Home > Commentary, Life Thoughts > Failing Through the Cracks

Failing Through the Cracks

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Last week I wrote a post about the Cracks in the Church based on some initial study of the book of Jude.  The group of men that I meet with on Wednesday nights has just completed our second week of studying that book.  Our first week was spent just reading the book every day for a week and this week’s assignment was to research the background on this epistle from Jude.

Based on this part of the study I wanted to add to my thoughts on how false teachers can sneak into a church unnoticed.  I want you to think on these things:

  • The letter was written around 68-70 AD.
  • It was most likely written to a predominantly Jewish audience.

That may not seem like much in the way of earth-shattering news but consider that 68-70 AD was a time of great strife in the lives of the Jews and especially Jewish Christians.  For hundreds of years, the children of Israel had been waiting on a Messiah that they believed would build a physical kingdom.  God’s chosen people were tiring of the Roman rule that placed restrictions on their faith, taxed them beyond their means, and, in some cases, exiled portions of their population.  The years of 68-70 AD were years that there was a conflict, a war, being waged between the Jewish people and Rome.  Stack on top of that a famine and starvation and we have a political tender box.

Put yourself into the shoes of those Jews who had given their lives to the cause of Christ – who were looking for this new kingdom that all the apostles were preaching about.  They had linked themselves to a group of fanatics that had been persecuted by the Jewish leaders for decades and who were garnering suspicions from the Roman rulers.  What would it have been like to be starving, poor and doubly rejected by society from both your own race and the Gentile government?

I wonder if they felt some despair.  I wonder if they started having second thoughts about this path that they had chosen that at one point they were so sure about.  Maybe they started doubting like John the Baptist had when he found himself sitting in a prison.  The dream of the physical kingdom was lost.  The hope of a spiritual kingdom promised by the apostles was starting to look more like a mirage than an actuality.  Desperation is a dangerous crack that can cause huge failings within the church body.  When the focus shifts from the Author of faith and instead fixes on circumstances that appear to be too daunting to overcome, it isn’t hard to imagine people panicking and reaching for anything that will buoy them up in the raging storm waters that they find themselves in.

Even a false doctrine that offers an immediate promise of unsubstantiated hope can look like the real thing.  Don’t think that is the case?  Look around the faith community and consider how many people follow a health-and-wealth prosperity message that offers hope in this life to those who will take a step in faith and send in their ‘seed’ money.  It is a message that looks like a gospel lottery – a buck here and a buck there will give you a chance at greater material rewards, better relationships, the removal of sickness, in short, the perfect life.  Who follows this type of message?  The desperate – those whose eyes have focused on the circumstances of life instead of the Author.

This is not a crack that we need to be concerned about falling through.  No.  It is a crack by which we need to be on guard not to fail through.

We should all consider those things that could tempt us to desperation.

Is it failing health? Or the loss of a job? Maybe it is relationships gone sour.  Or a broken marriage.  Maybe it’s a rebellious child.

How about you? How do you guard against the desperation that could steal your eyes from source of truth and instead fix them on a shallow replacement?

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  1. May 27, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Tony,
    Man, you are a deep thinker and studier, and that makes you a vital desciple of Christ, okay, fluff over. I agree again totally with you, I feel God doesnt want us to give a gift with expectations of something in return, because that makes it no longer a gift, but a payment of services to come. God is noy in the business of meking forls rich because i=of their acts, but there are ment Christian ideologies that would disagree with me on that. We have to look at the goal here, a home in Heaven, to encourage and nurture others to follow that path, and to realize we are entitled only to our daily bread, God Bless Bro
    Jim

    • May 27, 2010 at 7:45 am

      Few typos, must be really tired, sorrry

  2. May 27, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Hmmm, great perspective. The gospel of feelings and money seem to be cracks for me to fail in. Love your words here “When the focus shifts from the Author of faith and instead fixes on circumstances “. Thanks for the reminder to stay on guard by fixing my eyes the unseen. Thanks

  3. Ike
    May 27, 2010 at 3:59 pm

  4. Ike
    May 27, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Oops….sorry Tony….I only mean’t to give the link…..sorry!!!

    • May 27, 2010 at 10:54 pm

      No need to apologize, Ike.. I have enjoyed several of Paul Washer’s videos and I look forward to watching this one.

      🙂

  5. May 27, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    This is not a crack that we need to be concerned about falling through. No. It is a crack by which we need to be on guard not to fail through.

    Whew…dude that is some awesome stuff.

    by the way, love the iphone notes background.

    • May 27, 2010 at 10:57 pm

      Thanks, Michael. I can only give credit to God’s word as it has been the inspiration for these and other thoughts. I am continually surprised by how much fun it is to dig into the different epistles. It is all the more rewarding to be going through Jude with the dudes that make up the men’s group that I belong to.

  6. May 27, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    A twitter friend, who is also a pastor, gave a sermon last Wednesday called Unseasonable Prayer. He started out with a story he heard as a young man from a pastor. God is not a genie in a bottle. He is not something we take down off the shelf & rub real hard & “hope” for my wish to be granted. My God is more selfless than I can even imagine, let alone ever have. But, I am learning to do the best I can while on this Earth. More selflessly. That really fills my spirit & I just have to share that fullness with others around me.

    I am so tempted with desperation right now. Lost 2 jobs due to my addiction. Was laid off from the last one due to financial concerns (nothing to do with my addiction since I have been clean almost 3 years). In severe financial trouble. Feel a little lost. I feel like I’m losing a battle & I fiercely do not want to give in or up.

    In my addiction I had such irrational thinking that seemed at the time! I did things I could never have imagined me doing! All in desperation. Obsessed with getting more drugs. It was all consuming. Life around me went on, but I was just that warm body. Not participating. I’m having some of those same feelings. Not about drugs, but money. I feel it is my fault. If I was working. We wouldn’t be in such a crunch. If I hadn’t stolen drugs. We wouldn’t be in WA. So many what ifs that I seem to hold onto! Doggone it!

    I know where my solution lies. I know what surrender & powerlessness is. I know it takes action from me. I want life to be “normal” again. I have learned a lot in this season, but I want to be at the end. Ooops, there’s that self-centered human talking again! I am so ready to start the next chapter in my life. I cannot leave addiction behind. Ever. I never want to be there again! Sorry if I kinda rambled. 🙂

    • May 27, 2010 at 11:08 pm

      You haven’t rambled at all. You have shared your heart with those of us who will be blessed to read the words you have left here.

      I have to admire how much strength it must have taken to face your addictions and to allow God to move in them. I pray that the same strength helps you through this current season in life that you are facing.

      Sometimes having the head knowledge (knowing something) needs to be tested in application and become heart knowledge (faith experienced). Those can be some of the hardest things for us to go through.

      I will encourage you with the same words that Jude used to encourage the people that he was writing to:

      Earnestly Contend for the Faith.

      Fight for it. Don’t give up. You have God in your corner. Paul would say, “The Lord is Near”

      You are in my prayers.

      • May 28, 2010 at 3:58 am

        Earnestly contend. Wow. Describes action on my part! Darn. I can’t just sit on my butt & chill? Those are 2 powerful words to let echo in my head a while. Thanks. 🙂

  7. May 28, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Kub3294 and Tony. Powerful stuff! I too am coming up on 3 years sober and love the intentional action of “earnestly contend”. To be bold and courageous and look forward and improve my concious contact with God. In this honesty and action there is hope! Thanks!

  8. Ike
    May 30, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Hey Tony….even you must tip your hat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • May 31, 2010 at 11:12 am

      Ike,

      Definitely have to tip my hat… it is such a rare feat to pitch a perfect game. I remember listening to the radio as Tom Browning did it for the Reds back in the 80’s.

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