But, if a church chooses to follow the ways of God in all things Jeremiah speaks God’s words in this way in Jeremiah 17:“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord And whose trust is the Lord. 8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit. But in order to get “our way” we are willing to choose flesh over Spirit and the end of that is destruction. Paul wrote to this very subject in Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. According to Paul we are mocking God when think we can live according to the flesh and not have to pay for it.
Now back to the pond or a stream. I went to a friends house when I was in the eighth grade and he had a huge pond. It looked very inviting so we got into our swim suits and jumped in. After about ten minutes in the water I started to feel a very strong itch coming on. I got out of the pond and to my surprise, my body had a terrible red rash on it. His pond had no outlet or inlet so it was just stagnant water and parasites had formed and invaded the pond and that is what caused my rash. I went home and got some antibiotic cream and treated the rash and it went away, but I never got in his pond again. Churches sometimes do the same thing by not changing or wanting to grow and before long we start a trend of resistance to everything. Before long the long term effect of that stagnancy is death. The church just fades away into the night and their membership leaves and goes to another church where they are still growing and refreshing their ministries. That kind of church is a river church, where change is accepted and even embraced and they see great growth spiritually and numerically. The story below illustrates the dangers of stagnant water and stagnant churches..
Palmer Chinchen, in his book, True Religion, talks about traveling to the western edge of Zimbabwe with his brothers to raft the Zambezi River, starting at the base of the Victoria Falls. The falls are the largest in the world, more than a mile wide and three hundred feet high, and the water from the falls rushes down the gorge below, creating the world’s largest rapids. In the United States, the highest-class rapid you are allowed to raft is a Class 5. The Zambezi’s whitewater rapids can top 7 and 8…
Chinchen says as he and his brothers sat on the edge of an eight-person raft below those towering falls, their guide told them, WHEN the raft flips…” There was no “IF the raft flips” or “On the off chance we get flipped.” The guide said, “WHEN the raft flips stay in the rough water. You will be tempted to swim toward the stagnant water at the edge of the banks. Don’t do it. Because it is in the stagnant water that the crocs wait for you. They are large and hungry. So WHEN the raft flips, stay in the rough water.” (Palmer Chinchen, PhD, True Religion, David C. Cook, 2010, pp. 55-57)
That’s a good lesson for the church. Stagnancy will kill the church, so we must resist stagnancy. Christ, our Guide, needs us to stay in the rough waters, where it’s just a little bit uncertain and unsafe, pouring our lives into people.
The Now is where we are today, right now, this moment. What you do with The Now will forever change what is done in The Yet to Come. What changes need to take place in your life to change the way you perceive the things around you? It may seem so alluring to go to the stagnant water, but the end result could be death. The rushing stream of God’s grace is calling you to hang on and keep on riding the wave of change in your life. It is time to allow God to do a new thing in your life and get back on track with Him. Isaiah wrote in Chapter 43: See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness= and streams in the wasteland. Maybe you have been in the wilderness in your thinking and it is time to come out of that wilderness into a fresh new way of thinking. God’s way!!! Now is the time to do it and you will forever change your Yet to Come.
The Pilgrimage continues…..