Looking for the Right Things
You mentioned, essentially, not wanting to disappoint somebody who, in their mind’s eye, is looking for something…what the ekklesia is supposed to be. And that’s true to an extent, but generally people’s mind’s eyes are a little foggy. What they’re actually wanting or looking for isn’t even biblically accurate.
The real issue isn’t the performance issue; it’s the heart issue. That’s why David was chosen above his brothers to be king, because the heart issues determined what God saw and what God cared about, not so much the appearance of things on the outside. So looking for the wrong thing is pretty much written into the genetic code of humans. They are always wanting the wrong thing. They are always looking for what performs, or what pleases, or what motivates, or what comforts. They’re always looking for comfort and accomplishment and that’s not what God looks at. He’s looking deeper, which is why David was king.
This is from “Do We Need Church Planters?”
“Let me give you an example from the world…”
(And this is what they should be looking for…anybody should be looking for…but not what they would be looking for, naturally. But this is what they should be looking for).
“Let me give you an example from the world. A guy named Archimedes discovered, around 250 B.C., what is referred to as ‘the lever.’ This ‘device’ allows a man to move objects weighing many times a man’s weight, from one place to another. He is quoted as saying, ‘Give me a lever long enough, and a place to stand, and I can move the entire world!’ THIS is the awesome Gift of God in the ‘foundation of the apostles and prophets.’ When the foundation is right there is ‘leverage’ to move ugly, complicated, unSpiritual problems that inevitably come up.”
What does the word “inevitable” mean? It’s going to happen. Ugly things come up. Why? Because God’s desire is to turn a bunch of doofuses into supernatural, quality people that, though created a little lower than the angels, according the scriptures, will judge angels.
How do you get there? How do you get to a place where you’re created lower than the angels (Heb. 1) and yet you’ll judge angels (1 Cor. 6)? How do you get there? Well, it’s a supernaturally difficult, ugly problem to get from “A” to “B.” It is inevitable that we are boneheads…we are knuckleheads…and there will be ugly problems that come up.
Now, that’s not what people look for! They don’t look for big ugly problems that get moved. They look for something that impresses them. Just like Jesse, David’s dad—he would have picked one of his sons other than David. He kept offering up all of David’s older brothers as the obvious choices because his eyes were focused on what mere men see. And it is the inclination of humans to look for accomplishment…comfort…motivation…excitement…fun…privilege…companionship. Humans are always looking for the wrong things! They’re not looking for big ugly messes that get moved! But, sorry, this is the planet we’re on, and there’s only one way to get from “created lower than the angels” to “judging angels.” There’s only one way to get there, and that’s through the cross, and the cross comes from skandalon—having to deal with our own pride, our own foolishness, our own failures, and dealing with it with integrity.
It doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. It means that you don’t quit, you don’t retaliate, you move forward when the inevitable things come up. You move forward. You don’t bury it, you don’t hide it, you don’t excuse it, you don’t shift the blame, you don’t accuse, wag fingers, compare, hide, throw up smoke screens and sugarcoat. You go forward.
Well people don’t look for that. Just like David wasn’t the logical choice to be king, as the predecessor of King Jesus. Jesus was the new David, right? David was actually a foreshadowing of Jesus as King of all Kings. That’s how radical the whole thing was…that God would have chosen the runt of the litter, the unimpressive singer, rather than the big sturdy brothers who were actually cowards on the battlefield as it turned out. They didn’t have faith.
David wasn’t macho, he just believed in God! He faced giants because he believed in God and his brothers were too calculating. They were too willing to try to calculate the odds and use something rather than abandon to God and take a chance. So that’s what God’s looking for.
I don’t really care so much what anybody would think. The big ugly problems aren’t things we avoid but things we move. They are inevitable. They are things we move. And the people who are willing to face them move on from lower than the angels to judging angels. The people who won’t face them are jettisoned. That’s just how it works. That’s how it’s always going to work. It doesn’t matter who it is. The people who won’t face it will be jettisoned…the people who will face it will move from lower than the angels to judging angels. It’s just the nature of the Kingdom of God. That’s how it is. Those that don’t grow, die. Those that won’t submit are deluded. That’s the nature of this Spiritual universe. If you won’t move forward you will be deluded.
So having a soft heart is far more important than having faith. It’s far more important than the macho perfection stuff that most humans look for. So, Archimedes…the leverage to move the ugly complicated unspiritual problems that inevitably come up…in ekklesia when there’s a foundation…
“There is a place to stand to resolve the issues and the challenges of daily life in the church. They will come up! The foundation is laid of ‘obedience of the faith.’ When the storms come, then the house will stand. The gates of hell will not prevail. We can find answers. Now the ‘impasses’ don’t separate God’s People. No longer is the only choice: ‘agree to disagree.’ What a pathetic curse that would be.
When the Foundation of Jesus and ‘obedience of the Faith’ is laid, the teens will NOT be lost to the world, and will NOT ‘sow their wild oats.’ This is an incredible rarity, instead of the norm. There won’t be constant problems with out-of-control children, manipulative women, spineless (or dictator-like) men. You won’t find yourself wondering if those that are part of the ‘fellowship’ of the church are even truly in love with Jesus and consecrated to Him. In most situations you won’t even know if half of the folks in the church lead worldly lives (in a ‘normal’ congregation of people). There isn’t enough mutual daily relationship to even know (and even if you did know there wouldn’t be anyone to deal with it). Leaven can easily coexist (in a religious world), against God’s clear command, in such a disconnected environment. Crisis after crisis, leaven galore—and little of it can be solved. (Nothing can be solved with legalism, obviously.)
THIS IS THE DILEMMA usually encountered when a group of Believers does not have the involvement of Foundational Gifts that Jesus ascended on high to give to His church. Problem after problem. And you can’t sing or preach or program your way out of those kinds of problems…you can just ignore them. Nor can you ‘Let the Holy Spirit solve it’ (the cry of those that are helpless).
As was said earlier, these problems of ongoing sin and devastation seldom happen in an environment of LIFE, and a True Foundation. When the problems do come up amongst new Believers or those that move in, or those that temporarily lose their way (this can happen), the problems can be solved with Grace. Why? Because the Scriptures say that on this Foundation (assumed in the New Testament beginning days), folks will ‘admonish one another DAILY…so that NONE will be hardened and deceived!’ Dealing with problems cannot happen without all sorts of weirdness and difficulties, unless there’s a Foundation, and the relationship with Gifts that He ascended on High to give to the Church. But in this environment problems can be addressed and solved with grace and love and prophetic Wisdom. ‘From the least to the greatest’ they will all love the Light, and they will all KNOW HIM!”
So your comment sparked my memory of Archimedes and the lever, that it isn’t really always what people expect to see that matters but the integrity of being willing to deal with things when they do come up, and the willingness from the least to the greatest for those with whom they come up to actually deal with them rather than blow smoke, or retaliate, or hide, or divert attention, shift blame…you know, “everyone close their eyes and pretend it’s not there, it’s not really a problem.”
Those are the things that happen in the world’s system, and the difference between the real thing isn’t the perfection, it’s how we deal with (and whether we deal with) the things that separate us from “a little lower than the angels” to “judging angels,” which is a very supernatural and dangerous journey. It’s not always a pretty one. It’s not always a pretty journey. In fact, it’s not ever a pretty journey. How many pretty crucifixions do you suppose there were in the Roman Empire? You drive down the road and you see these crosses on the hillside that somebody put up, and you say, “Oh, isn’t that pretty.” That isn’t what they thought in the Roman Empire! Those were bloodstained sticks in the ground…a lot of screaming and wailing and tears and family members devastated. There was nothing “pretty” about a cross in the Roman Empire. And it is the same now.