The Importance Of A Missions Altar
By Harlan Morgan
When we moved to Chanute, Kansas in January of 1980, we began holding church services in our little home at 213 West Fourth Street. After living in Chanute for a few months, my dad was able to acquire a church building which had a living quarters. We sold the house on Fourth Street and moved into the living quarters in the back of the church.
It seemed the church building had everything a home missionary would need…a single row of about 10 pews, two Sunday School rooms, an office for the pastor, a single microphone and box amplifier. We purchased an old upright piano from a neighbor across the street, and it seemed we were ready to have church.
One thing was missing, however…the altar. The church had no altar.
Dad wasted no time in traveling down to the local lumber yard and purchased supplies to build an altar. My brother and I watched him as he sawed the lumber, fitted the pieces together, and constructed the altar. We assisted in whatever ways we could.
Dad taught us something very valuable that day that many are failing to teach their children in our generation…how to build an altar! Oh, Dad did more than teach us to build a physical piece of church furniture. His consistent approach to daily prayer taught us the importance of having a spiritual altar in our lives.
We Must Have An Alter For Our Own Benefit
It is impossible to live for God with a carnal mind. The carnal mind is the enemy of God and is not willing to be subjected to the law of God…indeed, it cannot be! To be spiritually minded, one must continually stir up the gift of God that is within him.
Oh sure, we can dress the part, refrain from going to the places we shouldn’t, and keep all of the rules of the church, but if we do not maintain our spirituality by consistly visiting our personal altar, we will not be saved. The house is painted but nobody’s home! “If that Spirit which raised Christ from the dead DWELL in you, it shall also quicken your mortal bodies.” That Spirit must DWELL in us. The Spirit of God must be maintained within us. This is not accomplished in its totality simply by attending church. One must maintain the fire upon his personal altar.
We Must Build An Altar For The Benefit Of Our Children
As I have previously mentioned, my parents provided exemplary teaching on altar building through their lives. How many nights did I hear my father pray? How many mornings have I awakened to hear the sounds of my mother’s prayers?
A generation arises that knows not the Lord because they do not develop a relationship with the Lord for themselves. If we expect our children to worship, we must exemplify worship. If we expect our children to give offerings and pay tithes, we must do it ourselves. If we want our children to obey the commission and be witnesses, we must be involved in outreach. If we expect our children to pray, they must see us involved in prayer. Our homes should be an altar unto the Lord.
We Must Build An Altar For The Benefit Of The Lost of the World
There are those whom we all love who do not have an altar. They have either never built an altar, or they have allowed their altars to fall into disrepair. They have left the house of the Lord and are living in sin. We must build an altar for those will not build one for themselves.
The Word says, “I sought for a man among them who would make up the hedge and stand in the gap, and I found none.” We must have an altar of intercession in our lives for the benefit of the lost!
There are many things we could do without in the church today if necessary. We could live without our organs, pianos, guitars, PA systems, Sunday School programs, children’s ministry, choirs, singing groups, and so many other things we deem important in today’s church. In fact, if necessary, we could meet in a pine thicket and have church.
Too often, we have substituted the things we could do without for the one thing we need the most…THE ALTAR! We have chosen the SUPERFICIAL things of life over the SUPERNATURAL things of the Spirit. We have learned how to PLAY instead of PRAY. We have learned how to ENTERTAIN instead of INTERCEDE. Where is the travail of the saints? Where are the groanings which cannot be uttered? Where are the preachers with a fire in their bellies and saints with a passion for Christianity?
God, help us find our way back to the thing Pentecost needs the most…THE ALTAR!
This article “The Importance Of An Altar” written by Harlan Morgan is excerpted from Apostolic Witness Magazine a September 2005 edition.