When The Heart Cools

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” (Revelation 2:4 NIV)

I returned this weekend from my college reunion. As always, when I am at Asbury University, I return with a full heart from experiencing the Spirit of God in so many ways.  Over the next few blog posts I want to share some of the reflections I had from that time.

God is moving in some incredible ways. We did a tour of the incredible Media and Communications building. In a time when so much of our public opinion is shaped by the media, it is more important  than ever that we have Christians who can be salt and light in the world of communication.

The building is full of memorabilia from movies and television. Some of these were gifts that reflected Alumni that worked on particular films to films made in Kentucky. everything from a broomstick from the Harry Potter series to a gold bar from the James Bond movie Goldfinger.

I was particularly stuck by the statues as you enter the building.  They are two of the statues from the movie “Prince Caspian” depicting King Edward and Queen Lucy. High King Peter is in the lobby of the bottom floor.  If you are a fan of CS Lewis, or simply the movies you will notice someone is missing. As hard as you look there is no statue of the eldest sister, Queen Susan.

Our guide told us for years people come and tour and ask, “Where is the statue of Susan?”  to which they had no answer. Because of the school’s involvement in the movie they were given three of the statues but not the last.  Try as they might, they couldn’t track it down. Finally it was discovered as a part of a permanent exhibition in Disney world.

While the set is incomplete, and I hope it remains so.  In a way it’s truer to the story.  If you are familiar with Lewis “Chronicles of Narnia” you know that Susan is indeed the lost one. As the stories continue one senses Susan is drifting from her rightful place as a Queen of Narnia. The time of glory, walking alongside Aslan, who represents Jesus is replaced with “dreams of boys makeup and stockings”.  Eventually Susan will deny there is such a place as Narnia at all, that they were simply foolish games they played as Children.  Most disturbing of all at the end as the heroes of the story approach Heaven, she is nowhere to be found.

Susan represents all those who once had a burning relationship with Jesus, but let their ardor cool.  rather than a crisis, its simply life itself that removes them from sensing the presence of God.  family, work, dreams and hopes all take the place in the person’s life once held by Jesus.

But let’s be clear their relationship with Jesus was real. Their faith  was true as was Susan’s in the story. But no matter how powerful one’s relationship with God may be, it must be sustained by the fire of the Holy Spirit. When we remove ourselves from God’s presence our hearts will cool. Jesus becomes replaced with other things.  In time we may very well find ourselves wondering if what we experienced was real in the first place.

Little wonder Jesus speaks such words of condemnation in our Scripture.  Ephesus was the “Susan” church. Jesus says I know all the good you have done. But then with anguish in His voice He says, but you have lost your first love. I have been replaced and your hearts have cooled.

What about you?  Have you allowed life to slowly push you away from the fire of God’s presence? Have your hearts cooled from the fire of the Holy Spirit? Have you continued to go through the motions of church, but lost your first love? There’s still hope. Many wrote Lewis asking about Susan’s ultimate fate. Lewis would reply “I don’t know. but there is still hope. Once a King or Queen of Narnia, always a King or Queen of Narnia.  All who have invited Jesus into their hearts are the sons and daughters of God. Come  home and warm your hearts by the fire of His spirit.

In Christ,

Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><

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Good

The Spirit of The Lord  is upon me, because He has appomited me to proclaim Good News to the Poor (Luke 4:18)

I don’t know about you, but I feel a need for some Good News today.  As we watch the world, read newspapers, view social media, there is so much Bad News out there.  Nine people senselessly gunned down in church. Entire Christian comminites annihilated in the Middle East.   People murdered at a convenience store.  Children addicted to drugs. Families broken apart by the pain of divorce. Job loss, uncertain futures.  I spent time last week at our Annual Confernce hearing about churches being closed.  Good faithful congregations have disappeared. Bad News blares at us.

All of which leaves us feeling, well, a bit poor in Spirit.  That what Bad News does, it drains our souls leaving us empty.  But if one listens closely one can hear a stronger, clearer better voice.  While the Bad News may seem stronger  because its louder we ought not be fooled. Listen and you will hear a voice saying, I have come to proclaim Good News.

Yes I watched with horror the unfolding of the murders in Charleston. I heard voices crying out loudly in anger. But then as I listened I heard other voices, voices of the faithful in that room that night stand where that young man could hear them and offer him Good News “We forgive you.  If you will repent Jesus will come to you”  A witness to the truth of Jesus and the power of love and forgiveness.  Good News.

I see no mater how hard evil factions try to slience the church through genocide they can’t silence the witness. The voices of the martyrs rise, the power of the Holy Psirt falls. Jesus moves.  People are Born again.

Maybe you are like me and you need to hear the Good News. I encourage you to listen closely. You will hear the voice of Jesus reminding you His News is Good. Jesus, our Immanuel is with us.  The power of sin has been broken. Death has lost it’s power.  God is moving in your life, you are not alone.

I’ve  chosen to name this blog efengyl which means Good News in Welsh.  In the early 1900’s in a time of great spiritual poverty in Wales, peaople began to pray. They looked for and believed in the Good News.  God came the Welsh Revivals broke out. If we began to listen to that voice, what might happen to us

in Christ,

Dr. Brian Jones <><