March 12, 2008

When You Can't See What You Should

When I was about to begin college, I had to take a vision test. I remember like it was yesterday going to take a routine vision test at Oakwood College. It turned out that my vision was so poor that even this perfunctory test showed that I had some real problems. The one who took the test told me that I need to go see a vision professional as soon as possible.

I went to the optometrist and they gave me a full scale test and gave me glasses. I will never forget when I put on those glasses how sharp everything looked. I could see!!! Well I wasn’t blind, but everything was blurry before. It had happened so slowly that I didn’t realize that I was having problems. I learned to live with this hampered vision until someone gave me some glasses to put on. Immediately I realized I couldn’t see before.

Vision Loss in the Church

I think that many of us today are working with the same kind of vision loss. We have lost our reason for being. We have lost what we are here to say. I think it is interesting that one can now attend some of our churches and never hear the unique call of God to remember the Sabbath. Many of us no longer emphasize that Jesus is coming again. Even though these two doctrines are etched into our very name as Seventh-day Adventists, we have slowly come to the point where we are trying to live without the vision that the Sabbath brings. We are slowly trying to live without the perspective that the second coming gives to us. We no longer are hampered by the demands of a high priest who is seeking to bring this era to a conclusion. We have slowly lost our ability to see clearly.

And just like me, we don’t even miss it. We listen to sermons that could be preached anywhere at any time. We sing songs that have lost any connection to the principles of the movement that we all know and love. We no longer say, “if time will last” when we speak of our plans and hopes. We have lost our vision!

Is Regurgitation the Answer?

And just as in my case, it is easier to see the problem than to promote the solution. One of my teachers told me once that I need to stop cursing the darkness and turn on a light. How do you turn on the light? Is it simply a regurgitation of sermons from greats in the past? Will our vision problem be solved by simply reading the sermons of yesteryear and singing the songs of yesterday?

While there is a time to remember and to go back, we cannot go back to those times. I think we must take the principles that our great forefathers have given to us and seek to apply them to this world at this time. We need to preach the Sabbath, but a simple regurgitation of previous sermons will not help our vision problem.

Are the Doctrines Relevant?

What we need to do is dig into the Sabbath, dig into the second coming. Do some hard work. What are these doctrines telling us? Does the Sabbath have something to say to a United States that is bent on acquisition and has an economy built on obtaining what one may need or not need? Does the Second Coming have something to say to the nihilism that one finds in so much of the world today? Does the message of our High Priest have anything to say to us today at this time? It is time for work. It is time to Re-Hear. It is time to preach again.

But thanks be to God, that we have a prophecy that this message will not die out. Somebody will pick up the message that we have allowed to lay fallow while we copy the offerings of popular media ministers. The Bible says that there will be another angel who will should with a loud voice. That angel will have her voice to join the three angels messages as it crescendos into a loud cry. Let’s put on our glasses so that we can see where God is leading us.

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shermancox

Vanderbilt Trained Minister (MDiv), Univ. of Alabama Trained Software Developer (MS), Author, Blogger (http://soulpreaching.com ), Husband, Son, Brother, Father.

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