Sin, Darkness and the Victory of the Cross 4


1 Peter 1:24-25

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Heading off the swerve to rot

Bell curve

The classic bell curve of growth and decline which ministries in the church will reflect. New ownership – or renewed vision, a fresh sense of hearing from God – is essential to head off otherwise inevitable decline.

1 Peter 1:24-25
All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.

WE ENDED yesterday with the comment “Everything swerves to rot” which I attributed to Lawrence Singlehurst.

It is a natural consequence. However keen a gardener you are, that immaculate design of borders and lawns and – hedges, don’t talk to me about hedges! – turns into a nature reserve.

You may be fit, taking part in a 10k or more, or cycling in a sportive – we’re in that season now, in this hill-and-bottom area – but when the days are short and the weather fails, Christmas beckons and healthy living takes backseat, what happens to that muscle?

Psalm 119:92
If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.

That gradual perishing, tending towards selfishness, decline and independence from God, is the natural state. That’s the way everything in life goes, left to its own desires. That is entirely true of church life and mission.

But that’s not what we are supposed to be doing – the natural state. We are called to be naturally supernatural, keeping close to God and continually reviewing His truth – making His law our delight. In that mix there will be awareness of sin and a readiness to recognise it and repent – often. That is akin to the series of minor corrections needed to keep your car on the road, away from ditches and potholes. Or a bicycle – in a balanced equilibrium, spinning along, but left to itself, it will run off.

We see it in so much of church life. There’s a bell curve of life for any group or activity, forming and gaining momentum rapidly – but it can soon go over the top of the curve and over into slow decline if the vision is not kept fresh and the leadership is not attentive to God and the task.


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