I can always tell when a day will be a challenge. This morning I received very clear indicators that today would be a challenge. I woke up in a bit of a fog and couldn’t really pull any unscrambled thoughts from my head. The one I did pull from the massive paperweight, called my brain, was that today was Thursday. Unfortunately my husband quickly ended that delusion. Then I got behind a HUGE truck on my commute to work in the first mile from home. When I started lamenting the truck in front of me….I stopped.
Okay, so we were just discussing “perspective” in our women’s Bible Study and how it can affect our whole experience. So I am going to CHOOSE to allow my perspective about this being WEDNESDAY and this giant TRUCK in front of me to be negative. Oh no you don’t Satan! Today is a gift from God and it holds treasures that I am not going to miss because I sit around pouting that it’s ONLY Wednesday. I decided the truck in front of me was carrying grace to someone who desperately needed it! It actually made me smile thinking how grateful I am that a whole new “truck full” of grace comes to me each morning.
I now sit here, preparing to start my work day and I was a bit concerned about being able to pull together my random thoughts into something decipherable…but I decided to share about this book I’m reading.
I LOVE to read. I especially love to read well-written books that make me think. Books that force me out of my comfort zone and spawn a need to dig deeper are my favorite. I am reading George Barna’s “Revolution”, and I’m telling you, not since “The Celestine Prophecy” has there been this personal need to dig deeper. It could be any number of things or just where I am in my own journey…but let me share a passage from my reading yesterday. Barna is speaking about a sub-nation of people who are called “Revolutionaries”:
“They have no use for churches that play religious games, whether those games are worship services that drone on without the presence of God or ministry programs that bear no spiritual fruit. Revolutionaries eschew ministries that compromise or soft sell our sinful nature to expand organizational turf. They refuse to follow people in ministry leadership positions who cast a personal vision rather than God’s, who seek popularity rather than the proclamation of truth in their public statements, or who are more concerned about their own legacy than that of Jesus Christ. They refuse to donate one more dollar to man-made monuments that mark their own achievements and guarantee their place in history. They are unimpressed by accredited degrees and endowed chairs in Christian colleges and seminaries that produce young people incapable of defending the Bible or unwilling to devote their lives to serving others. And Revolutionaries are embarrassed by language that promises Christian love and holiness but turns out to be all sizzle and no substance.”
WOW! Now, I’m not ready to DEFINE myself as a “Revolutionary” or be a part of any movement, but so much of that paragraph rang true in my head, based on my own church experiences over the years. I am thankful to be a part of a church, NOW, that while some of them they may struggle in trying to identify themselves with a denomination, their heart is about Jesus. They want to serve Jesus. They want to grow in their understanding and discernment.
My fear for all of us in this “formal” setting is that the passion would die. That the excitement of being in a new church, the excitement of helping and serving in so many areas, the excitement of a young, energetic, challenging pastor, would not be enough to push us out of our comfort zones into the very LIFESTYLE that the church is called to be in Acts. My fear is that the passion would be about all these things, instead of Jesus and His desire for us. My fear is that our focus on anything except Jesus is nothing more than idol-worship, or worse yet…complacent comfort!
I am not saying that being a part of a “church” is supposed to be uncomfortable. What I am saying is that based on Biblical teaching, we are so far from being a “church”, that if we ever did get close to the examples we have been given, it would be SO uncomfortable. Let’s be honest, our focus is on self! We are consumed with how we feel and how we are affected and how we are heard and blah, blah, blah! I’m guilty of it too! I hate that about myself. I hate that my inward focus crushes the very Spirit of God within me. I hate that every day it’s a physical struggle to choose to put others first.
I’m going to go to my ‘truck of grace’ now and try to recoup from this diatribe before I actually start any verbal communicating in a work setting, YIKES!