25/08/2007

Filling the vacuum

I have one more thing that I feel it is right to share before I go away. I'm sorry if what follows sounds "preachy", but it is something that is burning in my soul, so I want to share it. If you are reading, I hope it stirs something in you...


The vacuum

Two evenings ago I was in a community meeting held in our area of London concerning a shooting just up the road from the church and a murder the previous week in the neighbouring district. I came home from that meeting in the evening and turned the news on the TV to find that a boy of 11 had been shot dead in the city of Liverpool. This follows a spate of fatal stabbings and shootings of young people in the UK.

The local meeting was called for by concerned residents. Present in that meeting were the police, elected local representatives, local council officials. A lot was said by local residents, a lot was promised by police and local government. Despite these many words, the word that strongly laid on my heart was "vacuum." There is a terrible vacuum in our society and that vacuum has to be filled.


Filling the vacuum

There might be many reasons given why young people get involved in gangs and violence, and there is only so much that the state can do to stem the flow of violence. Many ideas were given in this meeting, many fears were expressed. But these things will not fill the vacuum, rather the vacuum will only be filled by the power of God.

I believe that as churches we need to become more engaged with our communities. Salt is meant to get out of the salt cellars, and light is meant to be displayed.

I hope that this post might inspire someone to get involved in their community. There is a danger of being so involved in church life that we fail to engage in our community. Church meetings are very important, but we are not called to fill our lives with church meetings, but to change the society in which we live. While we must have Spirit-saturated meetings, we need to receive God's word, and be drenched in His presence, these things are not an end in themselves.


Moving out in the glory

The purpose of the cloud of glory is not only to make us feel good, but to transform the whole community. We are to be drenched in the cloud of glory, but He goes with us into the highways and byways of the streets around your church and around your home.

We are called to follow in the steps of Jesus, and leave the safety of our church meetings and the fellowship of other believers and get out and engage with those around us and to serve our community. This is not the social gospel, but the glory gospel - as we serve in the power of His presence, people become aware of the reality of the Lord.

We have something that the world cannot offer. God has called us to be the means of filling the vacuum. Society will never be in order until the glory of God is seen. So let us get the light, get the glory in our worship meetings, in our prayer meetings and then let us get out and take the glory with us!

The first step is seeking God, being utterly secure in His grace, and praying that the cloud of glory would fall upon us. The next is being available to the Lord. Like Isaiah, "Here I am, send me." (Isaiah 6v8). And He will open doors.

Imagine meeting with young gang members and having word of wisdom that sets them free. Imagine serving in a homeless shelter and seeing people delivered from the power of alcohol addiction. Imagine serving in a hospital and seeing whole wards healed by the power of God. Imagine visiting the elderly and by the patience and compassion that God gives you, hearts are softened and people come to the Lord. Imagine advising parents from God's Word how to parent, and them seeing the reality of God, as His principles work.

Let us get the glory, and let us take the glory out. It is only His glory that can fill the vacuum.

3 comments:

Dan Bowen said...

"There is a terrible vacuum in our society and that vacuum has to be filled".

Amen! There seem to be two counter-arguments abroad at the moment regarding eschatology - how it will all turn out. One is that eschatology is a "secondary" issue and that all that matters is a unity around the Gospel and the Cross, and it will all "pan" out in the end. The second is a fierce defence of fatalistic eschatologies such as pre-millenialism and a looking forward to the Second Coming and the Rapture to sort out all our problems.

I used to hold to the first view but I think only because I didn't really understand which eschatology I hold to. But I remember Dave Holden said at Stoneleigh 2000 that "Your eschatology affects your ecclesiolgy". In other words it DOES matter how we view the end.

I think we in the UK are still falling behind our American brothers and sisters in a robust and healthy look at the end times and your post is a valuable contribution to filling our vision with the promises of God. We must get into our Bibles and fill our hearts with hope about promises such as Israel in Romans 9 and other encouraging faith-building statements!

I am still thrilled at the Rob Rufus-esque nature of your post and discussion of the cloud of glory. Rob was right - evangelising the lost needs to speed up. We need to see the cloud of glory descending on cities such as London and sweeping millions into the Kingdom!! A harvest of souls!!

So good to have you back and writing! Keep at it!

Anonymous said...

Agreed this is an absolutely vital post. It is time that we stopped bickering over our pet doctrines and what to "unite" around. There is a world out there that needs to be saved, and to see the fulness of the Gentiles come! There is a world out there crying for a supernatural reality to come into being that supercedes the one we have at present!

Let the cloud of glory fall!

Dr S A J Burgess

Peter Day said...

Thank you, dear brothers, for your visit and comments. They are a real spur to me to keep on publishing.

Amen - Let the cloud of glory fall!