You Need A New Carburetor

isaac working on chevelle editedThis is a picture of me at the age of 17.  I am putting the last wing-nut on a beautiful engine I spent six months rebuilding in my parents garage.  The car is a 1969 Chevelle Malibu.  Just underneath the air filter, that big shiny thing on top, is the carburetor.  It is a Holly 4150.  I rebuilt it six times before I got it just right.

Cars don’t have carburetors anymore, but lets imagine you own a car that is in need of a new one.  I go for a ride with you one day and your car sounds terrible. It is hard to start, when the push the gas pedal nothing happens for a few seconds, every time you are stopped and idling it sounds like the car is going to die.  “Why is my car so awful?!”  you ask.  “Well, you need a new carburetor.” I say.

Then you immediately get mad at me. “Don’t tell me I need a new carb.  I have heard that a million times before.  I bought so many new carburetors and it NEVER WORKS!”

Really?  You bought a new carburetor and your car still sounds like this?  What is going on?

So, I ask you to show me this new carb you bought.  You promptly get out of the car and pop open the trunk.  There, beautifully displayed in their original packaging, are five brand new carburetors!

What is the lesson?   It does you no good to buy new parts for your car if you don’t install them. In this case, you don’t need more new parts.  You need to install the ones you already have.

This is exactly how many people treat their life and the Bible. Their life, their soul, is not functioning properly. Someone tells them they need the teaching of Jesus or Psalm 23.  So they go read it or listen to a sermon. Maybe they go to church every week for years and years expecting something to get better.  But they don’t do what they hear.  They hear Jesus say they should commit their whole life and energy to seeking after God and becoming a better person.  And their response is to try and pray a little bit or volunteer at church. They hear Jesus say God will not listen to them unless they forgive people they are angry at from the bottom of their heart.  But they have a really good reason they are angry at those people, and they can’t figure out why God never seems to answer their prayers.

It is not new information we need. We have the teaching of Jesus in our heads. We have the new parts.  We need to install them.  We need these teachings to become part of our actual life. We need simply to do what He says.

That will mean more than a little prayer here or there. It may mean a complete overhaul, six months off the road while you and God rebuild your inner life.  Wouldn’t it be worth it?

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How To Be Happy in Church

exciting or boring

Even though I am a pastor I love going to church. I loved it before I was a pastor and I love it just as much now whether I am leading or not.

Every time I am on vacation I have this problem.  I want to go to church and everyone thinks I am crazy.  You are on vacation.  Why would you want to go to church?!  Well… because I love it.

What makes church boring for some people and incredibly exciting for others?  

Some people have learned how to be happy in church.

Of Course, I’ve Heard All That Before

Almost every time I preach I get the same comment from someone.  “Yeah, that’s good, but I’ve heard it before.  It is nothing new. I already knew that.”  I am sorry to say it but this comment and the feelings behind it are a sign that a person is spiritually unhealthy and possibly dying. 

Jesus knew that the Word of God is like food for us.  A human being cannot live only on food, but must consume every Word that God speaks. (Matt 3:4 paraphrase)

Imagine a similar comment about food.  A person who has not eaten all day walks into a restaurant. The waiter brings a piping hot plate of something really good. The starving person looks at the food and says, “Eh, that’s okay, but I’ve already eaten that before.

What do we immediately know about this person?  If it is really true they haven’t eaten all day then something is wrong with their body. They are sick, possibly dying.

How do we fix this condition?

1) Assume God Will Speak

The most important thing is not whether the preacher is good.  What matters most is whether the Word of God is preached. If it is then we can be confident God is speaking. Even if the Bible is misunderstood or wrongly applied God will still speak through it to those who are listening.

It is nice to eat really tasty food, but what it tastes like is not the most important thing.

2) Takes Notes

God is speaking, so pay attention!  Can you hear Him?  You don’t have to take notes, but you need to do whatever helps you really listen, not just to the speaker but to God. Taking notes helps me.  Do whatever it takes to pay attention and hear what God is saying to you. 

3) Do Something Immediately!

This step is very important. Once you have heard something from God you must put it into practice immediately. Hearing the Word of God is like smelling good food.  Doing it is like eating. If you hear that anger is bad or God answers prayer, do not say ‘Oh yeah, I already knew that.’  Search your life and find something you can do to become more like this right away, even before you leave church.  When you do you will see God act and your spirit will come alive.

Doing these three steps consistently will revolutionize your life and experience of church.  Most of the people around you will be half asleep while your sit on the edge of your seat eagerly listening for God to speak through the most boring preacher in the world. 

by Isaac Whiting

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