The topic of this time was the Lord's recovery of His Building.
Here's a tidbit of what I enjoyed - Our hearts can be very complex, because our living is very complex, and some times (or rather most of the times) our complex living causes us to lose sight of why we are really here on earth. I have somehow entered that kind of condition, and this weekend was very timely in bringing me back. Did you know that our God is a homeless God? Isaiah 66:1 says "Thus says Jehovah, Heaven is My throne, And the earth the footstool for My feet. Where then is the house that you will build for Me, And where is the place of My rest?" Isn't this striking? Even the lowest king on earth probably had a throne and a footstool. He probably also had a house where he can rest and dwell. But God Himself, the greatest and the highest One in the universe, asks, "Where is the place of My rest?"
What the Lord is after today is His house, His dwelling place. Speaking of a house, what is a house exactly? It's not just a rectangular formation of bricks that surround a space that contains your bed, your desk, your fridge, and your furniture. In fact, it's a place where you can throw up your feet on the couch and nobody can say anything. It's a place where you can have your bed upside down, and nobody cares. It's a place where you can be you. It's a place that expresses who you are. So, when we say that God is looking for His house, we are likewise saying that God is looking for a place where He can have the final say in the arrangements to fully express who He is.
So, what is His house? Christians throughout the centuries have had this desire to build something for God. King David is referred to by the Psalmists in Psalm 132 "How he swore to Jehovah and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob: I shall not go into the tent of my house; I shall not go up onto the couch of my bed; I shall not give sleep to my eyes, slumber to my eyelids; Until I find a place for Jehovah." What a sweet prayer. I was very touched by this verse, and a song that was written from this verse that we sang during the time:
- Recall how David swore,
"I'll not come into my house,
Nor go up to my bed,
Give slumber to mine eyelids,
Until I find a place for Thee,
A place, O Lord, for Thee."
Our mighty God desires a home
Where all His own may come.
- How blinded we have been,
Shut in with what concerns us;
While God's house lieth waste—
Lord, break through, overturn us;
We'll go up to the mountain,
Bring wood and build the house;
We'll never say, "Another day!"
It's time! We'll come and build!
- O Lord, against these days,
Inspire some for Your building,
Just as in Ezra's day—
A remnant who are willing
To come and work in Your house,
Oh, what a blessed charge!
Your heart's desire, is our desire—
We come, O Lord, to build.
- Within those whom You'd call
Put such a restless caring
For building to give all—
These times are for preparing;
The gates of hell cannot prevail
Against the builded Church!
The hours are few, the builders too—
Lord, build, O build in us!
(Repeat the last four lines)
Anyhow, as I was saying, Christians throughout the centuries have been wanting to build a house for God, and in good intention, built beautiful cathedrals that tower above the skies with jaw-dropping features and stained-glass. But is that really God's house? Isaiah 66:2 says "But this kind of man will I look, to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word."
What God is after today is not a physical building, but man. In fact, Ephesians 3:17 says "That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith." God, who is homeless, is knocking in the door of my heart, asking for us to let him in. What is our heart? You can say that our heart is composed of our conscience, mind, emotion, and will. Our mind, emotion, and will are the faculties of man's soul that expresses man. Man thinks about something, loves that something, and chooses to do that something. Well, does God have the final say in your thoughts, feelings, and intentions?
To be honest, I was very much exposed how much I'm consider just myself, myself, myself, and become too busy to think about God's need, God's longing, and God's purpose. Well, I guess to kind of cap off the topic, I just want to repeat some practical application points some of the brothers shared:
To start off, here is a principle - the amount of heart-space a particular person of thing occupies, hinges upon the time spent on that particular person/thing. If you spend time playing, thinking, talking about basketball, your heart is full of basketball. I was encouraged and reminded, this last weekend, that I need to spend time with God!
Here are some practical ways you can give God more space in your heart: (1) consider your ways - confess your sins. You know, David had a heart to build a temple for God, but he wasn't able to build it. It was his son, Solomon, who became the one to build the temple. Do you know how Solomon came about? Here's the divine equation: man's transgression + man's repentance + God's forgiveness = Solomon, who built the temple. Nothing of ourselves can build God's house. (2) spend time in the Word! The word is where God resides, and you are sure to find Him there! After the children of Israel returned from captivity in Babylon, they needed a reconstitution of the Babylonian mindset, culture, tastebuds, and living. Ezra, a scribe that was skillful with the Word of God, was able to lead such a recovery in constitution.
Anyhow, we not only listened to brothers sharing, but also had a variety of activities - the weather was good enough to play ultimate frisbee, football, and volleyball. I really wish someone would post pics of that time. I would love to see them.
Another matter that I really enjoyed, was the singing and the exercise of our entire being - body, soul, and spirit - to enjoy the Lord and love the Lord (Mark 12:30)..
And I heard some rumors, that there could be another Kankakee some time this academic year. Awesome!