|(Picture of Egyptian Revolution)|
I heard about a church service Sunday wherein the preacher preached that the revolution that occurred in Egypt was described as a result of the curse of Pharaoh as described in the book of Exodus. The sermon apparentely went on to talk about what happened in Egypt was at the heart of the ever emerging New World Order because the newly democratic Egypt was allowing Iranian ships into it's canals. Obviously I am missing some gaps in information, but at one point the preacher did rail on the new government which came about from the revolution. And allegedy the "new democracy" was against God's Will. The bottom line of the message seemed to be the tying in of the event of Egypt with the End Times.
I don't even know.
I'm just glad i wasn't there. Had I been, it would not have been out of the realm of possibility to leave the sanctuary, get in my car, and drive it headlong through the church walls to interrupt the sermon in the name of the Egyptian Revolution.
But isn't it just like us to take a revolutionary act of freedom, overthrowing a fascist dictator, as they did in Egypt and put some End Times spin on it?
Instead of celebrating one of the first wars ever in the middle East that had nothing to do with religion, and rather was simply over the freedom of the people themselves (kinda like the American Revolution), we Biblicized the event to something that will make us live in more anxiety as the preacher pointed to the revolution and presence of Iranian ships in the canal as evidence of the Last Days.
And yet more, instead of living in the present and engaging it, we find ourselves twisting the present events (such as the Egyptian Struggle) as an indicator of the future coming doom of Revelation if one is not saved?
Is this not the state of many Apostolics who want to ignore the commands of acting now in the state of things as they are and trying to militantly overthrow the powers of evil that Paul talked about in Ephesians and instead choose to "maintain and conserve" as the holy people we are in order to be prepared for when God comes back?
In other words, in our inability to fully be "in this world but not of this world" we choose to resign ourselves and opt to look forward to some horrible time in the future where 1/3 of mankind will die according to the book of Revelation.
So what Being Apostolic has come to mean in some sense is "look at the past for our Identity" and look to the future where "we will be proven right," and in the mean time preach against anything that tries to do anything in the name of God outside of preaching holiness, the Oneness of God, going door knocking to witness, reading your bible, and praying?
Yes, I am exaggerating this point, but is it not a bid odd that to Be Apostolic means looking ahead to an Apocalypse, and looking backwards to the early 20th century, but hesitantly looks to what we are doing now (of course, we do have missionaries abroad, but that says nothing about us here in America)?
How much do we have to hate people outside our "Full Truth" to prefer to "preserve" ourselves for the rapture that could come at any moment than risk our lives for the people in need right now?
Let me restate that: I will grow out my hair, and wear a skirt, and willingly go to hell if it would somehow save 5 people for heaven. Of couse that is not realistic, but my point is, if holiness standards are keeping people from believing the Acts 2:38 message, then i will forsake my own Identity of holiness standards for the sake of others. This is what I mean when I say An Apostolic Identity should be Identityless: We should be more hungry to redeem that which is broken and lost than we should be to "maintain" our Identity and the distinctions that implies. It's not that I am saying we need to lose standards at all, but rather if our distinctions are causing us to "be saved" but at the same time are putting us in a state of complacency to which our witness is not acting with urgency to recover the Lost during this "time that remains" then I would argue forsaking that which causes us to be complacent in our proclamations of the Full Truth is entirely what it means to be Apostolic.
As one teacher I highly respect remarked, "Being holy does not mean simply to be taken out of the trash of sin and made clean and then to remain clean until judgment day. Rather, being holy means to be taken out of the trash of sin and made clean then to go right back into the Garbage Dump to pull others out of the same trash heap you came from."
Being Apostolic to me then is not about who we are. But rather what are we doing. This is where it may get uncomfortable. But if someone says they have the "Full Truth" and Jesus inside their soul, then the active urgency to redeem and save that such a declaration implies ought to be present.
This is why Christmas Card pictures of smiling preachers with their smiling familes in lavish homes makes me nauseaus. Their example of being Apostolic is that one can make a nice living being holy, and running around the country preaching to other APostolics about us being Apostolic. Because if their identity is defined by the Apostolic Movement's past, and Acts 2:38 says we can be saved later on in the future for eternity, we mind as well enjoy ourselves here on earth in the present with no worries other than having some good messages to preach and some good anointing along with it...
But I will take the drunkard who finds himself at the altar twice a month on his knees crying out to God with tears rolling down his face, knowing he isn't good enough yet before I will take such an Apostolic Evangelist.
Give me the Acts 2:38 man in the midst of the mess finding himself amidst controversy for his "compromises" as he tries to witness than a man with a nice, freshly mowed lawn studying the book of Psalms for his message on Sunday.
We aren't in Kansas anymore. This is a certainty. So how dare some of us live in a miniature Kansas amidst such chaos?
Prov. 14:4-"Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox."
As this rant ends, let's go back to my original point....how much of our message is focused on the past and the future, and doesn't look to the "Now" and the world around us (so much so that present day news events are only paid attention to if we can fit it into some awful interpretation of Revelation)....
Is not such past/future mentalities a symptom of our inability to keep up with today's world? So much so that we have to live out a sci-fi fantasy or live in the tombs of those who have died before us in order to cope with ourselves and the world around us.
This scene is eerily similar to an episode of the old Twilight Zone, called "Walking Distance" wherein a salesman is down on his luck and can only find his escape of joy in the nostalgia of his past. In this episode the main character is somehow transported back to the time when he was a child, but he himself remains the adult. While he takes joy in this miraculous opportunity to live in the age of his innocense, the "past" is not so ready to accept him. Simply put, the man doesn't fit in and causes disturbances amongst his family and the townspeople (and even his own childhood self that he encounters).
The following scene is the conclusion of the episode where we will see the dad talk to his son as an adult encouraging him to leave the land of "cotton candy and merry go rounds." I think it is very apt representation of what I think we should take to be the voice of our Apostolic Pioneers (the Dad) talking to us Apostolics who are transfixed on maintaing the Identity of a time and culture that has passed us for several decades now (you only need to watch the first two minutes)-