Living the Adventure

Altar or Alter?

I must admit that I tend to discover typographical errors in church bulletins, church outdoor signs and on websites. I will admit these errors are also found here in the Adventure Journal and in my own personal writings and sermons. Sometimes I will be reading over my sermon or in the midst of sharing it with an audience when I find a huge mistake that might change the whole direction of the message.

On several occasions recently, I have seen the term “alter” used to explain the place in the front of the church where people kneel to pray and/or take communion. If you are much of a spelling curmudgeon, you know that the place for prayer, sacrifice, and religious posturing is “altar”, not “alter”. Yet, as I have witnessed this mistake, I have discovered it may be a misspelling that speaks a lot of truth.

The altar, in my religious upbringing and faith formation, was a place of prayer, repentance, receiving, healing, and calling. My decision to follow Jesus and seek forgiveness of my sins came at the altar at Zion’s Hill Camp in-between Fairfield and Albion. I have recommitted to my faith and experienced sanctification at the altar at Epworth Camp in Louisville, Illinois. It was also at that altar that I witnessed people receiving healing of physical and emotional ailments. It was also the place of my receiving God’s call upon my life to enter full-time Christian ministry as my vocation. More recently, the altar has become a place of empowerment and sending as I have experienced the church laying hands on me as I am sent out to international destinations to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

As I consider my own experience and the experiences of many testimonies, I discover there is a lot of altering that happens at the altar. My life-trajectory formed in my own selfish desires is altered when I surrender to follow

Jesus’ adventure set out for me. The sin and death in my life is altered as I am redeemed and brought to life through the grace and power of God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The healing I experience in mind, body, soul, and spirit is an altering of the power of disease, frustration, disappointment, and lack of discipline to experience freedom, health, peace, and hope in my life.

I am altered at the altar.

2 Corinthians 5:17 speaks to this altering (transformation) when we read, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.” Are you being made new (altered)? When was the last time you visited the altar to receive the altering (transformation) only Christ can bring?

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