Monday, November 24, 2014

Country Club or Hospital

Country Club or Hospital?

Well, I'm back to thinking again.  It seems to me that many churches are in a struggle to define who they really are and what their purpose is.  They try church growth methods, programs and special events.  All of these can be good to focus us and maybe create some enthusiasm BUT they do NOT define who we are.  In fact, in observing many churches, one might think that they are just duplicates of the Corinthian church, "having a form of godliness but denying the power...".

Here's what I am thinking, we have often made our churches little country clubs.  Oh, we do good but in order to be part of our church ("country club") you must conform to our set of standards and lifestyle.  Now it varies with each church what those standards and lifestyles are BUT it is all about conformity.  We spiritualize it by saying we are just trying to protect the church OR keep it holy.  Have we forgotten that Christ said HE would present His Church blameless?  It really is NOT our job!

We need to become hospitals, bringing healing not conformity.  We need to be safe places where the hurting can be open and transparent without fear of rejection or recrimination.  Now becoming hospitals will definitely bring change.  It will bring change in budgeting, focus, programming, lifestyle and the Spirit within the church.  It will mean people will come AND stay, who are dirty (physically, emotionally and spiritually).  It will also mean people will come who are hurting from addictions, abuse, guilt and hopelessness.  Your church may even become seen as the "garbage collecting" church BUT you will be doing what Jesus commands us to do, LOVE (do well for).  Love will absolutely transform your church through the power of the Holy Spirit.

We have a choice.  try to transform our world by attempting to make people adopt our standards and lifestyle OR actually transform the world by loving people where they are and bring healing by letting the Holy Spirit transform them in His time and His way.

Really, it is just a matter of law (country club) or love (hospital), but then again, it is just me, thinking!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Just Thinking!

Just Thinking!

We seem to be living in a morally divided world.  In some ways, things are black and white while in other ways things are blurred and relative.  The problem is the lines of right and wrong shift daily.  Right and wrong often depends on the news of the day and how it is slanted. That is what happens when there is no absolute authority.  Unfortunately, that is the world in which we live.

This blurring and continual changing of right and wrong seems to have infected the Church too.  The issues are often different but the message it sends to our world is very confusing and often detrimental.  However, it really is nothing new as even the Apostle Paul dealt with it.  You've heard it numerous times, this denomination or church is right and that one is wrong or that one doesn't follow the Word.  More often than not, what they are really saying is, "They are wrong because they don't agree with our interpretation of the Scripture."

Maybe it is time for the church to be less rigid in their positions and leave the judgment of other churches and denominations to God.  The truth is we won't really know who had the right interpretation until we get to heaven because we can all proof text our positions.  Whether we are once saved or not; speak in tongues or don't; baptize through emersion, sprinkling or pouring; have traditional or contemporary worship; and the list could on.  When we engage in that judgmental activity we are really dealing with non-essentials and it is divisive and destructive to the growth of the Church.  The essential truth is Jesus is God.  He came, lived among us, died for us, rose again and is coming back.  He did all this because He loved us as we were!  Maybe that ought to be our focus.  Maybe it is time for Christ's Church to come together and unify under the essential things!  Isn't it time to live out what John Wesley said, "In the essentials - unity; in the non-essential - liberty; and in everything - LOVE"?

Unity in Christ's Church would do much more to evangelize the world than all our differences put together.  Unity would release the Holy Spirit to work in more powerful ways and demonstrate to the world what real love looks like.  That would be appealing and transforming!

Just thinking!