I have two things in this post that I would like for us to think about.
First, I preached this past Sunday on Jeremiah's temple sermon as recorded in Jeremiah 7. The basic premise of the text is that the people of Judah are doing some terrible things in their lives. They are incredibly wealthy but they are refusing to help the poor, the widow, and the orphan. They are contributing to a culture of injustice. They are an immoral people but they are still making a regular habit of going to the Temple regularly. We might think that this is a good thing but Jeremiah stands in the doors of the Temple and says that they are just coming in order to gain protection, that they believe that as long as they keep coming to the Temple that God will not punish them. They go to Temple in order to gain immunity, thinking that by doing this that they can have a free pass in all other parts of their lives. I asked a couple questions in my sermon based on the text. First, why do we come to church? Do we come out of a sense of duty or do we come because we think that it will bring us good things in our lives? Or is there a deeper and better reason that we come? Also, I pointed out that we must live authentically in all parts of our lives. This goes with what we talked about in the previous post. If we profess while we are in the Temple or at church to believe in God and pledge to serve him in our lives we have to make sure that we are doing that in all parts of our lives, not just at church but at home, at work, at school, and even when no one else is looking. (Bill Hybels, the Senior Pastor at Willow Creek Church in Chicago, wrote a book awhile back entitled Who You Are When No One's Looking. It's a scary thought for some of us.) The other question I asked in my sermon is who do you look more like when people look at you and see you: do you look more like Jesus or more like the world? Again, I don't always like the answer to that question when I think about my own life.
What are your thoughts about these things?
The second thing I wanted to ask in this post is completely unrelated to the first thing. I am beginning a new sermon series on the Holy Spirit here at Baker Blvd. What is your experience with the Holy Spirit in your own life? And when I ask that, I mean more in terms of what have you been taught about it in your life? Has it been emphasized? Ignored? What role has it played? I am interested to hear your experiences.
Grace and Peace,