It’s all over the news today. You see it every time you flip on the television or visit your favorite movie theatre. It infects every aspect of our society like a cancerous disease. It dwells within our White House, our public school classrooms and our universities. You encounter it as you stand in the grocery store line, fill up at the gas station, and order at your favorite Chinese restaurant up the street. But it’s also deep within our homes and our families. No, it’s not the Matrix. It is an absence of God; a complete, total and utter rejection of His existence and all beliefs and practices associated with Him. How did it come to this? What would our nation’s founding fathers think if they could see us now? Would they be confused? Angered? Cry?
An undeniable wave of secular progressive humanism is sweeping our country at an alarming rate, engulfing a vast majority of Christians and non-Christians alike. Our culture as a whole is becoming increasingly tolerant of political beliefs and practices that reject the supernatural and the spiritual and instead retain “moral reflection” and human superiority for the basis of decision-making. Ask anyone on the street today, and most believe humanity, if left alone to evolve, will get better on its own. This is where we are. It may not be pretty, but it is where we stand.
America has kicked God out of almost every political, educational and corporate establishment in the nation. And, as a direct result, our view of God has shrunk significantly. As our world is continually plagued by terrorism, violence, famine, disease, and economic hardships, our culture is asking, “Where is God in our big problems? Where is God in the problems of our nation?” We want to see Him transition from the God of the personal and local to the God of the global. If you’ve ever struggled with grasping the connection between the God who helps your church overcome financial struggles and the God who wields galactic power, speaks planets into existence and oversees the nations of the Earth, this series is for you.
Our church culture tends to favor the personal, intimate, conversational Jesus. As a pastor’s kid, I grew up within the walls of the church, singing the beloved Alfred H. Ackley hymn “He Lives.” You remember the chorus.
He lives, He lives
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way
He lives, He lives
Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart
“He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.” We rather enjoy that bouncy line don’t we? I can still hear it reverberating off the sanctuary walls. I can still see every senior saint in the place, purple-haired ladies and all, grinning as they belted out the melody. When I hear that line, I imagine the classic brown-haired, deep, blue-eyed Jesus walking by my side, holding my hand as I merrily skip down the path of life. We’re both smiling, birds are chirping, the sun couldn’t be shining brighter and the harmonies of Heaven’s angels rides on the crisp morning breeze. Sounds like a picture from the front of a Hallmark card. Maybe even one of the “cards with sound”, where upon opening the reader would be blasted with an angelic chorus. I should market that.
The aforementioned is a common mindset. While this characterization of God is true, it must be simultaneously coupled with a view of God that grips the reality and essence of His eternal power and unchanging, divine sovereignty; a sovereignty that says even when our skipping through life more resembles a slow, staggering walk or crawl, or even when Jesus must lovingly pull us along by force, He is still in control. Even when the birds do not sing and storm clouds overpower the sun, God has not changed. He is still on His throne. More than ever before, we need to become reacquainted with our Omni-God: He is eternally omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere at all times), and omnipotent (all-powerful), full of grace and mercy in our time of need.
Too often we downsize God to fit our Earthly mindset because such a mindset is comfortable for us. As human beings, we like what we can wrap our minds around. We may believe God works miracles in our personal lives and intervenes on our behalf, but we limit all of this to a very small perspective. At some level it is very natural for us to think in these human terms about God. After all, we’ve been doing it for thousands of years. Perhaps Martha is the best Biblical example…