Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Love, Acceptance, and Forgiveness Chp 3

Chapter 3 of Love, Acceptance, and Forgiveness is titled "The Church as a Force" and really if any of you have read Monday Morning Church then this chapter is just a pre cursor to that book. Still some of my favorite quotes I will post here in case you haven't read either.

"When people differentiate between the church and Christ, when they say,  'We're going to write off the church but we surely do love and believe in Jesus,' something is seriously wrong."
* This is something that I felt for a while. Never will I turn my back on my Savior, where else would I go but if I stop going to Hillside I doubt I will ever step foot in another church again. That's how tired I am of the things that go on when people gather together for the purpose of glorifying God and encouraging each other, this isn't what I have seen over the years. More like a social club that makes each other feel good and isolates, judges and criticizes everyone including themselves all in the name of church.
"When we think that the believer's meeting place is where the work is to be done, we have departed from the concept Jesus originally established. Instead of the world being the field, we have made the church the field."
*Again nothing happens up on that Hill and in those four walls that couldn't be happening in my living room or in my car or at the Grocery store. In fact I think the more powerful life changing moments don't happen there.

*This is the part of the book that really changed my whole way of thinking about church.
"Ministry becomes a positional identity within the organization. That is, if you are going to minister you must be a director of something or minister of something or associate of something. You will have a title and a position within the organizational structure. As a result, the individual member is easily misled about the meaning of Christian service and is often reduced to a spectator. You see, once he's in the field, unless he wins a position he has little relevance except to help keep the machine going"
*I remember reading that for the first time and it was like a light bulb lit up and I finally realized why it made me want to vomit in my mouth every time I was introduced as a position instead of a person. It still makes me sick the way that we as human beings look to a person for a position only Jesus and Jesus alone should fill. So then what are we to do with the church as a field instead of a force mentality? How do we change ? Do we want to change? I do believe this kind of change takes time and alot of changes that are uncomfortable and even frightening. In the end though it is so worth it and really is what I believe Jesus would want us to do. 

This chapter really is so good. There is one part that made me laugh when he talked about in the early days he wanted to start a commune, sound like anyone else we know?  He then says, 

"This was how I finally awoke to the fact that God didn't want us to be separate subculture, He wanted us to penetrate every segment of the society in which He had placed us."  
*This is something that I want to be about.
One final quote that gets the wheels spinning, "Among other things, I'm saying that we need to direct the church away from professionalism and into the hands of people who do not know what they are doing." 
* What does that look like, really?  Why isn't it happening right now? How do we get to this place that sounds so right and yet seems so far off?
Okay maybe just one more quote, "People get bored just waiting for heaven. So what do they do? They start complaining, griping, gossiping.  The reason they are bored is that they don't know what they are saved for. They know what they are saved from and what they are saved to but not what they are saved for."
* This reminds me of that scripture that says, " Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and for which you confessed the good confession of faith before many witnesses." 1 Tim 6:12
That's what I want to do. I want to remember always why my life is different because of what Jesus has done and continues to do for me and I want to spend my time and energy on thanking Him in everyday ways by loving Him and His people. Still if I am being honest I get tired and weary and I need to be reminded of this and do you know who reminds me? My friends, family and others who are walking out this fight of faith. I am thankful for them. For their honesty and sincerity in their personal struggles for they remind me of why we need each other , why there needs to be a walking church everyday.


David E. Holt said...

You're not the only one who feels that way! As a pastor I began a new church for others who were tired of "playing" at church. One of the men - whom I had the privilege of baptizing into our fellowship of believers,- told me he had "a PhD in church" and had decided never to attend again. He later became chairman of our board. We reached solid believers in Christ who recognized the need for helping those who had been beaten up, burned out, bored out,worn out and used up by "church," many of whom had missed the wonder of a personal relationship with the Head of the church, Christ. The problem is not finding those who will support a well balanced ministry of this kind, it is in finding pastors who will risk themselves in leading, or even understanding this kind of ministry. I've tried to choreograph what it takes and what I've learned in my book ABCs Of Ministry: Choosing It, Learning It, Doing It, After It.
David, fsdeh@embarqmail.com

noel said...

David- thanks for your comment and for the work that you are doing. It is good to know there are others out there that are trying to get this thing called church right.

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