Monday, September 24, 2007

Digging Graves; and the Owner of the House

There are some amazing churches in Nashville. AMAZING. Which is why it will take me the better part of my life to choose one to call my home. (A great problem to have.) While my search continues around the area every week, there is one church that has already become a treasure. It is literally 5 doors up from my house so we can walk--which by the way, I'm totally counting as my "exercise" for the weekend. It is a church called The Village Chapel, and they have services in the morning, and also one at 6. Normally I church hop week to week on Sunday mornings to catch all the different styles and speakers, but I have gotten in the habit of going to VC every Sunday night...a bit of consistency that has calmed my heart in this search for the right place for me and Jesus.

The VC reads/studies straight through books of the Bible, and right now we are on Genesis. We are up to chapter 35 now, studying the life of Jacob. Two things stuck out from this weeks message that I wanted to share. So basically in this chapter, God tells Jacob to go to Bethel and build an altar to the Lord because this is the place where the Lord appeared to Jacob when he was fleeing from his brother. Before leaving, Jacob had his household and those with him 1)get rid of the foreign gods they had 2)purify themselves and 3)change their clothes and explained the reason for this journey to Bethel (35:1-3). The preacher paused on verse 4 for just a second, but the Lord knew I needed a WORD from that verse, because it caught the eyes of my heart long before he stopped reading. "So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem."(v4)

Did y'all see that? He BURIED their foreign gods. Not hid them under a blanket to be picked back up later....but buried them. As in, dead. 6-feet under.
I don't find it a coincidence that My roommate and I just started a Bible study with 3 other girls led by Kelly Minter, the author of the book we are doing called "NO OTHER GODS: confronting our modern-day idols" (and I'm sure I'll have lots of post to share from this book as we get started). We are called to BURY our idols. To get rid of them for good. We serve a God who is entirely deserving of our undivided attention and unashamed love. What is it that you spend more time thinking about, more time invested in, more time loving after than your precious time with the Lord. I KNOW what mine are. And by-george it hurts to even think about them and how they've taken place of things that they shouldn't. And if I'm being honest, it's hard to think about burying some of those things because when something takes a position in your heart that it shouldn't, you obviously get attached. I think that's why that word BURY is so important. Don't just stick it in a drawer, minimize it on your computer, or put it on the to-do list tomorrow when you'll have more time to afford to put it a little lower on the priority list. Just straight up bury it, and don't look back.

The next zinger for me came in verse 7. I'll write 6 too so you get the whole setting. "Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother." In order to understand the point that the preacher made we have to first know that "El" means 'God', and "Bethel" means 'house of God'. So the phrase "El Bethel" would mean the 'God of the house of God'. With the addition of "El" in the phrase, the emphasis is shifted from the place "Bethel" (house of God), to the actual occupier/owner/boss man "El" the GOD of the house of God. How often do we miss that? How often do we go to the HOUSE of God, rather than the GOD of the house? As we see at the end of verse 7, Jacob named it this because it was at this place that God revealed HIMSELF to him. GOD is what we should be seeking, praising, loving. Obviously this isn't saying to not be in the house of God--this is an important part of anybody's walk with Christ. But when we are there, let's stay focused on the One we're there for. Praise Him for the things we have yes, but praise HIM, not them.

Hope that made as much sense to someone as it did me. My notes are everywhere. And the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders reality show in the background didn't help either. ;)


Lindsee said...

SO true, girl. So true.

Good word!

And, why does CMT have to do that to us?! :)

Dionna said...

Like your new blog look!

Jackie said...

So true- thanks for that word....and as far as Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders show- LOVE IT.. it is an addiction of mine :)
Hope your week is going great. I will be praying for you that you are able to settle into a church that is right for you. Love ya girl!

Little Steps Of Faith said...


I am just a tad ahead of you, I am in the middle of Exodus in my Disciple class, but isn't it amazing to sit down and learn the old testament, I mean I don't know about you, but no one ever really shared it with me until the age I am now. Praise God though, He knows when to make it happen, couldn't have come at a better time:)

Anyways, I hope you enjoy it, give us an update every now and then about it, I would love summaries:)

Alana said...

Yes, it would take quite an effort to dig them back up if they were buried. Good stuff!

And I love, love, love, love, LOVE the new look. Stunning!

jennyhope said...

i am going to go back and read your post but i just got so excited about the comment you left on my blog because of something i read this morning about a refusal to accept God's forgiveness when we keep coming back over the same thing. I guess so much of my problem is that I fell into a pit when I knew better...if you know what I mean. I was completely without excuse so that made it all the more worse for me. Not only that...there have been times where I have had premeditated sin in my life and that really upsets me more that i can be such an absolute idiot. some people may look at it and say oh not that big a deal but it is between me and the Lord. Anyway, I have to believe Gods forgiveness instead of just calling it quits at times and living in defeat. your comment was confirmation for me seriously! Much love Abby!! Love jen

BethAnne said...

Loved your post. I live in TN, and my hubs works for the state so we spend a few weeks in Nashville every year. We visited Two Rivers Baptist last time we were there (across from Opry Mills). I dont know if that is near the area you are, but we really enjoyed it. Just a thought. I pray the Lord leads you to the place He wants you very soon.