An Audience of One

Somewhere recently (sorry, I couldn’t find the citation, even on google) I read that when a pastor preaches, he should imagine he has an audience of one.  In other words, he should not aim to please his congregation, the visitors to his website or the world at large — his only purpose should be to please God.  I’m sure many of them have this in mind, because I have heard more than one minister start his sermon with this verse:

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”  Psalm 19:14

It occurs to me that this advice is sound for all of us, not only pastors.  We should all be living our lives this way– and not just the words that come our of our mouth, but our behavior.  Too often we’re people pleasers.  We don’t want to offend.  We don’t want to make others angry or stir up controversy.  We don’t want to sound judgemental.  We try to be “politically correct.”  We worry about whether our friends on Facebook or our twitter followers will desert us.  We want to fit in.  We want others to like us.  We want to be admired in the workplace.  We allow these feelings to influence us, and that may mean we keep quiet when we should speak up.  We tone down the Gospel.  We do or say things we know to be wrong to avoid looking prudish. We want our worldly audience to think well of us.

I’m not advocating beating others over the head with the Bible or behaving in ways that imply we’re better than they are (we’re not–we just know we’re bad!)  We can speak the truth in love, gently and respectfully, but once we know the truth we must be willing to speak it and live it.  Play to your audience.  He’s the only One who counts.

“So whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

 

Resting In Nature

Psalm 19

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth

Some people feel God most strongly in the beauty of His creation.  The mountains, the ocean, the night sky — these things speak to us of the greatness of God, and the smallness of mankind.   When we lose ourselves in nature, we feel surrounded by God’s power and we can rest in it.  There is a feeling of safety and protection.  The Ruler of the Universe, the One Who made everything is in control.  We don’t have to worry.

Last week my husband and I went on a road trip.  We drove the entire Skyline Drive, something we had never done before.  I’m not really a mountain person (I prefer the beach) and I don’t usually enjoy “taking a ride” for relaxation,  but I decided this was going to be a time of rest;  not just a rest from the daily routine, but a rest in the wonders of God’s world.  Usually I read in the car, but this time I deliberately used the time to LOOK.  When you do this, you find God all around.  He’s in the deep dark night and the sunrise;  in the dappled red and gold foliage;  in the deer and the squirrels and the people admiring it all.  You just have to slow down and pay attention.

In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul tells us:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:18-20

There is no excuse.  God has made Himself plain to everyone.  You can see Him in His creation.  You don’t have to drive the Skyline Drive or travel to the beach– you can walk around your neighborhood, or go to the park.  You can step outside at daybreak or sunset.  Then just LOOK — and know that you can rest in Him.

 

 

Film Review — The Case for Creation by Lee Strobel

In this documentary Lee Strobel investigates the scientific evidence for Creation, i.e. intelligent design.  As a teenager, Strobel became convinced that the theory of evolution was correct after studying an experiment conducted by Stanley Miller in 1953.  Miller was able to produce amino acids (the building blocks of life) by sending an electrical charge through a flask of methane, ammonia, hydrogen and water(assumed to be the original atmosphere of earth).  This experiment has since been discredited as scientists now believe the combination of gases was incorrect.

After becoming a Christian, Strobel embarked upon twenty years of study of the scientific evidence supporting evolution.  After interviewing reputable scientists in many fields of study he came to the conclusion that science supports the case for a Creator.

There are many reasons, and I can’t possibly go into enough detail to explain them in a post.  However, I will list a few of the things Mr. Strobel bases his beliefs upon:

  1. There is no fossil record of small, transitional changes in animal life — the “missing links” that Darwin supposes would be present as part of the evolutionary process.
  2. In fact, there is a phenomena called “the Cambrian explosion,”  a period when most of the animal forms presently in existence suddenly appeared.
  3. Einstein’s theories and the Hubble microscope have revealed that the universe is expanding — the implication of this is that there was an absolute beginning.
  4. Physics has discovered that all matter is governed by certain laws and in order for life to exist, over 30 of these laws must be “fine-tuned” to specific parameters.  The possibility that this happened randomly is virtually nil.
  5. The cell, which is the basic unit of life is far from simple.  Human beings have trillions of cells that must work together to maintain life.
  6. Many biological structures are irreducibly complex, in other words, they have multiple component parts which are all needed in order to function.  They could not have evolved separately.

There is much more in the film.  The bottom line is, according to Strobel, science leads us to God.  The arguments were easy to follow and convincing.  If you’re like me, you’ll learn some things by watching this.  I definitely recommend it as a resource for churches and individuals.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.  Psalm 19:1