You’re searching for someone to blame for your own anemic experience of faith.

It’s the eroded culture chasing after idols.

It’s the compromising church and the false church and the fearful church and those Christians who refuse to attend church or those who attend but don’t engage.

It’s spiritual warfare. Cowardly leadership. The scoffers. Wolves in our midst.

The political-social-moral-atheistic-vocal majority with the agenda laden with deceit. (Note to self – be on guard against the lies to which so many fall prey in these times – of course, not you.)

And so, you turn to Acts, to huddle with your people – the early church, the apostles, the women, the true believers, the ones who get it, like you do, and to long for the day when Christ returns.

But, doesn’t God just up and use your self-congratulatory search for comfortable assurance to unsettle the secure confidence you’ve placed in your own innocence? To remind you that the mists of deception slither over the transom of self-righteousness and between the cracks of hubris-hardened heart-doors stiffened with under-utilized faith.

The church was birthed into times like these. There it is, plain as the Pentecost on the page.

An idolatry-based economy.

The true faith riddled with posers and compromisers barely a heartbeat after it’s inauguration.

Warfare and persecution that makes social media shaming look like a lollipop at the bank.

Wolves stalking sheep before the apostles were barely out of the gate and no one had the Pharisees and Sadducees and Romans beat for political-social-vocal-viral agendas

these people invented crucifixion, perfected persecution, and tapped into mass bloodlust just to draw a crowd on a slow Friday night.

The apostles (uneducated fisherman, tax collectors, and one ex-Pharisee latecomer) navigated these treacherous days like veteran kings in a game of thrones. Not by their own savvy but empowered by the truth of Christ they delivered wonders, miracles, and prayers for greater boldness in the face of the most frightening intimidation – a government and religious leaders who still had Jesus’ dried blood on the hems of their tunics.

The truth of it slaps you hard upside your smug complacency, but God’s nature is kind and in the admonition, He opens your eyes to the crux of the thing.

How often you live without awe and so inspire none.

How daily you saunter past God like an ancient relic on the wall you admired once at a summer fair and sought to own but couldn’t imagine might still contain power for these times.

Oh, on occasion, you rub it like a genie’s lamp and ask for things and sometimes they come, but you let the skeptics around you talk about odds and coincidences, peppering your soul with flakes of doubt, so you secretly believe but don’t let anyone catch you discussing it in the lunchroom – creating boundaries around your belief so it remains tame and well-behaved.

But your brothers and sisters of those first days after Jesus ascended and the tongues of fire descended, setting souls and hearts ablaze with holy fire were wild and uncontained,

not seeking to control the expanding kingdom but simply riding the wave of Living Water washing them clean of all deception and delusion and death.

Daily, they worshiped. Daily. And not just once. And the worship never remained in the place where it began but it clung to them and transformed not only their own souls but those they passed.

Worship wasn’t a service they attended; it was a position they assumed in the universe.

They had witnessed the cross. They saw Him die. They laid Him in a tomb and wept, grieving from the pits of their souls.

But then, He arose. He showed Himself to them, ate with them, cooked them fish on the beach, and spoke with them of the Kingdom come. And they embraced a life of awe.

This awe the Holy Spirit set ablaze and then, the power took them and wherever they walked, they spoke the truth – that Jesus who walked among them was God and that He lives forever and will come again.

And they spoke to peasants and powers that repentance was the only pathway to salvation and that pathway led, as it still leads, through the cross of Christ and was and is only found in one name.

The humble certainty with which they proclaimed Him testified that a power beyond them was at work.

We were prepared for lawless times, but if we read closely, we’ll see that being aweless is a sign of the apocalypse.

To eschew wonder.

To scoff.

To subscribe to the creed of skepticism.

To break the bread of doubt and drink the cup of disbelief.

To dissect every miracle and message until it lies lifeless, pinned to your lab table, reeking of the formaldehyde of your unrepentance, sliced by the scalpel of your godless rebellion – this is what it is to be a modern child of this world.

But you, loved one, your life speaks a better testimony. You are a child of the Most High King.

The remedy for your wilting faith is to free your worship from its measured restraints and return to awe.

He was dead. The Author of Life was crucified, but NOW He lives. Jesus lives.

We owe Him everything and we owe others the uncensored truth about Him delivered with humility and certainty verified by transformed lives marked by relentless worship of Jesus,

“for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 ESV.

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    The Conversation

  1. Jann Butts says:

    …that Jesus Who walked among them was God and that He lives forever and will come again. My hope!

    Thank you for another EXCELLENT blog, Lori!! Keep on keeping on disturbing more than Hobbits!

  2. Kathy says:

    I was baptized at 59, 6 years ago. As a newbie, I’m in a rush to learn his Word and live my faith 24/7, since I wasted so much time beforehand getting thoroughly broken. Your post makes me see this in a new light, to be glad about His timing.

  3. Bruce says:

    It is not so easy to pierce through the hardness… much easier the darkness than hardness.
    Tough words for tough hearts.
    Very well said.

  4. Rob McCullough says:

    Beautiful and very timely Lori!

  5. Bruce A Cunningham says:

    Right on Lori!

    God is using you sister!

    I want the boldness that Peter had in Acts 4, and Paul had in Acts 17!

    May the Lord rekindle the fire and awe in our souls as a testimony to the resurrection!!!

  6. Julie Coleman says:

    Hand in hand with this: a better understanding of God’s grace. How nothing, none of our relationship with Him, is because of what we have done or will do. It is because God has extended undeserved merit to a sinner like me. I find that the difference between kids who stuck with the faith after Christian high school and those who did not is determined by what they think of God. Too often, we burden our children rather than set them free in what we teach of Him. He sounds like a God who is perched, ready to pounce, when they make one false move. What we teach about Him matters. We are creating prodigals in our midst. What sets us on fire is knowing Him more. Because to know Him is to love Him. And love is a very powerful motivator.

  7. Sherry Carter says:

    Too often, I define worship as the time I spend in a church building when it should be every breath and every step. Has my continual worship faded because I’ve forgotten that all I am and all I have is because of the cross?

    Thank you, Lori, for disturbing this would-be hobbit.