Me, Elf, and the Almost Christian

Pastor Michelle’s started her sermon by saying that I had inspired it, and what good Christian wouldn’t want to inspire a sermon? Of course in almost Jon Acuff style the sermon turned out to be about almost Christians. I don’t know if Pastor Michelle had me in mind for the whole thing, but if she did I don’t think she would have been completely wrong.

She started off talking about Elf (a character I closely resemble and played in rather hilarious Christmas skit). For a brief primer on the story, the main character is a orphan who stows away in Santa’s bag. Once he’s discovered at the north pole and they realize that he’s an orphan one of the elves volunteers to become his father. This is all fine and dandy till he starts to grow and grow and grow, eventually he realizes that he’s not an elf, so he makes his way to where his biological father lives, NYC. And even though Elf is now where he naturally belongs, he still doesn’t fit in, because he’s spent to long at the North Pole.

Elf’s predicament, is the same predicament the Almost Christian finds himself. Not of this world and not of Christ’s. Caught in an uncomfortable place. The Almost Christian appears to be a Christian in every way, they go to Church, they sing loud and proud, they are generous and ethical. To the natural eye they are a Christian, but God’s eye sees their heart. And the Almost Christian’s heart is far from God. They are ethical and generous because it’s the right thing to do. They go to Church and worship God because it’s the right thing to do. All that’s fine and dandy and those things are right and good, but the Almost Christian treats them as an end in themselves, the tools of their own righteousness. In the face of pressure or when it’s no longer culturally acceptable the Almost Christian will abandon his ethics in his best effort to fit in, much like Elf.

What then is a Christian? Three things differentiate a Christian from an Almost Christian.

  1. They have an all consuming love of God – Who do I have in heaven and earth but You?! Anything that anchors your heart to this world, pulls you away from Christ.
  2. They are driven by Faith. Intellectual belief is not enough. Our minds can change, what we know as facts can change, but the truth remains.
  3. They have an intimate relationship. The revelation of the gospel is that because of Jesus’ sacrifice we may have an intimate relationship with God.
In short real Christianity is complete surrender to God’s will. What motivates you? What makes you happy? Is it really God? As I started out, whether I truly inspired all of Pastor Michelle’s sermon or not, I can definitely see parts (or more than parts) of my life that still fall into the Almost Christian category. The difference perhaps is that I know that, where I am now is not the end, but merely another step down the path that God has laid out for me, path that ends love, faith, and intimate relationship with Christ. The path isn’t always easy or comfortable, but as the Holy Spirit prods my stubborn heart via Pastor Michelle’s sermons 🙂 I know that one day I’ll get there. And what an awesome day that will be!

 

A Remnant is Rising in the Land

We read this in church last Sunday.

A Remnant is Rising in the Land.

Unseen, unrecognized, they know Whose they are and have died to this present world’s ambitions. They want nothing of a consumer Christianity, where God exists for their earthly pleasure. They have caught a whiff of Heaven’s fragrant food, and just the smell has satisfied them more than the sweetest delicacies of this passing age, and motivates them to remember that they are just passing through.

 

A Remnant is Rising in the Land.
They will not be bought or sold with position or money. They are remembering why they “got into this” in the first place – for the Lamb. For Jesus Christ’s honor, for the sake of His worthy name. Their backbones are being steeled in the furnace of affliction, and purified of contemporary dross. They are old-school, hard-core Jesus freaks, and they are not apologizing for it. The remnant is not ashamed!

 

A Remnant is Rising in the Land.
They are blood-bought,and fiercely committed to the Word – the Logos and the Rhema. Something within them stirs because they know they are here on a kairos assignment. They realize that they may have forgotten that for a moment, been diverted off the path for some years, but like soldiers who remember drills from long ago, they are coming to attention and position and awareness. They are here on purpose. They are necessary to Heaven’s narrative. They are not bystanders. They are the players on the stage of His-story.

 

A Remnant is Rising in the Land.
This army is realizing they never should have eaten Babylon’s food in the first place, even if it was served in halls decorated to look like a cheap imitation of Zion. They would rather be pilgrims than settle. They would rather be fools for Christ than wise in the world’s eyes. They would rather be known in Heaven and feared in Hell than recognized on earth. Whatever happens to them in the world really doesn’t matter. They have locked gazes with the Lamb’s eyes, and locked step with the cadence of Heaven’s march. His remnant understand that this is the Final Act and there is no turning back now.

 

A Remnant is Rising in the Land.
They are nowhere to be seen and everywhere to be found. There are very few of them chosen, and a great host of them who will emerge. It’s going to be very, very intense, for the sword they carry is stained with the blood of their lesser desires and their crucified carnality. They’ve had their battles, faced their own personal Valleys of Decision, and made their choice.

 

I have Decided. To Follow Jesus. No Turning Back. We have decided. Have you decided?
Ready or not, here they come.

From Elijah List by Rob Sterns

Dreams…

I haven’t been too faithful lately to record my dreams, in part because of the chaotic nature of some of them, but regardless, I’m going to ask for forgiveness and try to catch you all up on my last several dreams in one gigantic post. 🙂 To the best of my recollection, this is the order that the dreams occurred in.

The first in a series of really chaotic dreams was one where Ari and I were racing all around to try and buy supplies for a missions trip. That’s all I can really remember.

The second dream we were sitting in my mom’s house trying to find a way into Africa. This lady was there who pioneered going to Africa, so we showed her the map and she says, “There’s a river right there,” and proceeded to draw it on my map. Naturally, I’m like “wait that wasn’t on the map” and she responds, “I’ve seen it.”

Last of the chaotic dreams was one where we were in England in what seemed like a video game. We would cross bridge after bridge in search of the crown jewels, but each time we did, the game changed a little bit. Finally we got to the end and I woke up.

Somewhere in between was a really cool dream. I was climbing up a mountain that was lush and really green, almost cartoony green. As I’m climbing, I get lifted up to a really high place in the sky where I can look down and recognize the place where I had been climbing, but I could also see the area as a whole. It turns out that I was scaling the outside of a Google logo (where each letter is an island in the sea). Just as quick I’m lowered back down to the inside of the letter I had been climbing all the way to the inside of our church which for some reason was now on this island. PM was there and a few others I didn’t recognize. She had to go take care of something, so she asked me to do something. While she’s away and I’m doing whatever, this guy comes up and I recognize him as the owner of the islands. Somehow I knew that PJ had really been wanting to buy this island with a really high mountain right in the middle of the other islands. I tried stalling the owner at first hoping PJ would be back in time to talk to him. I told the guy about PJ’s plans and he seemed to like them and even gave me the price on what it would cost to rent the place ($845). In the end the owner had to go, but I promised to pass on the info to PJ. After that I walked around the island a bit before waking up.

Weird huh?