Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


The Day Religion Died

What follows is a devotion written by Vince Lichlyter based on the Jonah33 song "The Strangest Day" from their new CD of the same name.

Jonah33You can see a video of Vince's story here online which tells of his descent into drug addiction beginning at the age of 13 and his subsequent conversion to Christianity.

We all have to admit that Noah Webster was a pretty sharp guy. Not only did he give us the greatest reference book of all time, the accuracy of his dictionary has to be admired. Let’s give two of his definitions a quick glance:

Religion - "the belief in a God or group of gods to be worshiped."
Relationship - "the condition of being related; connection."

Genius! That’s what this is! So, when it comes to your walk with the Lord, are you a member of a religion or are you really involved in a relationship with Him? Are your beliefs just about something or truly in Someone? I’m not saying that religion or traditions are all bad, it’s just that when you are talking about Jesus Christ, relationship is just so much better! Let me explain.

Scripture tells us that even the demons know who Christ is. When Lucifer was booted out of heaven, he took a third of the heavenly host with him because they worshipped Lucifer instead of the Lord. So it’s safe to say that even demons have “religion.” They probably even have a “relationship” with Satan as well. Look around. The world is filled with sleepwalkers who settle for religion when they could have relationship. Or they settle for a relationship with a creation rather than with the Creator. Far too many of us are lulled into a false, inferior religion of habits, distractions, and addictions instead of being transformed by the insane truth that we can actually be related to God in Christ! Ephesians 1:5 says, "He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with His pleasure and will."

The Strangest Day CD coverReligion provides identity (who you are), security (what you’re worth) and community (who you’re with). But, so can alcohol, drugs, illicit sex, gangs...and so can materialism, intellectualism, workaholism, and peer pressure. There’s only one REAL option: to wake up from whatever lifeless religion we practice and trade it all for a living relationship with Jesus Christ! Later in Ephesians, the apostle Paul writes:

"’Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.” Ephesians 5:13b-17

I didn’t wake up from my sleep walk until I was 21 years old. I was shaken awake by my parents’ prayers and by the strong love and witness of a youth pastor in my community. Isn’t it time all of us woke up? Or time we helped wake-up our friends? Don’t waste another day!

Today’s prayer: Lord, it IS the strangest day when we wake up to find that everything we think is real and meaningful ISN’T real or meaningful without You. Help me continue to lay aside anything that keeps me from growing closer to You. Lead me to share Your new life with my friends and family. Help me to understand Your will through Bible study, fellowship, and prayer with You. Thank you for the relationship I have with You through your grace and love. Amen

The band's name is taken straight from Jonah 3:3, which reads in part: "Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh." Here's another link to the same video of Vince's story here online.


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