|Let's Bring Back the "Oh"|
(by Chris Long)
I was just listening to a message last night on my mp3 player by Alan Redpath, a pastor who went to be with the Lord over 20 years ago. I was listening, as we all can be apt to do, in kind of the "ho hum" state - where we're listening but not as engaged as we should be, when all of a sudden he said something that literally was like bricks falling on me! This is what he said [yes, I actually got out a pencil and paper and wrote it down - I felt so low-tech... ;) ]
Isaiah cried, "Oh that thou would rend the Heavens and come down..."
Hannah...in bitterness of soul because of the barrenness cried, "Oh Lord..."
The "Oh" doesn't exist any more in our prayer meetings, and we play religious games while society goes to hell.
This last line just jumped out at me - and proceeded to bonk me on the head!
Where is our "Oh"?
Or, rather, "Where did our 'Oh', Go?"
As a Church, and specifically the Church in America, we've become quite content living in our little "Christian bubble" - hands over our ears; eyes tightly shut; screaming loudly "I can't hear you!" in our best ignoring tone - to a world that has become progressively dark. By maintaining a stance of ignorance, or worse, complete apathy, we have not only tried to ignore what's been going on around us, we actually invited it into the church. By not taking an appropriate stand, we flung the doors wide open and welcomed the world's values inside.
We didn't realize that while we were silently passive to the evil growing around us, what that actually meant was that we were being active in embracing it.
While the Biblical standards showcase a clear life difference that a believer in Jesus Christ is to have in comparison with an unbeliever, describing it in such graphic contrasting terms as "light" vs. "darkness" and "life" vs. "death", the lines have gotten incredibly blurred in many of our churches. We go and sing our songs all spiritual-like, raise our hands, dedicate our hour a week (or two or THREE if we're REALLY spiritual!) and then go home. We go to church and put on our "Christian face" and of course we've all learned to speak "Christianese" fluently ("Oh, Praise the Lord brother!" "Hallelujah, sister!" :) :) - you know what I mean...) We can sit there and listen to messages, but somehow not really take them in and apply them personally to our own lives, and then we leave church, and we proceed to live just like the world in most every regard. When the divorce rate WITHIN the church is worse than the divorce rate outside of the church, you KNOW there's a problem...a systemic, underlying, structural problem.
This isn't a bash on the Church, but a wake-up call for us all (myself included). Thankfully, there have been some very encouraging signs recently that us slumbering pew-folk are beginning to wake up. But, honestly, just trying to put a band-aid on decades of slumbering ignorance isn't going to cut it. Just holding a once or twice-a-year hourly revival/prayer service isn't enough. We've got to get into the fundamentals and start seriously re-examining just how it is - or, better yet, why, we do church. It's time to examine where we have let mechanized programs and man's wisdom in, and pushed the Holy Spirit out.
It involves being real with God, ourselves, and one another. The facade we've built up in many of our churches has got to go. We've played our religious games long enough, agreed?
It involves getting back to what God says in His Word, and not just what others "think" God says in His Word. It involves all of us spending that time with God in His Word, developing that personal relationship with Him. We've been living on the milk - and often not even milk we ourselves sought out personally - but that was handed to us after being drunk by others - for decades. It's time to "get meaty."
The gray is rapidly fading and the sides are becoming clear. God has definitely been "forcing the hand". It's time that we get back to simple basics and examine ourselves - and our beliefs - in the light of God's Word. It's time we repent where we need to repent and weep where we need to weep. And then it's time to take our stand and cry out to our Lord like never before.
It's time to bring back the "Oh"!
This article is Copyright by Chris Long 2010. You may use this article for free for any purpose, whether commercial or non-commercial, as long as you use the entire text and that all text, including this notice, is not modified or removed in any fashion. For any other usage, you must obtain written permission from the author.