The Cleansing Sea

I just love the Sea. In the early 90’s I lived in Maui and the ocean has such a calming and cleansing effect on the human spirit. Whether you surf, swim, or just stare at it – the Sea is the place to be.

Daily Bible Reading: 2 Chron. 1-4

“He (Solomon) made a Sea–an immense round basin of cast metal fifteen feet in diameter, seven and a half feet high, and forty-five feet in circumference. Just under the rim, there were two parallel bands of something like bulls, ten to each foot and a half. The figures were cast in one piece with the Sea. The Sea was set on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east. All the bulls faced outward and supported the Sea on their hindquarters. The Sea was three inches thick and flared at the rim like a cup, or a lily. It held about 18,000 gallons.” 2 Chron. 4:2-5 MSG

This “Sea” must have been a sight to see! It was so huge they actually called it a “sea”. The main purpose for this Sea was for the priests to cleanse themselves ceremoniously before they ministered. I wonder what people thought about the Sea as they saw it. I’m sure some thought, “What a Sea of Sin! All those sins are just floating there!” But I’m sure others saw it differently, “What an incredible Sea of Mercy! Wow, they just get in there and they’re cleansed and set free!” Matthew Henry says that this “Sea” was right in front of the Temple, as if it were right at the front door of the Church. It made me think how that many today see Church. Some see it as a place of hypocrites that they avoid like the Bubonic Plague. Others though see the Church as a place of mercy, a place to be cleaned and set free. But as Christians, (and especially as Pastors), we are to be those who are daily being washed in the Blood of Jesus and cleansed in the water of the Word of God.

There were also these 12 bulls that were actually built-in to this sea – three facing in each direction. I see these bulls representing the 11 disciples (and the 12th – in my opinion is the Apostle Paul), who were send out by the Lord Jesus…

Matt 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. NKJV

And in the same way Jesus has commission us to bring cleansing to everyone in the whole world. And not only that, but we are to be so joined and melted together in a lifestyle of purity. When the world sees us they ought to see the beauty of holiness (Ps. 29:2). It’s not a contrived self-righteousness that is “holier than thou”, but it’s supernaturally natural because we are so connected to the life of God, which is holiness and purity of heart.

Are you really in the Sea of Mercy? Are you an authentic representative of Jesus Christ? Or is your life dirty and impure? As people see your life and think about God, Jesus, the Church, are they thinking, “Yeah right, just another hypocrite. No thanks”, or are they attracted by what you have and seem to represent? Wherever you’re at today there is a Sea of Mercy for you. The Lord wants you to jump in and be cleansed and refreshed in it. It’s open to anyone who wants to get in.

Micah 7:19 says, “And compassion is on its way to us. You’ll stamp out our wrongdoing. You’ll sink our sins to the bottom of the ocean” MSG.

Let the Lord sink your sins today. You’ll never be the same!


Getting Out of “Maintenance Mode”

“Maintenance Mode”,we’ve all be there. Life seems like a grind, nothing really significant takes place, and you find yourself in a vicious circle. But how do you get out?

“Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. 23 Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, 24 confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.” Colossians 3:22-24 MSG

Before I was in the ministry full-time I started out as a Custodian in my Church in Seattle. Later on I got promoted to being a full-fledged “Maintenance Man“. The job of the Maintenance Man is basically to keep everything running. If something breaks you fix it. If the gutter gets clogged you clean it. Though it’s not a real glamorous job it is a very important job. Without the Custodian and the Maintenance Man the Church would be in shambles. But when the Pastor wants to expand the Church, or build a new addition, he doesn’t call the Custodian or the Maintenance Man he calls the Architects, Contractors, and Carpenters. Why? Because the Custodian and the Maintenance Man can only maintain what is already there.

If we’re not careful we can end up as “spiritual custodians” and “spiritual maintenance people” that just take care of the bare minimum. And so often we find ourselves only shooting for the bare minimum in a particular assignment. We may not say it, but we’re thinking, “What do I have to do here?” In “Maintenance Mode” we seldom challenge ourselves by thinking, “How can I do this with a spirit of excellence and actually take it to another level?” I was challenged by the Holy Spirit lately when I heard Him say to me, “I thought you weren’t a Maintenance Man anymore?” I was convicted because so often I am just maintaining. I juggle so many balls in “Maintenance Mode” that I’m actually surprised at how seldom one of the balls is dropped! But nonetheless, God hasn’t called me to be a clown – juggling balls and entertaining young people, He’s called me to advance the Kingdom of God. And if I really want to be effective at doing just that I need to get out of “Maintenance Mode”, and be like Jesus, and get into the “Carpenter Mode” and start building something that it going to last!