Recent Posts
Lowell Brueckner

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Of Bricks and Stones


I recently did this article on the Spanish blogspot and now wanted to share it in English. I have had a bookmark for a few years that keeps reminding me: "Wisdom is gained, not through study or experience alone, but by seeing the world through the eyes of God." That is impossible without the help of the Great Teacher, the Holy Spirit. The ways of God are logical and rational, but they are far beyond the logic and rationale of mere humans. You do not approach the Word of God, nor the work of God, by simply exercising your mental faculties. There must be an enlightening, which can only come through the Spirit of God. So read here about the ways of man and the ways of God... two very different views and means.

When someone lives only for God, loves people and wants them to have God’s best, idealism can sometimes become a hang-up. We have a video about Robert Sheffey, whose ministry centered on camp meetings, wonderfully used of God and forerunners of today’s family camp. Near the end of his life, he saw that it was sin to try to demand the continuance of his camps, when people in general were rejecting them. If God does not force His people to do His will, we certainly cannot. “So I gave them up...and they walked in their own counsels” (Psalms 81:12).

Still, it is hard to keep from losing sleep or to overcome the sadness inside, when God has given a taste for what they are missing. “Oh that my people would listen…I would feed them with the finest of the wheat” (vs. 13, 16). Paul admonished in Phil. 1:10 (amp.): “That you may surely learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value – recognizing the highest and the best.” Modern Christians are satisfied with far less than God’s best.

Please allow me to complain of the ache in my heart and present an idealistic case. As I read the book of Acts, I thrill to the story of the living unit called the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit possessed and led His people and they needed nothing besides. They walked in faith. They were not independents, though each fulfilled his individual purpose, but worked together and were bound by invisible cords. When the vitality was eventually lost, the historical record states that organization replaced the living organism.

God’s ways vs. human ways

A while back, I heard someone, who had been involved in a move of God from its inception, express, “When the original revival movement faded, we had to develop things in a normal way.” Ah, the mentality of our day – man’s way is the normal way; God’s way is the exception! God’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours are. It is never easy to see things as God sees them, but in an age of materialism, when great means and substance are available, it is almost impossible to dismiss the blindness.

By human reasoning, Jesus, sent to earth to start a great movement, should have been born in a palace in Rome (all roads led to Rome). In-stead, He went to economically op-pressed Israel, was born in a barn and raised in Nazareth of Galilee. He chose His disciples from the simple people. He left them to take the gospel into the whole world, with no help or guarantee, except “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The disciples themselves had great difficulty understanding Jesus. Judas was a thief, but his primary motive for delivering Jesus to the Jews was because he could not see things as Christ did. After the woman “wasted” her perfume on Jesus, the disciples, the chosen leaders of God’s great work, indignantly agreed that it was a mistake (Matt. 26:8). They were often united, but wrong. Don’t you think Judas’ decision was partly prompted by the reaction of the others? At this point, before the devil entered him, he made his fatal move: “Then…Judas Iscariot went unto the chief priests” (verse 14).

Persistence in self-motivated thinking ends in betrayal. Disciples must surrender to the mind of Christ. I am going to call man’s way of thinking “brick mentality”. Bricks are popular and practical building materials. If you have learned to lay one brick, you can build walls with that knowledge. It is interesting to make a biblical study of bricks. The Israelites, enslaved by Pharaoh, built cities of brick. The tower of Babel was a brick construction. In Isaiah 65:3, we find God provoked to anger, because His people “burned incense on altars of brick.”

Church of Christ – living stones

God has “living-stone mentality”. He commanded from the beginning that His altars should be constructed of stones, which were untouched by human tools and no man-made mortar should unify them. Jesus called Peter a stone and later Peter wrote that the church is made up of living stones. (1 Peter 2:5)

In Deut. 32:18 it states, “You deserted the Rock who fathered you.” God is a living rock, who begets living stones. They are His, before He gives them to Jesus (John 17:6), and certainly before He puts them into the hands of human leadership. I have said it for years: When leaders become possessive of people and control them, they cut off their contact with God and kill them spiritually. They form ritualistic molds to which everyone involved is expected to conform. They become bricks.

Jesus said, “Upon this Rock I will build my church.” He makes the stones to fit perfectly with one another, so that there are no crevices. There is no pattern. None are alike and they are all laid differently “In Him, the whole structure is joined together harmoniously; and it continues to rise” (Eph. 2:21-Amp.). They are alive and interactive. It is a supernatural work that Jesus alone can do and we can only cooperate. Each one has his own purpose, which he individually has received from God, distinct and different from another. Yet, he functions with the ones, by whom Christ has placed him in contact.

I recall the tears of our son, when I questioned the leading of God in his life, after he had sought and gotten His answer. He cried, “Dad, I was so happy to see God answer me so directly!” I went into the basement and wept convulsively, vowing never to interfere again with God’s leading in our children. Our children reached a point, when they came out from under our umbrella, and the same has happened to every person that we have discipled. We might provide a greenhouse for new people, in which they can be protected. I have observed that, in time, they become straggly and weak, simply because they now need the contrary elements outside, individual responsibility, and to learn to lean solely upon God.
Is organization needed? The feeding of the 5,000 was certainly an organized effort, but we must keep things in perspective. Organizations are temporal means, useful for eternal purposes. However, “the Kingdom of God comes not with observation…the Kingdom of God is within you.” Programs are tools - five loaves and two fishes, a bronze serpent, the rod of Moses, David’s sling, or the jawbone of a donkey. When Samson was done with the jawbone, he tossed it away. The problem is that organizations outlive their usefulness, become permanent and invariably, people make more of them, than what God intended that they should be. They become defensive of them, loyal to them, exclusive and very, very proud. They declare, “I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing.” Following pride comes the inevitable spiritual fall. Deceived, they happily slip into bondage, from which, about three generations later, those with any life left in them yearn to be freed.

“When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” People have accused me of living in the past. It is not so. I simply use history, as it was used in the Bible, to stir up hunger for reality and faith, from which we have fallen.

No, we must not be idealists. We go on, as best we can in the situation as we find it, but inside the discomforting gnaw continues and a desire is still aflame. Oh, for a pure move of the Spirit of God! It is my conviction that the Holy Spirit will finish his work, before He is taken from the earth, as surely as Jesus finished His, in one more world-wide sweep. Then, a Stone, cut out of the mountain without hands (Dan.2:45), will come to rule.


Post a Comment