- 01 Apr
I awoke today with a feeling of gratitude and awe at how Jesus loves us. Who are we that He seeks us out? We are but mere grains of sand floating on a speck called earth in the universe. Yet the creator of all, is with us, and loves us so much that while we were sinners and didn’t know Him, He gave His life for us. Why? In order that we may be reconciled to Him. What kind of love is this? At our church yesterday, we had a Presence and awe filled morning. Weeping through worship, people were ministered to powerfully and the overwhelming sense of Gods love was manifest. The very atmosphere was pregnant with love and expectancy. Man, I love this thing Jesus has called me to serve in called His church!
I believe in the Church of Jesus Christ, and I believe one Day Jesus will return for her. I will not give my life for the church, but I will give my life for Jesus and His call. But Jesus’ church is where I believe I am called to serve and build. I love our community of faith, they are amazing people. Many of whom have been through deep waters of life but have found solace, care, comfort and very often healing.
This quote or my memory of it by John Wimber sums up my feelings well in a sentence. Of Church John said – “I believe you can find your spirituality in solitude, but you can only fulfill your spiritually in the context of community.” Our church at willow is not perfect, but we are doing our best to live out Luke 4:18-19, Mat 28:20 and Acts 1:8. I love the way Derek Morphew puts it, “The church is a company of believing, confessing individuals whose eyes have been opened by the Holy Spirit to see the true-identity of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.”
In between the gathering of the church its members are scattered into society as leaven, salt and light. The gathering and scattering goes on continually, like breathing in and breathing out. When it stops, the church stops breathing and dies. The church is therefore a living, functioning and moving organism of God’s people.
Christianity is not about rules to respond to but the reality of relationship with Jesus. It’s not about what I must do, it’s what I get to do! I get to serve Jesus. I get to go to church today, I get to worship my king, I get to take communion and remember my Jesus. I get to share my heart with His people, I get to pray for the sick, the broken and the struggling. I get to hang out with fellow believers who are family in Christ. I don’t have to do any of this, I GET TO! You don’t have to serve Jesus, but because you love Him you get to. You don’t have go to church, you get to…
We are called to unity and love as the body of Christ. Let’s learn from one another, as long as we can agree that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, then let us love one another. Let’s learn from church history both the good and the bad. Let us unite around Jesus and agree to disagree on that which is not foundational to our faith. As for me church is a time, church is a place, where we can stand face to face with Jesus (I understand that you can do that anywhere). A place for the broken, a place for the strong, it’s a place to belong, a place to worship and a place to allow the Holy Spirit to be the administrator.
While the Lord gives me strength and grace I will continue to serve and be a part of a community that I love and loves me. A community that encounters His loving Presence, empowering, equipping and sending. And you know what the kicker is? Jesus is building His church, not me!
Consider this passage by Dietrich Bonhoeffer – “Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than they love the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest and sacrificial. God hates this wishful dreaming because it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. Those who dream of this idolized community demand that it be fulfilled by God, by others and by themselves. They enter the community of Christians with their demands set up by their own law and judge one another and God accordingly. It is not we who build. Christ builds the church. Whoever is mindful to build the church is surely well on the way to destroying it, for he will build a temple to idols without wishing or knowing it. We must confess he builds. We must proclaim, he builds. We must pray to him, and he will build. We do not know his plan. We cannot see whether he is building or pulling down. It may be that the times which by human standards are the times of collapse are for him the great times of construction. It may be that the times which from a human point are great times for the church are times when it’s pulled down. It is a great comfort which Jesus gives to his church. You confess, preach, bear witness to me, and I alone will build where it pleases me. Do not meddle in what is not your providence. Do what is given to you, and do it well, and you will have done enough…. Live together in the forgiveness of your sins. Forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts.”
Why wouldn’t you want to engage with and to belong to such a place? Just come as you are. Could I invite you to engage with us, or a healthy community of faith close to you? Where you don’t have to dress up. You don’t have to be a particular age. A place where you don’t need to worry what culture you come from or what you look like. And a place where please, you don’t feel the need to pretend about anything. For me church is a place where God meets seeking people who are far from perfect. That means anyone is welcome, no matter where you are in your spiritual journey. So, learn at your own pace. Ask questions. Seek. I believe you will find what you are looking for. You’ll learn how to relate to God. You’ll experience Christian community. And here’s the big thing – You’ll change. So, join a community of faith and seek God together.