It’s been “in-service” time at many schools, colleges and universities! If you interviewed those who teach at those institutions about their opinion of “in-service” you’d probably get a mixed response that would include… “boring!” “Same-o, same-o, same-o!” “Redundant!” I had a friend, well-known for his unforgettable quips, who had this to say about some “in-services”… “Being talked to death is a terrible way to die!” Some, however, would say “in-service” is… “Helpful” – “Interesting” – even “essential!” – And perhaps even sometimes “fun” (believe it or not!) – And “relationally enriching” or “team building”! Hey, “in-service” is important, to have an effective, good, school year!
I wish I could say it’s different about some church services and discipleship classes (but it’s not)! The fact is, they’re not always exciting, they’re not always “fun” … But even when they’re NOT scintillating – even when they don’t produce “goosebumps” – eternal issues are at stake! They contribute to the effectiveness of the Christian “walk” that Apostle Paul talked so much about! In fact, it was Paul’s favorite word to describe the effective Christian life (not “run” – not “fly” – not even “warfare!”) … Just “walk” – “walk out the Christian life – one step in front of another… If you doubt it, grab a concordance and check it out (especially in Ephesians).
So on an average Sunday, or in midweek services, or sitting in discipleship classes, or in chapel services at a Christian school, college or university… don’t get the idea that to be effective everything always has to produce Holy Spirit “goosebumps” to be effective, or “sensory overload” to make a difference, or produce an uncontrollable urge to weep or worship to result in transformation. Miracles happen – but they don’t always happen. Those times come, and we’re grateful for them… But it’s day-after-day – week-after-week – it’s the cumulative effect of God’s word, obedience, worship, prayer, and Christian service that transforms our lives! We “walk!” – that’s right, just plain old “walk” with the Lord! Here it is… for your consideration from Ephesians:
“You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once WALKED, following the course of this world, following the prince of of the power of the air, the spirit that is not at work in the sons of disobedience… But now, we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should WALK in them!” (2:1-2, 10)
“I urge you to WALK in a manner worth of the calling to which you have been called…” (4:1)
“You must no longer WALK as the Gentiles [the unconverted] do!” (4:17)
“WALK in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us!” (5:2)
“At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord! WALK as children of light… and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” (5:7-10)
“Look carefully then how you WALK, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (5:15-16)
So I guess it’s a little like “in-service” – Not always exciting, but important! At the outset of this New Year I’ve made up my mind… Gonna WALK with the Lord – Gonna WALK as a Christian!