Sunday, December 27, 2015

True Diversity in Gods Church

I was recently reminded in one of his Facebook posts that Franklin Graham didn’t seek or receive salvation through Jesus Christ until the age of 22; is that because his parents, iconic Gospel Crusader Billy Graham and wife Ruth did a poor job of explaining and presenting Jesus to their son?

WeRKlay’s own Marie – raised in a dysfunctional, unbelieving, witchcraft practicing broken home with alcoholic adults and angry, unhappy half siblings sought the Lord from the tender age of 3; is that because her parents managed to convey Jesus while only using His name to express anger or frustration?

All of our children have seen and heard the gospel message.  They have witnessed our struggles; our failures along with our prayers and triumphs through Christ.  Some of them have chosen to follow us in faith and are experiencing their own relationship with God Almighty.  Some continue to struggle with faith.  Some have not received and we continue to pray for their deliverance and salvation.

There is no pat, certain, one size fits all path to relationship with the God of the Universe.

A majority of those who call themselves Believers suffer a sad sameness to their conversion experiences simply because of the interfering actions of man.  Mans unquenchable thirst for power and control even over the very souls of other men leading to the demand they suffer a watered down inauguration into the Kingdom of Eternal Life that caters to those who delude themselves into thinking they are in charge!  

 Uninspired, uninspiring believers who believe arriving at a building at a specified time each week and sitting docilely in the pews, giving their attention to another, lecturing on the things of God as if they can be contained and delivered as regularly as the electric bill.

Mans tired attempts to steal Gods glory always fizzling out to mere sparklers; while God invents an extraordinary unique display to mark the beginning of each NEW LIFE IN CHRIST!  For God is infinitely creative and will never run out of stunning ways to birth each child into His Kingdom.

God orchestrates sensational introductions; man only interferes and presents a stumbling block.

Saul, met on the road to Damascus by a spectacular light and booming voice.
Peter, instantly enchanted by the depth of quiet strength to follow without question or hesitation God come in human form as Jesus His Son.

Malchus, from servant status instantly inducted into the role of healed recipient amidst the dramatic excitement of arresting the King of Kings; sudden pain of a severed ear miraculously reattached.

David, diligently watching over the welfare of his father’s sheep.  An innocent call to join his brothers at the house; fully doused with oil and before he grasps what is occurring he is anointed by Samuel; announced as the next rightful King of all Israel!

John, performing the tasks assigned in obedience to the voice that has led him all his life now confronted by He Who is I Am for humble baptism in the Jordon River by this same, convinced he is unworthy, loyal child of the Living God.

God uses the analogy of sheep to describe relationship between King and subjects only because it was a connection the people of the time could easily understand.  It was not that He intended His people’s relationships with Him to actually resemble that of idle, unimaginative, dull witted sheep!

The Apostle Paul tried to convey the complexities of differences while adhering to the simple yet profound theory of One Body.

Each and every individual has a path, uniquely crafted by a loving, creative, all powerful and all-knowing God.  To find that path they must set out on the adventure fully expecting to be led by the Holy Spirit alone.

The gathering of the saints was intended to be a time of equipping and encouraging for the real work of the ministry which is out there, in the world, in the highways and byways and back alleys and offices and cubicles and sidewalks and side roads where people everywhere are wandering and lost and not even aware they are in need of a Savior to deliver them out of eternal bleak and blackness to Eternal Light and Love and Life through Christ Jesus the Lord!

We’ve allowed the gathering itself to be the be-all and end-all event.  We seem to think the work of the ministry is cleaning that building and serving those people and sitting in those seats week after week, year after year until finally our tired and worn out bodies make a last trip up its aisle in a wood box and then return to God from whence we came, to explain how pleased He should be that we sat and sat and sat in that seat for 30 or 40 years!

If the Great Commission to every believer is to share the gospel with those who haven’t heard it, and the church is full of those who know it – WHY ARE WE SITTING IN THESE BUILDINGS WEEK AFTER WEEK? 

Is it because we aren’t being equipped?  Do we still lack understanding of our purpose?  Are we waiting for some new instructions from the Lord?  Do we honestly believe that if someone is going to hear the gospel from us they should darn well get themselves into the building we are occupying at the appointed times we’ve set to be there so we can tell it to them????

I’ve asked this question before and I will ask it again….is the model we are following for “church services” broken?  Is there a better model?

I think there is.  Paul just barely describes it in Corinthians, but it certainly hints at something other than what I witness in our churches today.  Take a look, see what you think, and then join us in prayer…praying the saints will open their hearts and hear from God and adjust how we come together to a more productive end result.  I truly believe there can be one, don’t you?

 I Corinthians 14: 26-33 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

We certainly should be gathering.  And the first order of business?  I Corinthians 14:1  PURSUE LOVE.  Our first order of business is the same as Gods own, the same Jesus portrayed as He walked this earth; to love others.  Not the romantic, mushy, teary kind of love.  True love. Love that lifts the hearts and causes change that blesses.  Love that meets needs and draws others closer to the God Who loves them.  Love that is practical in it's application, illogical in it's loyalty, limitless in its giving.  Love that is real and honest and raw and gets right down to the true heart of every person.  Love that never fails!

Next; PROPHESY.  This isn’t about telling everyone’s fortune!  To prophesy is to “speak forth the marvelous works of God.  To speak forth God’s truth”. 

Read the words of Paul. 

“He who prophesies speaks
EDIFICATION- moral improvement or guidance
EXHORTATION-a discourse or address conveying URGENT advice or recommendations
COMFORT TO MEN-relief or consolation of affliction

These are the things we all need, regularly!  And the very best way to learn something is to teach it to others.  So the best teacher any of us will ever encounter is when we teach and preach what we are learning!

Every week, two or three should be sharing edifying words, exhortation to build the Body of Christ in love and comfort to those who are afflicted in one way or another.

In this way, we are ALL PRODUCTIVE MEMBERS OF THE BODY
WE ARE ALL GROWING
WE ARE ALL TEACHING
WE ARE ALL ACCOUNTABLE
WE ARE ALL ACTIVE

A well ordered church must have CHRIST as it’s only HEAD, an administrator who coordinates churchwide activities in the community and an ACTIVE, INVOLVED, PARTICIPATING BODY OF BELIEVERS.

Talk about starting a movement!  The more I read Gods word, the deeper I become convicted and convinced that being actively involved in the world and lives of those around us was, is and always will be Gods greatest gift and call to action for every one of us.

This Sunday when I gather with other saints of God, my heart will be listening for my assignment for the coming week, for the encouragement I need to be strengthened and the reminder I need that God is for me!  What about you?




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