Our Internal GPS

Posted by admin in October 5th, 2009
Published in faith, obedience

I’m terrible with directions. I think it has something to do with being left handed. Really. I mean it. My mother-in-law is left handed too. Once I was driving her to the store and she was giving me directions. She said, “Turn right.” And I turned left instead. OMW. “Ruth! I turned left, sorry. I don’t know my left from my right.”

“That’s okay,” she said. “Obviously I don’t either because you turned the correct way.” I guess this is a case where two lefts do make a right.

Sometimes in my walk with God I get a little confused on the directions as well. What am I supposed to be doing? Where am I to serve? How am I to live? I guess followers of Jesus have always felt this over the centuries, but somehow I feel that today in our culture it is even harder to navigate in these stormy and often murky waters called life. Sometimes it’s frustrating; other times it’s just plain scary. A loved one’s life-threatening illness, an unfaithful mate, being laid off from a job and still needing to provide for your family, financial hard times in general—all of these are rough, choppy seas. But I’m thinking here more of issues of right and wrong, legal and illegal, holy and unholy. I’m thinking about the Body of Christ in my nation. How did we lose our way? When did we lose our internal navigation system? When did we lose the Holy Spirit GPS? Because we have. We honestly have. We as the Church in America have lost our way—our true North. And that grieves me and it scares me and it breaks my heart.

I’ve been reading lately about Warren Cole Smith’s book A Lover’s Quarrel With The Evangelical Church. Daryl’s getting the book for me and I am eager to read it, but just some of the excerpts and commentaries have struck a definite chord with me. Smith says, “American evangelicalism, for all the good it has done, is in need of a modern reformation.” I believe that with my whole heart. We need revival.

I was asked to speak on a missions Sunday at a mega church near my home. The pastor’s secretary phoned me the Saturday before I was to speak with a gentle reminder not to quote too much Scripture and not to bring my Bible to the stand. “We’re a seeker-sensitive church,” she explained, “and we don’t want visitors to feel like outsiders if they don’t have a Bible. So we tell members to leave their Bibles at home.” Before God, I am telling you the truth! That really happened to me. Two years later the pastor was asked to resign because it was discovered that he and that secretary were having an affair. I think there was a direct correlation. The Bible matters. Standing for something matters. Standing for God’s Truth matters.

A national women’s ministry headquartered in the Kansas City area asked me to speak at one of their meetings a couple of years ago. The president of that organization called me a week before my scheduled event, “Now I need to go over a list with you of things we don’t like our speakers mentioning when presenting. We feel these particular words are too ‘Christianese’ and make unbelievers uncomfortable.” Really? Really madame president of the evangelical women’s group? Then she starts with the list, “Bible, born-again, sin, anything about the blood, hell, you can quote Scripture, but just don’t call it that and don’t use the King James Version.” I cancelled with her while on the phone. You gotta be kidding me?!? It might as well have been a Rotary Club meeting. I can’t talk without mentioning those things—those things are the very reason I do speak!

And let me add here: the seeker, the lost, the unbeliever—they love it when you shoot straight with them. For the most part, people are looking for something to believe in and something solid. My most receptive audiences are those that are unbelievers who dig that I don’t dilute the message but tell them what Jesus said about life, and death, and right and wrong. The world is looking for guidance. The world is looking for Truth. And we’re cheating them Church when we don’t do just that. Smith addresses this in his book when he says “The world wants the Church to be the Church. It’s the Church that doesn’t want to be the Church.” I think he’s right.

There’s a strange urge that sometimes comes over me and I feel like I want to go running from church to church and shout, “Wake up Sleeping Beauty! Wake up. You’re to be a Glorious Church, salt and light, a vessel of hope for the lost and the bearer of Truth—His Truth—the only Truth that sets the captives free!”

Even as I write this I fear there are Believers who don’t know that I just referenced Scripture here. You see, I speak on college campuses and I can’t tell you the number of times that I realize my audience has no idea that I’m drawing words and phrases from Scripture. Some of the Christian kids I speak to were actually raised in church, but in churches where Sunday School was replaced with something that looked a whole lot like Disneyland and teaching basic Bible stories (i.e. doctrines)—flannelgraph or no flannelgraph—became uncool, unattractive and somehow irrelevant. A whole generation of churched young people has lost out on a Bible foundation because of this. And how are we supposed to construct what we believe and how we live based on a Scriptural foundation when so much of the Body of Christ in the US today doesn’t know what Scripture actually says?

I know. I know. I’m ranting and raving here. Sorry. But I started this blog a year ago so I’d have a place to do just that. I need an outlet or I think I might explode.

I used to teach women’s Bible studies here in Kansas City. I stopped because many of the women I was teaching weren’t being transformed. I didn’t see life-changing results. Stories of weekends in Las Vegas and who had the coolest car were focal points of conversation during the breaks and I realized I wasn’t making a bit of difference. Oh, and these were the church members and leaders having these discussions.

In my humble opinion, I believe Jesus cares how we live out our daily lives. God is truly in the details. Gambling is wrong. Sex outside marriage is wrong. Sex with any partner other than your spouse is wrong. But there are other things that matter too.

How can I frivolously gamble money away in Las Vegas (or any stinkin’ casino) when there are the poor among us? The hungry? The needy? How can I justify buying a $60,000 car when a $20,000 car will do? How can I focus so much of my time and money on the exterior when the interior is broken, corrupt and in dire need of repair? Most women’s Bible studies I visit these days are filled with conversations of Botox and fat-free dressings. In a recent church bulletin I read, “Ladies’ Bunko Night. Looking for a girls’ night out? Join us at the church for a time of fun and fellowship and food as we play Bunko and laugh the night away.”

I’m not against having fun. Honestly. I’m a fun girl. But how might our families, our churches and our nation be transformed by a handful of sincere praying and interceding women who dedicate one night a week to fasting and prayer? What could happen in their midst to change lives, families and our world? I think we have anesthetized ourselves as a Church with entertainment and the constant seeking of feel-good comfort. I’m tellin’ ya folks–we need a reformation! We need a revival!

We’ve become so acculturated here in America that we’ve lost our distinctives as the Body of Christ. We’ve lost our way. And how does Jesus define Himself? “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” We as the Body of Christ are to be His hands and His feet. We’re to be His witnesses. In the early days of Christianity the Church in Rome grew in leaps and bounds even though they were persecuted, burned at the stakes, thrown into the coliseum arenas with lions and tortured for their faith—and yet the Church grew! Wow. Not a very seeker sensitive message, is it?

So why did the early Church in Rome grow? Because it stood for something; it had distinctives that spoke to the culture, “This is always wrong and this is always right.” Rodney Stark writes that the early Church in Rome transformed culture because of its love for life; because it ministered to the disenfranchised; because it rescued unwanted babies from garbage heaps, cared for the elderly and the poor, loved its enemies and its neighbors and faced death with hope. Christians sang of God’s glory even when being burned alive. It was these things that drew the lost, these things brought crowds into the faith in droves until one day Rome became the center of Christianity. The Christian witness brought light to a dark society; the Christian witness transformed a filthy culture, transformed lives and the Church of Jesus Christ thrived as a result of its standing for Truth.

Where are our distinctives today Church? What are we standing for? Are we taking any stands at all? (And I don’t mean the political ones). Where are our voices? Why aren’t we transforming culture instead of the culture transforming us? Wake up Sleeping Beauty! Wake up. Jesus is coming for a Bride without spot or wrinkle. And the only way we can prepare, not just ourselves but a hurt and dying world for that event, is to turn on our internal GPS. We must ask the Holy Spirit to cleanse us, convict us of sin, to lead us and guide us into all acts of righteousness so that we might “find out what pleases God and do it.” And may it begin with me Lord Jesus. Let it begin with me. Peace.

8 users Responded In This Post

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239. Lisa said,
October 5th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Oh Terri, I am so hungry for what you’re saying…I see why LeeAnn is such a fan of yours — you draw us closer to Him!

Looking forward to the Harvest Fest — and inviting others, because THIS is something I can believe in! Thanks for your boldness, girl!

240. grannieannie said,
October 5th, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Preach it, Sister. You are right on!

241. Texas cuzzin Linda said,
October 5th, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Amen! We, the church, need to abide by your words. May God have mercy on us.

242. Brenda said,
October 6th, 2009 at 8:47 am

Well Said, Teri! Bravo! Encore!

243. Cuzzin J'Lynn said,
October 6th, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Thank you, Teri!!!!!!!!!!

244. texas sister said,
October 6th, 2009 at 9:38 pm

I can’t just blithely say, “Amen!” though I do wholeheartedly agree and witness what you’re saying to us.
It needs to go deep in me, to circumcise my heart of stone that loves this world and it’s “stuff.”
I need to be cut if you will, to the heart occasionally because I am prone to forget the power of God in a small group of women face down on the floor seeking mercy, deliverance, and rightousness in a little house in a small town in Texas.
That was then, and this is now; but “Where is the passion and love that drove our lives?”
Thank you Dr. McCarthy- I needed surgery…

and on a whole other note- I’m going to change my username since you have real family from Texas
I don’t know who I’ll be yet
wait and see!

245. NDHorton said,
October 7th, 2009 at 9:58 am

Teri, a particularly encouraging post. As we take a stand against the onslaught of “Christian Tolerance,” it gives me great hope to see others standing strong. Don’t get me wrong, we constantly examine ourselves in light of Scripture to make sure we don’t stray from the truth; but when we’re right, we need to stand immovable. Toward that end, here are a couple links to related articles that deal with tough issues and how the church should respond:


246. Texas cuzzin Linda said,
October 7th, 2009 at 7:43 pm

To texas sister: You sound like you would fit right in with our family – we are cousins, but most importantly, sisters in Christ!

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