I didn't buy much when I was in Hong Kong at the "Grace and Glory!" Conference but I did buy one highly recommended book called "Freedom from the Religious Spirit" edited by C Peter Wagner. I've been reading and feeling quite undone by it but one quote in particular caught my eye. I've posted it on the quotes blog here, but it must be read again and again so here it is;
"For some people it seems easier to "die for the Lord" than to live for Him. Those who have a perverted understanding of the Cross glory more in death than they do in life. They fail to see that the point of the Cross is resurrection, not the grave".
I am very familiar with this understanding of the Cross that is so perverted. I remember when talk in church used to be of vision and hope for the future and then we began to speak of struggling through this weary life and looking to cross the old River Jordan and reach our eternal rest. "Pilgrims in this barren land". This barren land?! This world which God created for our pleasure and has an oath over it that one day it will be covered with the glory of the Lord! I've said it before - let's not allow our experience to shape how we read the Word of God. Let the Word of God shape our experience and our vision.
Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones puts it much better;
"I feel that the message that God is giving to us in this conference is in the words of Malachi. I believe He is saying this to us: 'Prove me now' - 'Prove Me. I am there; you prove Me.' This has become a tremendous conviction with me ... We must not be content until we have had some manifestation of the activity of God. We must concentrate on this. This is my plea, that we concentrate on this, because it is the great message of the Bible, so substantiated by the lessons of history. That is obviously today the only thing that gives us any hope as we face the future. And God seems to be saying that to us. 'Prove Me now. Try Me. Risk your everything on Me. Be fools for My sake. Cast yourselves utterly upon this belief.' Let us put it like this: Do we really believe that God can still act?
That is the question; that is the ultimate challenge. Or have we, for theological or some other reasons, excluded the very possibility? Here is the crucial matter. Do we individually and personally really believe that God still acts, can act and will act - in individuals, in groups of individuals, in churches, localities, perhaps even in countries? Do we believe that He is as capable of doing that today as He was in ancient times - the Old Testament, the New Testament times, the book of Acts, Protestant Reformation, Puritans, Methodist Awakening, 1859, 1904-5? Do we really believe that He can still do it?".
I'm about to leave now for work. What world-view will affect the way I face the day? Do I face it with confident assured hope that my God rules the universe and is progressively manifesting Himself in glory and power at the climax of the consummation of the ages? Or do I allow a warped view of the Cross to make me sigh and think "just another day nearer to heaven"!? God is saying "Prove Me now. Try Me. Risk your everything on Me. Be fools for My sake. Cast yourselves utterly upon this belief". God's alive! And He acts! And speaks! And moves! And intervenes!