Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Ephesians 5:14 NIV
Have you ever wondered if people who say, "I will pray for you," really do pray for you? I have to admit, secretly I've wondered. Sometimes people say those words with conviction and I know they will spend time standing in the gap for me because they've experienced first-hand the awesome results of answered prayer. I think others may misuse that phrase because they think it's the right thing or even the polite thing to say. I've even wondered if people say they pray and do pray as an excuse not to do something more. Like prayer can be their shield against truly getting involved.
We begin a new series this Sunday called Activate. It's really about being sure your faith is active not passive. The series is based on a book, Never Pray Again: Lift your Head, Unfold your Hands, and Get to Work. I do not ascribe to the politics of the book but I endorse the active Christ-like behaviors the authors suggest as a remedy for flat, dispassionate, exhausted Christianity.
The authors are deeply committed to become the type of witnesses Jesus would be proud of and endorse a type of Christianity that makes an impact for the Kingdom of God. I found an interesting blog while I was reading through the gozillion emails I missed over the Christmas weekend. The title captured my attention, The Vicar of Baghdad Witnesses Christ Amid Danger. You may read it here.
Awaken is the title for the first Sunday message of 2016. Imagine what an active faith in Christ can do and what stories you can tell as you cross the ultimate finish line. I pray the devil gets nervous just knowing you're awake. There is much to do and I believe God is looking for people to carry through with His directives. I've included a snipet from the book:
“The domesticated sheep are those who have been changed over time to become passive, but we are invited by Jesus himself to do greater things than he did. We have been lulled into a specifically Christian form of passivism, bending our knees and folding our hands and waiting for someone else to do what needs to be done. The slumber of Church has not only kept us from being of use to others, it has kept us from being truly awake to God.”
Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”