Archive for October, 2010
October 18th, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in » Christian Living, Church Stuff..., My Life / Family
I’m a Christian… I don’t think that’s any secret. I try to make Jesus not just an everyday part of my life, but the very central part of my life. And I’ve got an awesome church family at Missouri Valley Baptist, where I attend worship every Sunday and serve alongside some amazing people.
So you’ll understand that I was quite intrigued when I arrived home this evening to find some literature hanging on my door. The cover, facing out at me?
“CHURCH… THE WAY IT SHOULD BE”
Yes, this was a packet of information on another local church. The tagline sucked me right in. I was MOST curious to find out how church SHOULD be done.
Sadly, I was disappointed to find out that my church did just about everything wrong. Oh yeah… we’re practically hell-bound, from what I read:
- Contemporary worship? HOW COULD YOU?
- No suit and tie? HOW CAN YOU DISHONOR GOD THAT WAY?
- No King James Bible? HERETIC!
- No Sunday evening service or Wednesday night service? GET THEE AWAY FROM ME SATAN!
You see, when I read the tagline on that flyer, I erroneously assumed this church’s intent was to reach out to people outside a relationship with Jesus, maybe those who had felt burned by other churches. And it probably was (after all, they did include the plan of salvation and the pastor’s testimony). But the message, as it came across?
“Hey, if you want the good ol’ days of church again… if you’re irritated and just can’t take any more of that contemporary worship in your church… come check us out. We know how you like church. And we would love to have you come join us.”
I truly hope that this church DOES reach someone who needs Jesus. Really. If one person comes to know God as a result… all the time, energy, and dollars they’ve placed into these packets was worth it.
But my prediction of the result of these packets? This church is most likely going to suck in some disgruntled members from other churches seeking a church that offers the old Burger King promise… “Have it your way”. And those people will probably be perfectly happy worshipping God in that community… so long as it continues to do church… “THE WAY IT SHOULD BE”.
Christians? Let’s get about the business God intends. Beating back the darkness…. getting outside the walls of the church… truly making a difference in the lives of those who need Jesus most.
Shuffling of church members over personal preference just isn’t what Jesus died for.
October 12th, 2010 | 4 Comments | Posted in » Christian Living, Church Stuff..., Devotions / Bible Studies
A couple weeks back, we were challenged by one of my good friends at church to consider the following passages of Scripture. I’ve been reflecting upon it recently, and find myself with more questions than answers.
1 Corinthians 12
1Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But eagerly desire the greater gifts.
And now I will show you the most excellent way.
1 Corinthians 13
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
The church is the body of Christ, and it’s made up of many parts. Believers fill many roles, and carry many titles… Pastor, Worship Leader, Deacon, Ministry Coordinator, etc. They do many tasks in the church… teaching, service, nursery, evangelism, music… yes, even janitorial. And Scripture tells us ALL are important for the proper functioning of the body. We suffer as a whole when even one part suffers.
So what do you do when the body of Christ is dismembered? How do we begin to address the hurt and pain of a church with non-functioning members? How do we address members who have essentially amputated themselves from the church? And how do we handle members who have tried to take a chainsaw to the body itself?
Sure. The easy answer is in Chapter 13… love. If the body of Christ truly demonstrated the love of Christ to one another… if we truly cared about one another as members of the same body should, we surely wouldn’t have a dismembered church body. And we certainly wouldn’t try to tear it to pieces.
But that’s not the case in most churches… most churches are somewhat dismembered. In some churches, bodies are missing not just fingers and toes, but complete arms and legs!
You see, I can’t help but be convicted as I continue to read over these Scripture passages. And I’ve got more questions than answers.
- How do you begin to repair a dismembered church body?
- What are some practical things a believer can do to bring healing to other church members who are hurting?
- How should we address church members who bring hurt and pain to either individual members of the church body, or even to the church as a whole?
- How do we ensure we remain conscious and aware of injury to the church body?
- What can we, individually, do to help to keep the church body whole?
- How do we check ourselves to be certain that we are not the source of church body dismemberment?