Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Are We Horizontal or Vertical in Our Faith?

2 Timothy 3:1-5

1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

IMG_0301Church people often don’t like to hear that we are sinners – I know I don’t like to be reminded of it – yet here is a scripture that reminds us that in the end times people will be lovers of many things other than God. If we aren’t reminded of our sinfulness and the grace of God that overcomes that sinfulness – we might just fall into the trap of thinking that we are OK just as we are and God’s grace will cover it all. God’s grace does cover it all – for those who repent and seek after Him – but I would never preach that all we need to do is say a prayer and God covers it all. There needs to be a heart change – a heart change that causes a life change. Faith without works is dead – says Jesus’ brother James (James 2:26).

On Sunday morning – at both the 8:15 & 11:00 am service – we will begin our 2nd Annual Pre-Lenten Revival. The revival will continue on Sunday evening at 7 pm and each night through Wednesday night – Ash Wednesday – at 7 pm. This year we will conclude the revival on Sunday – February 22nd. Plan now to attend. Plan now to invite someone to our awesome worship services. It is a great time to invite folks that already attend another church on Sunday mornings but might like to visit your church. Invite someone today and each day this week.

All this week the devotional thoughts will center on revival. I can remember – from my childhood days – attending sawdust camp meetings and revivals – all over tri-state area (Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia). Although there won’t be any sawdust – we are praying for a great movement of the Holy Spirit on our church family and all who attend. I pray that many will come to know Jesus and many will be revived in their faith.

Today’s passage – from 2 Timothy 3:1-5 – reads – 1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

It is very easy to take the attitude that these are the unchurched folks – the lost – but I believe we can all slide into this thinking if we are not careful. I find myself – from time-to-time – thinking about my desires – my family treasures – how much money I make or don’t make – and spend way too much time on these items. I’m not saying it is bad to plan or budget or take care of our family or our future – but at times they can become overwhelming thoughts and we push aside our time with God and God’s Word – if we are not careful.

In talking with a group from the church – we mentioned the difference between horizontal people and vertical people. Horizontal people tend to view things around them and compare their lives with how others around them are doing. Spiritually this could lead to complacency as we believe we are doing well enough – based on those around us – and don’t see the need to strive forward anymore. Vertical people tend to compare their lives with what is above them and strive to achieve what is ahead of them. Spiritually this could be Jesus or our higher power and vertical thinking would compel us to strive to be more like Jesus or our higher power. Our theology is that we are to strive to be more like Jesus and trust that when we fail/sin – God’s grace will cover it. I’m not convinced that God’s grace is available to those who are horizontal in their faith – simply being comfortable with a measure or taste of faith rather than striving to be all they can be in Christ. A scripture about spewing or casting folks out of God’s mouth or presence comes to mind for those who are lukewarm (Revelation 3:16).

During our revival we will breaking down 2 Chronicles 7:14 – if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. If we truly seek after Christ and strive to be like Him – having a horizontal faith – seeking Him with our whole being – minds – souls – and bodies – we will be welcomed by Christ and forgiven when we fail. We are called to love God with our all – Luke 10:27 – He answered, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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February 11, 2015 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Good piece. Thanks. There is an aversion to the word “sin” and yet the first words out of Jesus’ mouth was “Repent.” We repent of what? Sin! That’s the starting point. I suppose that some preachers and churches are stuck on sin, forgetting its the starting point, while other churches ignore it completely. The second part? Believe the good news. The good news is Jesus, who came to take away our sins. The vertical on the horizontal. Well said, Ray!

    Like

    Comment by Favorite Son | February 11, 2015 | Reply

    • Thanks Favorite Son – long time no read – love your comments – glad to know you are still reading the blog. Love your pictures on FB – those eagles are awesome.

      You’re correct – folks don’t like to hear about their sin – they would rather hear how well their doing – but as well as we are doing – if we are not working on removing sin from our lives – we are not striving to represent Jesus well for sure. Grace covers our failures – but we need to be striving…

      Like

      Comment by raymcdonald | February 11, 2015 | Reply


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