.57-58]