*A disclaimer of sorts:
When I clicked “Publish Post” after finishing this one, it felt messy and undone. I published it anyway.
I’ve been following Jesus for a while now.
Sometimes from a distance.
Somtimes it looks more like “Where’s Waldo”, when I get lost in the busyness of life’s demands and I just plain lose track of Jesus. Where He went, what He’s doing, and how I fit into it.
And in the interest of giving credit where credit is due, I’ll tell you that these thoughts you’re about to read were spurred by a blog I recently read. You can find it here. If you’ve got the time, read it and come back here.
You back? Good.
I recently had a great conversation with my boss. Now, to my knowledge, he doesn’t read my blog so it’s okay for me to say that I really like this guy, and its not considered brown-nosing. Right?
One of the things we were talking about was the Church. And just so we’re clear, when I say “Church”, I’m referring to the worldwide collection of Bible-believing, Jesus-following, counter-culture, blessing people wherever they go, children of God. And when I say “God”, I’m referring to the Creator of everything we see, every galaxy, every planet, every star, every tree, every mountain, every person. I’m referring to the God of Abraham, Moses, Isaac, and Jacob. The God they call “Yahweh”. That’s the God I love, serve, and live for.
The Church is God’s vehicle for His message of forgiveness to the world. The problem is, the Church has historically spoken from a pedestal. Therefore, the message has been discredited. Not less true, just less heard. The other day I was listening to a song by Casting Crowns called “What this world needs”. There’s a brief part in the song where a few different people speak. With their words, they lament the condition of the Church today. Their conclusion seems to be that Jesus wants to save the world, and the best thing the Church can do is “get out of the way”. While I appreciate the direction from which these words are coming and certainly the good intentions with which they were spoken, they represent a flawed theology, if I can say it that way.
As I spoke with my boss that day, I remember saying (and I still believe it) that if the Church (re-read defintion above) actually behaved the way we should, there would be no need to any other charity organization. No homeless missions. No Salvation Army. No Meals-On-Wheels. No World Vision. None of those organizations would have come to be if the Church lived out its Christ-given mandates to their fullest.
In case you’ve never heard the song I mentioned, I’m throwing it in for free.
The truth is, the Church IS the vehicle for God’s message of forgiveness, for grace, for unconditional love, for a movement of people who not only live to bless humanity, but will not allow that “silent witness” to be enough. And while the packaging might and should change, the content will never. The message of Jesus is the only answer that addresses the question that is indelibly asked by every human soul, no matter what their confession.
So, while “go to church” sounds responsible or nice or even “American” in some places, “be the Church God envisioned and instructed from its birth” sounds a lot more compelling. The thing is, there is not one without the other. There is no movement of God apart from the people God inhabits. And those people, those redeemed, we who are “called out” ought never to communicate anything but love, compassion, and mercy. Not judgment, not condescension, not malice, not hatred, not political correctness. We simply bless. First in deed, then in words. This was Jesus’ life and how He treated us. And so we must treat all people likewise.
Now, I don’t like it when people say “Now, I know what you’re thinking….” and then proceed to tell me what I’m supposedly thinking. So, I’m not going to do that. I’m simply going to ask what you’re thinking. Is what I’ve written here even worth responding to? What thoughts have surfaced in your mind as you’ve read this blog post? I’d love to hear them.