Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Short Bus Excursion?

The following is an excerpt from Francis Chan's Forgotten God (p. 152-53)

We Were Family
   "A while back a fomer gang member came to our church. He was heavily tattooed and rough around the edges, but he was curious to see what church as like. He had a relationship with Jesus and seemed to get fairly involved with the church.
   After a few months, I found out the guy was no longer coming to the church. When asked why he didn't come anymore, he gave the following explanation: "I had the wrong idea of what church was going to be like. When I joined the church, I thought it was going to be like joining a gang. You see, in the ganges we weren't just nice to each other once a week -- we were family." That killed me because I knew that what he expected is what the church is in intended to be. It saddened me to think that a gang could paint a bettter picture of commitment, loyalty, and family than the local chuch today."

My Thoughts
I mentioned this book the other day to Kate -- she wants to do a book club this summer and read Francis Chan's Crazy Love. (To that I say YES, YES, YES!) But I decided to skim through someone the pages that I had marked in Forgotten God. This book talks about how we neglect the Holy Spirit and how because of this neglect, Christians and the church, as a whole, lack the power and effectiveness that we see in Scripture as we learn about the early church. (Read Acts 2:42-47)

This particular excerpt really stuck out. As I was reading, I couldn't help but think, "This is so sad and so true!"  The church isn't a building. The church isn't about services on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. The church is about community. It was built and intended to be a place where people shared everything. If someone has abundance, they give so that those who are lacking can have their needs met. The church is supposed to be a place of love and acceptance...not 'I love you and support you' lip service followed up with no action.

The Holy Spirit is the only way that the church could even begin to walk this out. We could never be this sort of community on our own - obvious since most churches I enter would only be desribed like this by the delusional members of their congregation. It is not that the Holy Spirit isn't present...that's just not possible. The Holy Spirit is available to every believer. What is possible is that we are hindering or quenching the Spirit's work with the way we walk out our faith every single day.

I get so tired of talking. (Ya, that's kinda funny coming from me, I know!) But seriously, how long can we really TALK about doing something? How long can we TALK about ways to make a difference? How long can we TALK about how we can help someone? How long do we need to TALK in board meetings -- usually a lot more talking than praying, right?

James 5:17 says, "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently..."
The only advantage a godly man like Elijah had over me is that he prayed 'fervently'?

So basically, God gave me a hammer to pound the nail and I'm still using my shoe? What a 'tard!  Seriously, can we stop talking and start praying - allowing it to permeate all that we do? Can we stop worrying about what we want and start asking God what He wants? Can we start building the church in the strength of the Spirit and not by our own means?

It's time to get off of the short bus, people...we have a LOT of work to do!

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