On A Clear Day, You Can See Forever

There can be no doubt that the effort to clean up the air quality in Southern California since the 1960s has resulted in much cleaner air. One needs only visit one of the third world megacities, such as Manila, where the air not only is thick like smoke but stinks like…well, like the San Gabriel Valley in the 1960s! And now we have the crashing success of the “cash for clunkers” program. This will clean up the air more, if only because the new cars will be going further (10 miles per gallon) on the same amount of gas. maserati.jpg I heard of a car dealer in Golden, Co. who took in a 1985 Maserati with 18,000 miles in the program. The man was happy to get $3500 for his car that was pristine wood and leather interior but frustrated him because “it didn’t run quite right.” Trading in a clunker for credit towards a brand new car, of course, means that one now has to lay out a large amount of money to get a credit which is just a portion of the outlay. What is it that would make us jump at cash-for-clunkers but prevents us from trading in our bad habits and broken down lifestyles when the real cost to us is negligible in comparison to the benefits of new life.

It is a fact of this movement called “Contemporary Christianity” (which started up around the same time as air got really dirty in Southern California) that most adults who become a part of it do not change the basic way they live or how they deal with problems or how they “have fun.” Most merely “add” attendance to Contemporary Church services and participation in the programs and go on in their struggles to find salvation.

One of the primary problems is that God cannot be seen clearly for who He is through much of the Spiritual polution (also called corruption when wer’re not working a metaphor!) that can even permeate the church walls. Here is what I mean to say: the truth that is suppressed about God (Romans 1:18) and replaced by falsehood (Ro 1:21) is not just doctrinal truth about God, it is the personal truth of Who God Is. This “dark air” clouds out God and allows all sorts of polution to keep us sickly and broken down even though we know OF the Living God, through second hand telling and teaching, and from our chorus song lyrics. I’m convinced that if we could see God clearly, His righteousness and His true plans for our lives, we would let Him change us on a day-to-day basis.

Many today say that we need to have a “church without walls”, meaning that the community of faith needs to go out into the world and be more connected to spread the gospel. I disagree. The community of faith needs thicker walls. Not to keep the faithful in and hiding, but to keep our natural thinking and ways of acting out long enough for the air to clear and the Glory of God to be seen so that we will want to trade in our adulterous, murderous, pleasure-filled ways of life for something better. Something that maybe the broader community would want if they truly saw someone transforming before their eyes into a more loving, caring, giving, person. In a word, a more “faithful” person.

Our summer messages, starting with the seven deadly sins, have uncovered the dynamics of personal choice, according to the Apostle Paul, which determines more than anything else what types of choices we are going to make for ourselves or to please God. We hope you listen and find them helpful. We encourage you to struggle against sin and compromise in your life and let the Holy Spirit lead you to the choices that please and honor our Heavenly Father.

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