Thursday, January 04, 2007

Well, it happened

Warning! Long Post.

For a few months now I've been struggling with my thoughts in relation to church. Not being a member of one presently has allowed God to stretch me in my thoughts and in my prayers. I didn't leave my church b/c of these thoughts or b/c of any anger at the church as a whole. In fact, I doubt my mind would have wandered into uncharted, dare I say radical, thinking if I had still been a part of that healthy church. Which may be the very reason God urged me to leave. My parents always said that God has predestined me for something grand, maybe this is it.

With that said, here's the big stuff slamming around inside my head........
-Am I really trying to be like Jesus as the Bible says?
-If Jesus were here today, would He be in our church on Sunday morning?
-What am I, or should I be, physically doing to be like Jesus? (What is Missional-Thinking and how can I apply it to my life?)
-When I speak about my beliefs, how can I get convince the "religious" people I love?
-Is going to church just an easy, dare I say lazy, way out to follow God?
And then the defensive issues........
-Are churches doing something wrong by pulling people together on a regular basis?
-Why does everyone rooted in the church cry foul when people suggest Jesus wouldn't be in a church on Sunday morning?
-The established church has been around for 1700 years, can it really be all that bad?
-Doesn't Missional-Christianity have a place within the established church?

I have many answers to these questions, but none of them seem to blend together to look like any kind of educated anything. All I know is that God is working on me, and I desperately want to do what He wants.

The issue that raises the most hairs is the church meeting/building one. I grew up very "churched." My Dad was [and is] a very talented musician, and he traveled all over to sing, play, and preach. Our family would often travel with him. So besides doing the 3-times-a-week at our home church like most people talk about, there were times I was in church services every day and even sometimes did 3-times-a-day. I say that not to boast but rather to emphasize my roots. Going to church just wasn't questioned. It's what we did and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. God is not asking me to question is going to church right, but rather is it enough?
I really don't think so. Which goes right into my next thoughts.........

Besides the [what has become] cliche bracelet wearing WWJD stuff, I know that just going to church every Sunday is not what it takes to be like Jesus. I'm pretty sure the church today isn't doing what Jesus would do. Bold statement, huh? You bet it is! I'm pretty sure Jesus wouldn't be talking about feeding the poor; he'd be doing it. I'm pretty sure Jesus wouldn't be listening to someone talking about witnessing to the lost; He'd be doing it. And I'm pretty sure Jesus wouldn't be holed up in a building once a week getting His God fix; He'd be out daily showing God's love to all he came in contact with. So how do I do that? There's my dilemma.

I truly feel that all Christians should be trying to be like Jesus. The Bible demands us to do that. So when's the last time you actually physically fed the poor? When's the last time you went to a prostitute's house and witnessed to her and her family? When's the last time you skipped the service on Sunday and instead walked through a field with those you were mentoring? When's the last time you prayed for hours and hours? Jesus did all these things and yet we don't. The excuses range from I sent in some money, it's illegal to visit a prostitute, I have responsibilities at church, we live in a different time with more time constraints. Sound familiar? But you don't get off on those technicalities. Those are things that Jesus did and we are told to do what Jesus did.

So anyway, where does that leave me? Confused. Scared. And more. I lead a guys Bible study every week. Out of Ephesians 2, I asked them when was the last time any of them did something physically for someone else to change their lives. [Jesus did something pretty physical for us, didn't he? Aren't we trying to be like him? That means actually doing something physical.] All of a sudden, it happened. Under the leading of my friend Andrew, ideas were flying, money was being thrown on the table, and I was being challenged with the notion that our group was becoming just like any old church were all we did was study and talk and never acted. We ended up taking $29 to Pizza Hut and telling them to pay for the next person's pizza with instructions to tell the customer that someone wanted to bless them. Next week we're all bringing food and diapers for a single mother. And I have a feeling it's only gonna get bigger. We aren't big, and our actions aren't earth shattering, but both are being like Jesus.

I know I didn't answer or address most of the stuff I brought up. I just wanted you to know what happened when I opened the can of worms with those guys. I'm still confused where my brain activity will take me. And I'm still scared that God is going to ask me to do something I don't feel adequate enough to do. [Or want to do!] But I can't let the devil use those things to hold me back. I am ready. Use me God.


Blogger Andrew said...

Hey man nice thoughts. I am right there with you. I think what God is doing with all the guys is pretty amazing. It seems like God has all put a desire to go to a new level as a group and individually. We can rip on the church all we want, but I think it is time to start LIVING missionally and not just talking about it. There is nothing wrong with taking pride in our christian lives, but right now even God isn't happy with me.

2:56 PM  

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