This past year I did a sermon on “Sourdough Spirituality” that was, in some measures, a disaster. To help illustrate the sermon, we gave each cadet a “Herman.” (For the unknowing, a “Herman” is a sourdough starter that can exist for ages if kept warm, but not too warm. The pioneers were said to carry a “hard tack Herman” under their armpits, trekking across the new continent in wagon trains, in order to have fresh bread along the way.)
Well, when the cadets left for Christmas break, some left the Hermans in their room and some put them in suitcases—and let’s just say the results were, in some instances, explosive! As cadets returned from Christmas break or opened their suitcases, a huge surprise awaited them. I’ll think twice before repeating the sermon illustration, meant to point out that as Christians we are faith catalysts. I think the lesson learned was, be careful what the training principal hands you!
Like many Christians, I am interested in the impact that Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ is having on our country and our world. I ordered a book for the cadets called The Passion of Jesus Christ: Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper. One of the reasons listed is he came to make us holy, blameless and perfect. In case you didn’t catch it that is our doctrine of holiness in three words.
I must admit one verse hit me square between the eyes: I Corinthians 5:7 — Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Now who wants to be a lump, old or new? But before you discard the verse due to its metaphor, think what it is Paul is trying to say to us.
Essentially, he is asking us to become all we can be, “a new batch without yeast” (NIV). Paul is reminding us that we need to act transformed by getting rid of the old yeast (leaven). This is a reminder that we do not rid ourselves of the old yeast, it’s not our effort or perfectionism that accomplishes this work. Our purity is from God who removes the leaven, sin and corruption, through Christ’s sacrifice. This reminds me a great deal of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s “power of positive thinking” of years ago. As I recall it could be summarized as follows: to be it—imagine it, act it, and claim it.
The following verse tells us “Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.”
I Corinthians 5:8 NIV
God promises us a celebration, a festival, “yeast free,” pure, but we can only come as that new lump, that new batch with the leaven removed. As we think of our upcoming Prayer and Revival Summit at Crestmont College a call goes out to us all to rid ourselves of the sin leaven in our individual and corporate lives, to become what God wants us to be, holy, and to enjoy the promised celebration. There is a journey here: confession, transformation, and celebration. So often we want the results without the journey. The focus of the Prayer and Revival Summit will be on the journey and the results.
So, are you ready to be an unleavened lump? I believe renewal, revival, festival, and celebration are possible and that God has a wonderful future for our Western Territory if we confess our sins and let him transform our lives.
Hope to see you at the Summit! You can find further details and registration information in the ad below.