Tuesday, March 26, 2013
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I'll never forget those early morning seminars in Haiti. We were in Port-au-Prince, the capital city, and we were doing a youth crusade there. Every morning at 6:00 a.m. they offered four seminars in the National Gymnasium to any teenagers who wanted to come. Did I mention 6:00 a.m.?
First of all, I was amazed at how many teenagers showed up. They met in the balcony of the gym in one of the corners with their leader. So, four corners - four leaders, four teachers. They had to sit on solid concrete steps that formed the benches for seating up there. They asked me to do a two-hour seminar. (Tell a speaker to please do a two-hour seminar, he's got no problem; it's the five minutes that's hard...like this program.) So, for two hours I taught teenagers the Bible. They took notes; they asked questions. Would you believe I was the first one to let out? The other three seminars were still going on. What do you think those teenagers did? They ran, each of them, to another corner hoping they might be able to catch a little bit of another seminar before it ended. I had just met believers who couldn't get enough! Just like us, right? Not necessarily.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Streamlined Spirituality."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 5:6. Jesus talks about appetite. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." Jesus seems to be saying, "Satisfied people are those who have a hearty spiritual appetite. You want the restlessness in your heart to be cured? Then have a great spiritual appetite; be hungry for spiritual things." That's a sign of health, right - appetite?
Our appetite is often in stark contrast with the rest of God's kids around the world who can't wait to get more. My pastor went to India. He was told, "Be sure you speak for at least an hour." He said, "No problem." But we live in like this microwave society. Everything has to be quick and instant. "Boy, you had better be done speaking by noon, Buddy, because I think God goes off duty then. Twenty-minute message, please. Thirty-minute message please. That's all we can handle."
We try to see what the minimum number of Christian meetings is we can get to a week. Could we get this down to just Sunday morning, and could we get it down to maybe sixty minutes at most?" Maybe we could have one-minute devotions. I could just pull a quick little devotional off the shelf and I want it not to be more than one page, and I want it to be pre-packaged, and I'd like to get through it fast.
Instead of taking leadership in Christian service, could I just write a check? You see what we've done? We've created a streamlined spirituality; a minimal commitment of time; a minimal commitment of me. "Let's go through the motions. I'll meet my obligations. I'll do my duty and then I'll get on with the stuff that really matters."
Can you imagine a couple in love saying, "Hey, can we keep our time together short." No! When you're in love you can't get enough of the other person. I wonder, "Have we left our first love for Jesus?" Well, check your appetite. If you're trying to fit church, and Bible, and prayer, and service into the tightest possible time slots, maybe it's time to go for a check-up for a cold, cold heart.
David said in Psalm 42, "Where can I go and meet with God? My heart pants for the Lord." Is it time to say, "Lord, give me an insatiable appetite for You"? Maybe you'll want to un-streamline the God time in your life and grow beyond the point of "How short can we make this?" And grow to the point where you can say, "Lord, I can't get enough of You."