We were blessed last night to have Pastor Jim Cymbala of The Brooklyn Tabernacle at our church. He spoke to pastors and church leaders at a luncheon that day. Marvelous word. He then taught in preparation of a time of prayer for Buffalo and the upcoming Franklin Graham Festival called Rock the Lakes. What a wonderful time we had as the church in Western New York.
Pastor Cymbala pointed out that the time when men first "called on the Name of the Lord" pre-dated the Scriptures, or the Jews, or the covenant. The primal cry was first felt by people who were prompted by the Spirit of God alone. And as the revelation of God expanded, He has used diverse ways to speak to us, including the prophets, the Scriptures and ultimately His Son. No one can say that God has not spoken clearly and demonstrated His love for us through Jesus Christ.
But the fatal flaw in our faith is that with all the teaching that is done (and obviously I believe in teaching) we fail to understand that the flaw for most of us has to do with that primal practice that God used in the beginning. When Jesus called His disciples, the primary task He gave them was not preaching, although He sent them out. It was not to do miracles, even though they were given authority to do so and did it. The primary thing He wanted from them was to be with Him. Know Him, listen to Him, spend time with Him. And then He would work through them in some way or work on their behalf.
I hear all the time that people say they need more teaching. But if we would be honest, we don't live up to the teaching we have already received. The fatal flaw is that we will not take the time to allow THE teacher, the Holy Spirit of God to teach us. We don't take that primal time to be quiet with God, our Bible, personal worship, and just plain listening, to just be with Him and hear what He has to say. We run around doing so much, feeling good about all our accomplishments. But Him we do not know. We know about Him but we don't know Him. We are like the Israelites when they told Moses to speak to God on their behalf and then tell them what He says, but don't let Him speak to us directly or we may die. What are we afraid of? Why do we avoid taking time to be with Him?
We as a church and I personally am on a journey of knowing Him better. We are setting more times and ways to be primal in our experience. Teaching, yes, we will always be seeking to teach well. But we need to seek the face of God corporately. If we don't meet with God and point people to Him more teaching will simply deceive us into self-righteousness when what we need is the power of God. That desperate need was demonstrated by Pastor Cymbala last night. After telling the story of his daughter's waywardness, the altar was filled with parents whose hearts told them that more teaching and talk will not bring their kids home. Only the power of God will accomplish that.
Join me in the journey. He wants us to KNOW Him. And in the process He will guide us into all truth.