Sunday, February 08, 2009

A SUNDAY EVENING PRAYER

My good friend, Sean Nemecek, has visited here at the Shiloh Guy and thanked me for… wait a minute, let me look at what it was he thanked me for… oh yeah, the “meta-narrative theology” in my posts. Thanks, Sean. That’s really nice of you! Now I’m not exactly sure what a meta-narrative is. I think I went to seminary when we were still struggling with the narrative; long before the meta was invented. (Yes, I’m kidding. I can picture some of my more theologically-minded friends starting to choke here.) But tonight, this Sunday night, I abandon the meta and look at just a couple of words.

I led worship this morning. I prayed publicly. I sang in front of our people. I read scripture. I preached. And I pronounced the Lord’s blessing over them before they left. And I am abundantly aware of the fact that I can do none of these things to the glory of God in my own strength. I’m feeling completely dependent on the Lord. Helpless. The task is too great. Without him I will never do anything of any value. So the words of the psalmist leaped off the page at me this evening.

Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path. Psalm 27:11

I need you to teach me, Lord. I don’t know what to do and I wouldn’t know how to go about doing it even if I knew. I can’t find your way on my own. I always tend to do things my way. There is no other place for me to go to discover your way. I need you to teach me.

And I want to know your way! What good is my way? What good comes from trying the ways I can read about in the “How to Plant a Church” books? And it won’t help me to try to follow the ways others have tried. There is only one way to lead this particular church and it is your way. So I walk away from my way because I only want your way.

Lead me. I won’t run ahead of you. I won’t leave the path to the right or to the left. I won’t stop and sit down. If you will lead me I will follow you no matter where your path lies. What else am I to do? Whom else shall I follow? Let’s go. You lead, I follow.

And I don’t want to wander around in circles like the Israelites in the wilderness. I don’t have time for that. Again, I won’t turn in my own direction if you are leading. I want to just walk in a straight path to the end you have for me. Can we go straight? Straight to the people you have chosen in this city? Straight to the ministries that will make your name famous here? Straight through all the distractions and obstacles for your name’s sake? Can we just walk a straight path with you leading the way?

Amen.

5 Comments:

At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Sean Nemecek said...

Were you fishing just to see if I really read your posts?

Meta-narrative theology is something I picked up from the late Albert "Joe" Crawford in seminary. He taught me that all theology must be done in terms of the overarching story of scripture or its meta-narrative. Hopefully someone will publish his notes in a book someday.

"God's way" is an excellent two word summary of the meta-narrative.

You are a good friend and dear brother in Christ!
Sean

 
At 8:36 PM, Anonymous Reiman said...

I think that most of us want to go His way. But most of us don't really think we know the way He wants us to go. When we say "Lead me in a straight path" are we asking Him to show the way before we start moving, or are we praying and trusting that He will lead us as we are moving, and eventually make our paths straight? There is a difference.

In my life, I find that I am often not sure of which way to go. I want to serve Him, but how? Should I do this thing or some other thing? It is as if I stand at the crossroads and wonder whether path A or path B is the right one. I ask the Lord and it seems that He doesn't answer.

But what I've discovered is that He wants me to take a risk with what I know already. Follow my heart, shaped by His Word and prayer, and believe Him. With trust I need to start moving, keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus.

Sometimes I think God is shouting "Go somewhere, anywhere, just quit standing still, and I will lead you."

Too many of us stand in paralysis, afraid to start walking a path and thus spend our whole lives "waiting" on the Lord. Perhaps it is our way of blaming God for our lack of sincere belief in Him, and our lack of love for those who desperately need us to reach out to them.
Yes, I need Him, and I desperately need Him to lead me. I need Him to teach me His way, and then I must trust Him and take that risk. I must live God's way, which I will only learn through His word and prayer. As I begin to walk a path I will be completely dependent on Him to catch me when I fall, to forgive me when I sin, to uphold me with His righteous right hand, though I do not deserve it. I must trust Him to take what is crooked and make it straight. I don't know the end from the beginning, but He does!
Thanks,Dave, for making me think about this verse. God bless
Reiman

 
At 10:07 PM, Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Reiman!

Great comment! Thanks so much. Here's what I meant.

I'm going to keep moving. I know no other way to live. I'll keep doing the thing God puts in front of me to do. I don't even know if the path in which he's leading me is staight or not! But what can I do? I have to follow! And as far as teaching me his way; it is going to be his way, one way or the other, and I just need to be taught to see that it is his way! I just want his name to be glorified so I don't want to be meandering around uselessly!

What do you think?

 
At 10:10 PM, Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Sean,

No, not fishing. Actually honoring your theological arsenal. I agree with the idea of the meta-narrative but nobody ever taught it to me, unfortunately. As Prasada Rao said to me when I asked him how he came to hold to the doctrine of the sovereignty of God, "Is there another way to read and understand the Bible?"

YOU take those Crawford notes and write the book! I'll write one of the blurbs on the back of the dust jacket!

 
At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Reiman said...

Dave:
Thanks for your comment. You said it just the right way. You are going to keep moving. You will trust God to guide you, and you will do whatever He puts in front of you to do. You don't presume that every path is the right path, the only path, the last path, etc. But you do what God has told you to while you walk it. My contention is that He will show you the right paths as you begin to move, and not until then. We have a dynamic relationship with God. It is vibrant, pulsating, and alive!
I think the Apostle Paul said it best in Romans 1. Verse 13 says this: "I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you...." Imagine that. Paul was prevented from doing something. He didn't know always where he was to go, but he knew what he was to do when he got there, and what to while he was anywhere. I like this admission of Paul, because it means that his life wasn't scripted like he could check off each missionary journey on his day planner.
We are lazy people, Dave. We need to move, and be looking for Him to lead us as we go. Like you said, not wandering around aimlessly, heedless of what He has said. We have purpose, we have a mission, and we have His promises. Let's get moving.
Reiman

 

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