Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Turn Around, or Go Around?

First, thanks so much to those of you who have sent, or promised, contributions to the outdoor cooking fundraising book we are doing to help our work with local youth! I really appreciate it! If you haven’t given me one, and you would still be willing, I would “treasure” your recipes, tips, tricks, marinades, secrets, for outdoor cooking (BBQ, grilling, dutch oven, smoking, etc.). It could be meats (I have very little fish recipes or tips!) or sides to go with a main course. I would really like to get a “sampling” from our own area, as well as different regions of the United States (hint, hint, my readers from out of California!), or the world. Please see my post on it by clicking here. The sooner you can let me know something is coming, the more it would help me.

Turn Around, or Go Around?
The other day I was glancing through a Christian magazine I had laying around and there was an article in it by evangelist Reinhard Bonnke (Reinhard Bonnke, The Harvest Continues, Charisma magazine, March 2010). I don’t know enough about him to comment on him, but a part of what he wrote jumped out at me. He was talking about something Jesus showed Him and then he said, “After Jesus spoke these words He planted His cross in the middle of the highway to hell, His arms open wide.” A bit later he said, “When an evangelist preaches ‘Repent!’ we are saying, in effect, ‘Turn around!’ When one sinner makes a U-turn, heaven rejoices and hell is left with nothing left to celebrate.”

This word picture of a road with everyone on it resonated with me because it seems that so often people put off the choice for God with the misperception that, one day, "down the road," they will make the choice either for OR against Him—the choice to get on one road or the other. They treat it like it is a choice they need to make between God or not (or between Heaven or not). What people miss understanding is that the only choice available is one for God—that they are already firmly in the middle of the road that is called separation from God. They must choose to choose God and the cross . . . and not making a choice is in fact already a choice—it leaves them on the road they are on, separated.

"God," or "no God," is not a fork in the road of life that we come to one day. Everyone, by sin, is from the beginning traveling in the same direction on the same road of "no God." The only choice is whether or not to change direction. So, in Bonnke’s example, we are all traveling down the road of separation from God which eternally ends in separation in Hell.

The origin of the word “repent” is not about tears at the altar (though repentance might or might not bring that), but about changing a mind or direction or way of thinking. “Repent”—change your mind, change your direction. In that context, seen in the picture of our life as a journey of separation from God, the analogy of the cross in the middle of the road as a call/sign to make a U-turn, or to turn around, is a very apt one. At least it worked for me and resonated well as it underscores that we are already ON the road of separation from God—we don’t choose that road, it is our default! The choice, the only choice, is whether to change direction. The scary part is that no choice is in fact a choice which leaves you on that awful road. Doing nothing is in fact doing something, and it is the worst thing one can "do"! So, really, it comes down to a person being on the road that is separation from God and being confronted with the cross . . . do they go around it and continue on, or turn around (repent) when it confronts them?

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