Do you know her?
Hannah seems to truly
love Jesus. She volunteers for many service opportunities.
She teaches a Sunday School class and even offers to fill
in for those who are absent. She sings in the choir. She
knows everybody's business.
You see, she's known
most of the people in her church fellowship since she was
a small child. The church hasn't changed much over the years.
And Hannah spends a lot of time there.
Sadly enough, Hannah
is so busy with her church responsibilities that her heart
and her family have suffered. Her children see her getting
stressed out with her busy schedule. They don't respect
her. They don't really share her faith nor do they understand
her devotion. After all, she has no joy.
And Hannah is so busy
that her husband is just fed up. He wishes she would just
quit going to church -- he doesn't get what's so great about
it. He has never taken the time to get to know God. Why
would he want to? Hannah is so busy and stressed in her
own church work, and she complains about the church so often
(especially about that new pastor), that it doesn't seem
like a fun place to him. And Sunday is his only day off,
But Hannah would never
quit her church! Oh, it's true -- she complains a lot, and
she doesn't like the new pastor, but her friends are there.
She has many memories there. It is her social club…her identity!
If only Christ could
be her identity.
It seems that Hannah
doesn't understand that love and service to Christ must
involve a heart of devotion -- not devotion to a building,
though. A devotion to Christ Himself.
It's true -- Hannah'scommitment
is "on again off again." She is halfway in the
church, and halfway out. Why? She has a heart problem.
You see, though her parents
brought her faithfully to church as a child, and though
she still attends regularly, she never really fully embraced
the message of the Gospel.
Sure, she knows most
of the Bible stories -- the popular ones, anyway -- she
even teaches them to the children and youth of the church.
But why study the Bible? What's that going to accomplish?
She doesn't want to be some Bible scholar or preacher.
Hannah doesn't realize
that the Word is a Treasure -- one to be found and unlocked
and read, devoured, ingested for the answers to life.
So, if she doesn't know
God's Word very well, what does she do when she has a problem?
Oh, she stews. She complains.
She stops going to church for awhile. "I just need
a break until I can figure this out!" she says.
Her Sunday school class
doesn't get taught, at least not well. Even if she comes
to teach, she is late…her heart is only "halfway"
committed. Her students don't learn anything except superficial
faith and conditional commitment. And they hear her many
complaints spewing from her unhappy, uncommitted heart.
Many times her ministry
obligations fall by the wayside, and other church members
are left shouldering Hannah's responsibilities until Hannah
feels like coming back to church.
self" hops around in the world for awhile until her
problems fade a little, until she feels like seeing her
old church buddies again, until she decides to set her alarm
and actually get up for church.
It seems that Hannah's
problems just rule her spiritual life.
Hannah will tell you
that her true disgust with the church began when that new
pastor came to town. There was nothing "halfway"
about him! At first his sermons intrigued Hannah, causing
her to hunger for more. Everything about him was different,
But then, he began to
make her angry. How dare he come in to her church, the only
church she had ever been a member of, and make so many changes?
Why did he think he had the right to suggest that her heart
wasn't fully committed to the things of God? Oh, he didn't
actually come out and tell Hannah that personally, but she
could hear the insinuations in his sermons! Surely he was
looking right at her when he preached! And it made Hannah
mad and uncomfortable. How dare he!
New people began coming
into Hannah's church -- people that met God for the very
first time -- people who had experienced God's mercy, grace,
and forgiveness. People who had torn down their own walls
of pride so that they could meet Him…not halfway…but completely,
all the way. Hannah thought they were odd…too intense
about God. She and her "church buddies" didn't
welcome them into their fellowship…of course not! Hannah
even resented them for taking up space in her church building
-- sitting in her chairs, having opinions, existing.
And the last straw? It
was prayer. Oh, Hannah liked to pray, you understand, before
meals...but this new pastor was just too serious about it.
Praying so seriously in church was uncomfortable, invasive,
intimidating. You'd think he wanted to come into the church
and change everything! Praying so intently in church…how
So, slowly, Hannah was
beginning to see changes in her church…her church! Why
did things have to change!? She liked the "Halfway
House" that it had become. It had been full of people
like her! But now, things were just different. Either her
friends were leaving, or becoming more serious about God.
Oh, Hannah…where have
you been? What have you learned all those years in church?
Of course you know Christ died for you…but do you know why?
Do you know that He loves you so much that He suffered and
chose a horrible death to give you a chance at life…at deep
abiding life and worship and fellowship and prayer to the
Of course there are problems
in this world. Who doesn't have them? But the Father wants
to use your problems for the building up of His Kingdom!
Don't you know? Rescue is not always escape from
your problems. Rescue involves peace in the midst
of the storm. Do you know that peace?
God's commitment in your
life must be…well, it must be true and daily.
It is consistent, life-changing! It is wise, peaceful, and
Where is God's commitment
in your life?
Where is His joy, His
humility, His compassion? His power?
Do you realize that the
Lord Jesus is the only one who can stand in a graveyard,
call the names of the dead, and they will respond to Him?
Can you do that? Will all of your efforts accomplish that?
No! He is a God of power!
He longs to pour out that power, into your life, into your
problems, into your family, into your ministries! Oh, your
life could be so different!
If you were truly His…
Are you truly His? Do
you want to be?
No more Halfway Hannah.
I know your deeds, that you are
neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the
So because you are lukewarm
--neither hot nor cold--
I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
The man without the Spirit
does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of
for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand
because they are spiritually discerned.
I Corinthians 2:14
© 2011. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights