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Friday, April 23, 2010

Being Real Rather Than Spiritually Dry

I just returned to my hotel from a worship service at Maadi Community Church. It was real. My wife and I are in Cairo visiting my daughter and she took us to her church.

No new churches can be built in Egypt so the church meets under at tent. It is a fancy tent with ceiling fans, special lighting, a sound system and video projection. People sit in plastic stacking chairs. They had some trouble with their computer projection. It neither played a song the preacher wanted us to hear nor would it project the last song (How Great Is Our God) but everyone seemed to know it, so it was still okay.

The congregation was very international. So were the musicians who played and sang. There was a special unity that transcended their backgrounds. The Apostles Creed was recited or read. It was obvious that some knew it by heart. It meant they came from denominations which recited it so often that they had memorized it. The fact that some knew it and some didn't was further evidence of the congregation's diverse background. They didn't point out their differences. They worshiped together.

Sometimes Christians are so conscious that they act in the proper way with the correct doctrine that they forget that it isn't about how we look or how hard we hold to our specific doctrine. We can worship with others without calling them heretics because they fail to agree with us on every jot and tittle.

It is what occurs on the inside of us that counts. It is here that we meet with our Lord. We go into the secret room of our hearts and worship. It is here we are to pray. It is here that we listen to our God. It doesn't matter if we are alone or in a group of thousands because we are truly in our own secret place. We are by ourselves even though there may be others brushing up against us.

Often we are so worried about how we look that we can't worship. We notice if there are those who are putting money in the offering plate and we do or don't because of how we appear. We notice that there are those who do or do not sing and we do or don't because we don't want to stand out. We can be embarrassed about how little we have put in the offering or proud of how much we have placed in the offering and be just as unreal in the practice of our faith either way.

Actions that do not follow a changed heart will make you very spiritually dry. You are trying to grow fruit without any water. The Spirit changes and grows our hearts so that we produce fruit. Outward actions without an inward change will be a shell with nothing inside.

Being unreal is denying that I know Jesus in my heart while trying to show others how much I know Him with my actions. The people at Maadi were truly worshiping their Lord. What was going on in their hearts was appearing on the outside. That is very real.

I suppose Maadi Community Church is not a perfect church. I am sure they wouldn't have let me come in if they were. They were real. I was privileged to have worshiped with them today.

Revelation 3:8-9 (NIV)
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

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