Larry Roques

Larry Roques

The Pastor's Journal of House of Joy Church

Pursuing the Relationship

           Pursuing the Relationship 

                                                            May 3, 2015


 

 

 

John 17:1-4

 

“1 ¶  Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2  "as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3  "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4  "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” (Joh 17:1-4 NKJV)

 

 

 

The whole reason we preach the Gospel is not to accrue a feel good environment or convey positive vibes, but to develop a solid foundation and relationship with the Living God through our savior, Jesus Christ. The point of all of this is not to have the “right” philosophy, but to serve the righteous master and know a love that is unavailable to human emotion. It all boils down to appetite. A person who is not hungry will not eat. In the natural, one who eats aside from the need for nourishment is on the fast track to an eating disorder. They eat not from hunger, but maybe from depression, or worry, or loneliness. When you eat from hunger, you eat to gain nutrition.

Pursuing a relationship with God is like eating. The fast food industry makes billions of dollars a year betting on those who are hungry enough to eat, but not hungry enough to cook. We feed ourselves religious fad for much the same reason. It scratches an itch....it takes care of a need...but it does not build a relationship. In the end, it is empty and does not bear nutrition.

 

Relationship with God is all about desire. It is not out to prove a point, but to build something that roots deep into one’s life. It is unshakable. It is undeniable. It is the rock steady foundation of one’s life...and it is possible through relationship. From the second we are born, God is pursuing us. The Bible tells us that he knew us before we were in our mothers’ womb. He has been tracking us...watching over us...nurturing us....sustaining us. But as in any relationship ship, it is a two way street. We must be willing to put down self to seek out another. It is about hunger, desire; it is about pursuit.


 


 

Preparation

 

Matthew 25:1-4

 

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. (Matthew 25:1-4 NKJV)


Now as the story goes on, the five wise virgins had been preparing for the day of the bridegroom’s visit.  In scripture, oil is always a picture of the Holy Spirit of God. These five virgins had been relentless in their pursuit to keep their lamps oiled and trimmed for the preparation of his calling. The anticipant spirit looks forward to an encounter. When you were dating your spouse, the days leading up to that special date or even the wedding were almost as exciting as the time itself.

 

When you look forward to something, you are relentless to make every moment count. You plan and prepare...add touches...go the extra mile. Everything you do is in preparation to make the time as meaningful as possible. I remember as a boy growing up here in New Orleans that the weeks before Mardi Gras were filled with plans for the food and the costumes and just the right parking and coordinating with family to meet and enjoy the day together.  It was a special day of friends and family. Back then it wasn’t about booze and lascivious behavior...it was about the relationship. It was about the good time together.

 

Now, on the heels of these five wise virgins were the five foolish virgins. They had prepared for nothing. They figured they would get along on their good looks alone and at the right time just hustle some oil off of those who had gone the distance. But you see, it doesn’t work that way. You cannot live on someone else’s excitement. You cannot, at random, jump inside someone else’s dream. In the end, it is not about sharing...it is about not appreciating the journey. If it didn’t mean enough to you to prepare all along, when the time comes...you may be there...but you still won’t get what it’s all about. It’s not about the price of the ticket...it’s about relationship.

 

Desperation

 

Psalms 63:1-3


 

O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. (Psalms 63:1-3 NKJV)


How much does this whole God thing mean to you? That’s not a rhetorical question...I mean it. What does the pursuit of God mean to you? Will it drive you from your bed to come and worship him? Will it be put in front of your social plans to make sure you keep your appointed time with him? God gave us seven days. He asked us to keep one holy....how is that shoe fitting in your life?

 

Relationship says that nothing comes before and everything is after. In my relationship with my wife...nothing comes before her. Not my friends...not my art...not my entertainment...not my wishes...not even my comfort. I made a commitment to her to put her before everything else in my life except God...because God is what holds our relationship together. He is the source of our love.

 

Here in Psalms, David exemplifies why he was a man after God’s own heart. Look at his level of love for God. Early he seeks the Lord....not after he gets his goody out of life...there is desperation for the one who give him life. His flesh longs for God...in a place where deserts abound. People think nothing of running headlong into the desert of life every day and don’t give a second thought to God. Then they wonder why their lives are miserable. I think David was a little smarter than us all. He tells us that God’s lovingkindness is better than life....most in our generation choosing this life over God. Is there possibly a reason here why our world is in such pathetic shape? Desperation for God is met with His satisfying presence.


 


 

Dedication 

 

James 1:22-25


 

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25 NKJV)


 

Here is today’s challenge. It’s easy to talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? My dream and my vision for this church is to see a generation of Holy Ghost inspirers to rise up and change our communities here in the New Orleans area. It’s great to read books and watch videos. It’s fantastic to enjoy Bible studies and fellowship groups...but can you take this life and put it into action? Can you do as the Bible tells us and replicate the life Jesus gave to you?

 

I never want to see the day where this church becomes a religious relic on the side of the road. It would break my heart to think that the vision and the work of God birthed in revival twenty years ago would aspire to be anything less than a wellspring of His presence and a place where God’s spirit flows like mighty rivers into the lives of others. This place is different. This place is Mighty in God. This place is anointed to bring the hungry, the desperate, and the dedicated to a lasting relationship with the God of all. Even if God has do what he did with Gideon and get down to those ones who will greedily lap from the river as opposed to sipping saints who can take it or leave it...I’m ready for His passion...I’m ready for His presence.

 

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