First of all, we went to church on Sunday for the first time in several weeks. I have missed going, but it seemed to get easier every week to make excuses not to go.
We have been going to a new church since the beginning of the year. I really like this church. I told Tim that it was a sign that first week that we went and the bulletin said "A place for a New Beginning". When we started attending there, I had every intention of trying out at least one other church in the area. Somehow though, this church just feels right. Don't get me wrong here, I have no illusions that this church body is perfect- there is no such church.
From the first week, people have been very friendly to us, genuinely just nice. I truly believe that this church has a heart for children and they love them and they encourage them to do great things for God.
The church has been searching for a new pastor ever since we started attending. Most weeks there is a guest speaker and other weeks the associate pastor preaches. I have enjoyed (read challenged) by almost every single sermon I have heard there. I come home with my bulletins written all over front and back with notes. I admire this church for turning down several candidates for pastor because they didn't feel that they were the right ones. I think it's too easy for a church to just pick a pastor and move on instead of staying in limbo and trusting God with the future.
This past Sunday, the guest preacher was an older gentleman. I am enjoying the older preachers more and more. They are so genuine. They have nothing to prove. They can laugh at themselves. They love their wives unabashedly. They have been in ministry for 50 or 60 years. They know what they are talking about.
This week he preached on James 1:22 which talks about being doers of the word and not just hearers.
The Bible says "But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does." (James 1:22-25 NAS)
That verse to me before Sunday was just OK. I kind of got what it said, but I didn't really understand the whole "mirror" thing. This is what I learned:
-God's word is the mirror we need to look into. We want to see the Bible reflected in our lives, so we need to look into it daily. Most people don't look into a mirror and then just walk away and do nothing. If we did, people might not want to be around us. Instead, we go to the mirror, look at our reflection and then change for what we hope is the better (brushing our hair, our teeth, putting on makeup, etc.) The same is true with the Bible. We need to look in it and then work on making ourselves reflect what we learn.
-He also pointed out that people don't just look in the mirror once a week and then go on. No one waits to look in someone else's mirror. So why would we wait to "look in the pastors mirror" each Sunday (wait to listen to God's word)? We need to keep going back to the Bible (our mirror) daily.
-He also gave the example of a dermatologist who has a large magnifying mirror. He said that if the Dr. just used a regular small mirror, things like skin cancer may go undetected. It's better to have the larger mirror to detect cancer early. You have a better chance of getting it under control that way. Do you see where this is heading? If we stay in the Bible daily, it's easier to to catch all the "cancers" in our lives....the pride, the greed, the selfishness...the list goes on. It's easier to deal with these things if we catch them early rather than after when they've grown seemingly out of control.
-As we look in our mirror at home, we see different things each day that need work. A new pimple, a gray hair, etc. So it is when we look in the Bible. We will find new things each day that need work.
This verse suddenly became very clear to me after his sermon. It's so easy to agree with the Bible and yet not cling to what it says. I need to put into practice that which I know to be true.
God is really working on me in the area of priorities. That's a post for another day. Right now my middle son wants me to put a movie in for him. So I guess I need to put aside my own desires and tend to my family!