“Giving Himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God's side and put your lives together, whole and holy in His presence. You don't walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted.” (Colossians 1:21, The Message [TM]) As we close out the gift of another life year, I continue to be somberly reflective at the growing number of “believers” that are choosing to walk away from God and His Church. A 2004 study found that “the Church is losing 7,600 (estimated) a day in Europe and North America combined…that means that every week, more than 53,000 people leave church and never come back!" This should serve as a sobering Wake Up call for God’s Church today (Romans 13:11-14) as I believe it to be a prophetic indication of the prophecy of Matthew 24:10 which says that “many will turn away from Me.” (NLT) As disheartening as this is, it is not a new trend (“there is nothing new under the sun” Ecclesiastes 1:9), only one that is expanding more rapidly in these Last Days before Christ’ return. God saw His chosen people, Israel, follow the same pattern of waywardness as He addressed this same issue with them through the prophet Jeremiah, “My people, you abandoned Me and walked away.” (Jeremiah 15:6, CEV) So how do WE avoid becoming a part of this statistic ourselves? By “guard(ing) your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” (Proverbs 4:23, HCSB) Most of those who have walked away, when fully honest with themselves and God, share that this turn did not happen all at once – it was progressive. The reasons for the turn run aplenty, but the end result is the same: the freewill choice to walk away from God and His gift of spiritual family (ekklesia, His body – His Church) and the resolve to journey throughthis life on your own. As a shepherd of the Lord, I have encountered this most tragic statistic in the domain of reality – with real people, some of whom we have known & have journeyed together with for years and others who you meet along life’s journey that have chosen to travel the same path away from God. Today’s reflection is not one of condemnation or judgment, but one shared in brokenness over the loss of sojourners from one of the greatest blessings we have – the honor to be able to climb the mountain of God in community together (Exodus 24:13, ‘with our spiritual family’). As we approach a new life year in 2010, I challenge each of us to spend some time renewing our walk with Christ – dig deeper into His Word; trust His promises; nJoy the gift of ekklesia that we all have in being a valuable member of His body; commit to guarding your heart and take comfort in knowing that no matter where you are or what you have been through, God promises us that He “will never walk away from His people, never desert His precious people.” (Psalms 94:12, TM) Let's commit afresh to climb the mountain of God ... together! …Selah!
Today's CCM video can be viewed upon clicking the title of the song, "Mountain of God" by Third Day