There seems to be a wave of movement coming over many congregations across the nation, and it’s no new problem to the church, yet “for such a time as this”, DIVISION is cutting the church at our legs, and leaving us sucking up dust from the ground. And while we lay lifeless on the ground, all we can think about is how dirty we are, and why we should clean up before just getting up and continuing to RUN in this race. DISCLAIMER: yes, I will say some things about my own church, yet my purpose is simply to reveal changes that need to be made to many congregations, but should be applied to the universal church.
Over the past 3-4 months, and especially since my return from Thailand, I’ve found myself making a common mistake as a Christian, which is looking too much at my individual self, and not seeing enough of the bigger picture.
This is a call to the universal church. Some may call this prophecy, but whatever it is, there is a severe and strong warning to the church: WE MUST UNITE. WE MUST REACH THE LOST, BROKEN, and DYING in our world around us.
Not that any of this is new news, we’ve heard this for years and years, yet there has been a striking turn for many churches in the past year. During these economic times of difficulty, there should be unity and re-casting of vision for the church, yet Satan knows this is a prime time to steal, kill and destroy. Over and over again, I’ve heard repeatedly that the last year has been a very difficult for ministry. Either this means things will get better, or it means that God is preparing his church, his bride, for war, for battles, for even GREATER DIFFICULTIES to come.
How is it that we’ve become consumers and so individualistic? Our society screams these things at us, so it’s only natural that we would expect all these same requests from God, right?
Three years ago, I read “The Present Future” by Reggie McNeal, and I encourage any church leaders to read this book. I still deeply agree with most of what this author and Christian leader says about the church today. We are bound and locked into four walls, and yet we think people who are not Christians will bust through our doors looking for God. REALITY CHECK: people who are “searching” or “seekers”, in this post-modern society will NOT look for these answers in God or church. They’ll find it in other types of spirituality, or simply within themselves. Oprah’s “religion” is a perfect example of this CULTIC attitude.
Broken down to tears last night, I realized that the issues within my own church body are much greater than what so many attendees are feeling toward the letting go of/agreement that our Pastor needed to move on. The issue is not that “we don’t have a Pastor and we need one desperately”, it’s much greater. The issue is that Satan, the DECIEVER, is causing us to focus more on our own problems rather than realizing that we are in a huge battle!!! For our church specifically, there are nearby apartment complexes filled with low-income families that need to see and EXPERIENCE the LOVE of JESUS CHRIST!!!
The purpose of the church is much like the role of the synagogue was in Biblical times, more specifically the intertestamental period (also known as the 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testaments in the Bible). Everyone went weekly to the Temple to worship, make sacrifices, and give their tithing, but within Jerusalem and other cities, smaller communities of Jews used synagogues to worship more regularly, collect for the needs of their own smaller communities, and minister on a more individual basis.
The universal church needs to UNITE in our call to reach the lost and unsaved. In Matthew 28, Jesus commissioned everyone, all Christians, to preach the gospel and spread his love to the ends of the earth. Yet, he always prayed for unity for all the believers also.
I’m not saying that I’m a perfect example of all these things, but there needs to be a significant change in our mindset as Christians. We don’t want to put ourselves in a bubble so that we are untouched by the world, yet we know we are not to conform to the patterns of the world, but rather be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12). Our call is to minister to those who NEED love, who NEED grace, who just need to see the face of Christ.
I don’t intent to draw a pointing finger and my specific church in this blog, but seriously, why are we even here on earth still? Obviously God calls all his people to himself, and if we are alive and breathing, we are to be SERVING.
Sorry, on my soap box, I’ll get down now. But let us LOVE unconditionally as Christ loves, and let’s forget our own worries, wants, and hurts, and let’s SERVE our LIVING God. Let us not forget that we have God’s Spirit- the HOLY SPIRIT in our hearts. Let’s turn back to him. Let’s remember that we are in a serious battle, a serious war, and engaging in a war for souls…. That means an eternity in heaven or hell is at stake.
I recently spent a great deal of time pouring over what the Kingdom of God is, and what that looks like on earth. The truth is that this raging war, and battle is about the coming of the Kingdom of God. Yes, it will come, but part of our role is to battle and war in the coming of the Kingdom of God. Satan wants to break the church, the bride of Christ so that we are ineffective, and worthless. He wants to trip us up so that we are no longer the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, he wants to DESTROY us. Yet, we already know we have victory in Jesus Christ, and in the end, WE WIN. SO LET’S KEEP FIGHTING!