GoingFullCircleBlog

Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission for Christ

Do I Make God Cry?

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CryingBut if you do not listen, I will weep in secret. Because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive. Jeremiah 13:17, NIV

What evil force is at the heart of our battle between outward intent and inward focus? We don’t have far to look to find our sin nature leering from behind the curtain. It’s our pride that makes us so vulnerable to this deception… and so proud of the churches we have built. Sin blinds us to what we don’t know. It will continue to blind us to what God wants us to know if we leave it unchallenged.

The active letter in the word sin is always the big “I” in the middle. I want everything to be my way, to be all about me, to meet my needs first and foremost. Because earth is the battleground between God and evil, this battle will be ever-present until Jesus comes again. But God is calling us to take the tissue paper from our ears to hear and obey his call. We must confess the “I want it my way” of sin and embrace God’s cleansing and freeing power.

Because each of us has our pet programs that meet our own needs and interests, we can’t bring ourselves to see them change. We sit in our churches with our church friends and wonder why the world doesn’t come to us. But as long as we’re happy, we don’t think about it too much. I will fight tooth and nail to save my pet program or event or meeting from change. This is institutional church at its worst. This is not kingdom of God thinking. But hey, we do church right! The rescue society has become a social club. The Lord’s greatest missionary force is being held hostage by institutionalism and church-ianity inside the church walls. It’s enough to make God weep bitterly in secret.

 

RETURN TO THE CROSS:

We sang the glorious old gospel song at the top of our lungs. It was a heart-felt response to the powerful sermon from the visiting evangelist during fall revival service.

Years I spent in vanity and pride,

Caring not my Lord was crucified,

Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;

Pardon there was multiplied to me;

There my burdened soul found liberty At Calvary.

We had worked hard to pack our pews with those who were lost in sin throughout our community. My mother and I had even gone door-to-door to invite our neighbors. But, as usual, the church was filled exclusively with loyal church members for this Tuesday night gathering of revival week. The preacher had really warmed up tonight and preached a convicting service about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for the whole world. Too bad that none of the lost souls from our town were there to hear it. What could we do but continue to sing at the top of our voices? The frustrations we often felt about our church seemed to disappear in this moment of worship.

By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;

Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,

Till my guilty soul imploring turned To Calvary.

What was she doing? I suddenly became aware that my mother was pushing past me to get into the aisle. “Mom, are you okay?” I asked as I noticed the tears running down her cheeks. She moved quickly to the front of the church and bowed her head onto the evangelist’s shoulder. What could possibly be wrong?

Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus ev’rything,

Now I gladly own Him as my King,

Now my raptured soul can only sing Of Calvary.

The song ended as my heart pounded in my chest. The evangelist stepped forward, his arm around my mother as she faced the congregation. “This dear sister has come forward tonight to say that she has been in this church all her life. But tonight her heart heard the gospel in a fresh, new way. She says she is tired of playing church. She realized tonight that the power of salvation is in her hands. She can share it or hoard it. She commits tonight to share the power of salvation in every way she can with the neighbors on her street. She knows she will have to do this by building relationships with them and serving them. It’s going to be difficult. So she asks you to pray for her to stay in the power of the cross as she makes this effort. Let’s pray right now for this dear sister.”

Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!

Oh, the grace that bro’t it down to man!

Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span At Calvary.

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;

Pardon there was multiplied to me;

There my burdened soul found liberty At Calvary.

GO deep, reach wide!  – Mark Powers

Credit: Hymn – Newell, “At Calvary,” Public Domain/Photo – <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/donnieray/10584676434/”>donnierayjones</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt;

 

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Author: Mark Powers

Director, Worship and Music, South Carolina Baptist Convention, Columbia SC. Author - "GOING FULL CIRCLE: Worship that Moves Us to Discipleship and Missions" - www.GoingFullCircle.org (Resource Publications, Wipf & Stock, Eugene OR, 2013) President, www.WorshipWise.com - Growing Brilliant Worship Leaders . Presenter/Speaker on the MusicArts Mission Movement (M3). To contact MP about presenting or speaking for your conference or training event, e-mail markpowers@scbaptist.org or call 803-227-6166. I would love to come and share how your worship ministries can join God on mission in your community!

2 thoughts on “Do I Make God Cry?

  1. Good word that I needed. A reminder for me to get “I” out of the way and let God guide my way! So guilty so many times as I fight this battle against sin. Thank you Jesus for loving me still! Thank you Mark for sharing!

  2. A:hover { COLOR: red } A { COLOR: #0088cc; TEXT-DECORATION: none } P { MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0px; MARGIN-TOP: 0px }

    Excellent word Mark. So very true. Joe

    Sincerely,

    Joe Youngblood

    Church Health Group Director

    South Carolina Baptist Convention

    D:  803-227-6037

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