I used to get along with computers. Really! We kind of talked the same language and I could get them to do lots of great things. In fact, an employer many years ago was so impressed with my computer communication skills that they were going to send me to college so I could be their computer specialist! I chose Bible college instead. Maybe that is why I’m in this predicament today.
It all started while I was printing next Sunday’s bulletins. I printed the inside of the bulletins and was ready to print the outside when the dreaded “low ink” message popped up. Even if you have enough black ink, if the color ink is low or empty the printer won’t print.
I tried to trick the printer by turning it off and on. No luck. I tried putting in a different, albeit empty, cartridge to trick the printer. No chance. Things were getting frustrating! All I needed was one printout of the outside and then I could use the copy feature. I started to think. I called a member of the church and asked if I could come over to print a copy of the bulletin there and headed out to solve my dilemma. Ha!
First I couldn’t get on their network to print on their printer. Then we tried copying the file to her phone so we could print from there. Wouldn’t work. We used a flash drive. Nope. I hooked directly to the printer with a USB cable (I know this might be Greek to some of you, but hold on. You’ll understand soon). I didn’t’ have the right printer driver to print to her printer and needed to be on the internet—their network—to get that. By this time I was about to scream, but I didn’t. Finally, I decided I just wasn’t supposed to finish printing the bulletins tonight and would have to do it at home over the weekend.
Tonight my ability to perform miracles with computers was tested and found lacking. They wouldn’t listen! I couldn’t get my will done no matter what I tried. So here I sit, back at the church at almost nine p.m., with only the inside of the bulletins printed, writing this article.
I’m reading a book right now called Unbinding the Gospel. The book comes out of a study of evangelism in mainline churches and talks about how we Christians, not only in mainline churches, fail to tell others about Jesus. We don’t want to evangelize, to talk to others about God. We talk about politics, the weather, the price of potatoes, but we don’t talk about faith. We’ve forgotten about faith.
I love the Lord, and I believe you probably do, as well. God has done so many wonderful things in my life and in the lives of those around me that people should be knocking down the doors to get into church and find the amazing freedom and grace we have received. But they are not. In fact, they probably cross the street to walk on the other side, and we probably wait until they cross so we don’t have to tell them about it.
If I really believe, really, that Christ has forgiven us of so great a debt, that we are adopted into a family with no dysfunction or codependency—the family of God—why aren’t we telling others about it?
Perhaps the issue is that at our very core we have forgotten how amazing is the story of the first “good Friday” and the resurrection, all that Christ did for us on Calvary. We have forgotten the childlike innocence and awe of the presence of God with us and, therefore, avoid communicating with God and about God. Martha Grace Reese, the author, says that the first part of “the heart of evangelism is being in love with God” (p. 5).
We see so many relationships on the rocks because of a lack of efficient communication, so we can understand this communication dilemma, as well. Are we praying? Are we praising? Are we taking time to listen? Do we really know God, I mean really love God? I’m not talking about a smooth praise song or an old hymn we sing at church, but a deeply settled emotion within my spirit that testifies to my brain that God is indeed my Beloved.
So, I’m going to close up the computer and head home to Springfield in a few minutes, but I wanted to ask before I go, have you taken time today to talk to God? It may seem like you can’t hear God’s voice, but maybe you are just out of practice. Maybe you haven’t been praying, or maybe you’ve been praying so much that you haven’t taken any time to listen. I’m sure my computer communication issue is a temporary one—or at least I hope so. But more than that, I’m thankful that I do have a vivid relationship and communication with God that makes me want to tell you more, every day, about my Beloved, the One who cares for me and for you. I know why I preach and share—not because I’m any better than anyone else, but because God saw me, even when I didn’t listen, even when I wasn’t following, especially when I was going in the opposite direction, and loved me anyway, and redeemed me by the blood of Christ.
Are you communicating?