Thursday, May 26, 2005
On the other hand...
I know tons of people who "go to church" every Sunday. Most of them don't have anything to do with each other on Monday through Saturday, but every Sunday they're in the same building at the same time, singing the same songs. I'm not sure most of them even know each other, but they at least recognize each other's faces. Because they see each other faithfully, once a week singing along (or at least moving their lips a little), listenning to the sermon (or at least propping their eyelids open and feigning interest together), and putting checks in the offering. And they call that church.
But how can we call it church when it only happens for two hours a week? How can we have fellowship when we see each other next to never? How can we call it worship, when most of us pass through 6 out of 7 days without a single thought of God? How can we call ourselves the Body of Christ, when we aren't even remotely attached to each other 85.7% of the time?
God I hope we can become the church You want us to be.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
When I look into the gazes on the crowd of faces surrounding me, if they're glazed over, I'll say it again. But I still wonder sometimes if I'm communicating in ways that people understand. Do they get it?
I wonder if the substance of the message that I share is something that will change the hearts and actions of the people I share it with. I wonder if the people I share it with absorb any of it. I think if I'm true to the Word of God, then that will definitely shape the hearts that allow it to soak in.
I guess that's God's business then, and mine is just to be what He wants me to be and deliver the news He asks me to deliver.
Friday, May 20, 2005
I was reading Psalm 23 today and noticed something I've never noticed before. (I kind of feel dumb that I didn't see it there one of the hundreds of times I've heard this verse before.) Maybe it's the way the verses are broken up by numbers, or the way the verse is usually reserved for funerals and memorials, but for whatever reason I never noticed this before: (now forget about verse numbers & funerals for a second and read this)
"He guides me along the right paths for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me..."
I've kind of always known this (counter to what some people think of their Christian religion), but I've never noticed it in this Psalm before - if I follow God, He may lead me to and through dark places. Sometimes church people live as if God is always making them "lie down in green pastures" next to still waters. But don't ever forget that the path of righteousness leads us on a rescue mission right through the middle of the valley of the shadow of death! (Picture Frodo & Sam approaching Mordor.)
:: Real Courage isn't wearing a No Fear t-shirt as you soar over a fun box; it's following your creator into the depths of your "Mordor" knowing that He's there with You.
:: If your life is all about still waters and green pastures, you may need to stop grazing and figure out where the Shepherd went.
Monday, May 16, 2005
This is one of the kids I stayed with last year in Venezuela. His smile was about the only thing I could understand sometimes, but he was a great kid to be around. He's got a tough road ahead of him. I pray God will put someone in his life to show him the way to be the man God is calling him to be.
Jesus came to establish a new covenant between God and people that would bring the dead to life, but 2000 years later, the church (or at least what is called the church) too often seems more interested in maintaining its' own existence than in bringing spiritual life to the sick, dying, and dead. We've become more concerned with 'keeping the faith' than proclaiming the Gospel.
But religious dedication to a system of services and rites is not what faith is all about. Faith is about listenning for the heartbeat of God and dancing to His rhythm. Faith is about following Jesus through the fires of life, even if you're not sure you'll come out on the other side. Faith is about being His Body, working to show people His Kingdom.
God, I hope the people called Christians will become a tribe of followers who step in faith where You lead - even if it is where others have never stepped.
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