The Rocks and Road Blocks in Our Path: Church

   

When I got saved I had no idea what a Christian lifestyle looked like.  I had just graduated from an intensive drug treatment program and Church to me was a bunch of druggies wailing on the guitar, singing songs that kids sing in Sunday School.  There were no discipleship books or prayer services. We weren’t taught missions or how to share the love of Jesus.  We were simply taught about Jesus, and how He could save us from ourselves.

As time went on, Church and all it entailed remained a mystery to me for many years.  Although I tasted different concepts of the Church, I felt very empty and alone.  When I looked around me it seemed like “doing Church” was an obligation and a hinderance to many.  There were far and few that seemed to love me because Jesus loved me and honestly, I did not really care for them either, save a few people that took me to breakfast and let me cry to them.

Eventually I began bad mouthing the Church and I came up with all the excuses in the world why Church was a waste of time.  I hated the format, the burden, the “worship,” the welcome.  I hated it all.  I even stopped saying I was a “Christian,” and started saying I was a “follower of Christ” because I did not want to be grouped with the people I resented.

Man, I was so wrong.

Today I am proud to call myself a Christian.  I am joyful to be identified with Christ.  I am excited that the label my fellow co-workers were given, is one I am given (Acts 11:26).  I am proud to say I love the Church.  I love that God created a structure for us to get to know Him more. I love that our Most High God has created an environment to corporately connect to Him.

Although I am in love with the Church now, that does not mean I am naive to the fact that many of my fellow brothers and sisters do not love the Church.  The current example of corporate worship in our lives, may give us every reason to turn away from the “Box.” Unfortunately as a result, instead of pressing through, many of us have decided to go through life in personal fellowship with God, apart from the Body.

So this is for you.

The disheartening feelings we are experiencing is not a Church problem, it is a Satan problem!  We, me included, have allowed Satan to twist what God has wonderfully made.

We have allowed our idea of Church to be bigger than our idea of God.

We have allowed people to make Church about them instead of about God.  (Which sounds a little like the Garden of Eden doesn’t it?)

As I read the New Testament, I now understand this is not a new problem that only our generation is having to deal with.  The Early Church had to fight through the same things after the New Covenant was established.  People were coming in from everywhere twisting, lying, subverting, stealing, and resembling all things of darkness.  They had the same problems we have in our churches; backsliding, slandering, false teachings, selfishness, poor leadership, money hungry people, old people not listening to young Pastors, young people not respecting the wisdom of those wiser than they; the list could continue.

This is not a new problem, so let’s stop acting like it is. I think we have become so focused on how broken the Church is, we have forgotten how to repair it and get it functioning again. I think we are missing the context and point of what these Letters, written by God, are meant to communicate.

Look at how the New Testament authors are writing to these churches.  They are ALWAYS trying to reconcile the communities back into the Headship and Body of Christ by reminding them Christ has already reconciled them.  These letters are pointing CONSTANTLY to who God is, and who they, the churches, are not.  It struck me: if we don’t understand God and our identity in Him, whether the church is a missional community or denominationally minded multimillion dollar building, it really doesn’t matter. If we are not reconciled to Him, it is a waste.

We simply CANNOT FUNCTION in the Body of Christ, without Christ as the Head; and that is what the Church is supposed to be all about.  The Church is, quite literally, Christ as the Head, and us responding as the body by following His commandments and commission.

When Christ was asked which command of the Torah was most important, He gave two. And from these we are compelled to go.

Love me

29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” (Mark 12:29-30)

Love your neighbor

31 The second is this: “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)

Commission

19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in2 the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”– (Matthew 28:19-20)

We may be dissatisfied with our Church and that may be for good reason.  However, first we need to check our hearts and see if we are being obedient to Jesus Christ in our own lives.  Then if your Church body is broken, evaluate if your church is a living example of the verses above.  If it isn’t, are you obedient enough to God to be willing to be a part of fixing the broken parts?

I said earlier I am in love with the Church.  Let me clarify: I am not in love with the institution that we have allowed the Church to become. I am in love with what God originally designed it to be. This idealism does not mean my personal Church is perfect.  It is far from it. It simply means I want to be a part of the reconciliation of the body to the Head, because I am in love with what God tells me the Church is supposed to be.

So, in the coming weeks, I want to focus on exactly that, healing and reconciling the Church.  As a part of  THEOLOGY21 let’s take a look at some different rocks in our roads that are keeping us from fellowship with Him and each other!

Each Wednesday, THEOLOGY21 will be discussing the various “rocks” and stumbling blocks that are in the path of Christians. Be sure to check back each week as we rethink how to live out our faith in Christ.

THEOLOGY21 is a co-op of authors dedicated to renovating theology for a new generation, taking the ancient truths of scripture and theology and speaking to the post-Christian culture of the 21st century. To keep up-to-date on all things THEOLOGY21, Give our Facebook page a “like”, follow our twitter page, add yourself to our email list, or subscribe to our feed!
 
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  • This is a good article, I think you’ve hit on something pretty big happening in the church right now. It is no big secret that the church at large is diminishing, people are leaving, though they seem to continue to believe, and it many ways it saddens me. If the church is dying what is so wrong with that? Well, a lot! I think a whole article could be written on that, what the church offers for its members, the community and the faith in general. Certainly, I am no huge fan of denominationalism, I never have been, and so would rather just call myself a Christian and let that be that, but I have taken up two churches I that I both visit on sunday. I am part of the community in these churches, I contribute my time and money and though I do not agree with everything is ever said in either of them, or even the attitude of some of the parishioners I do believe they are necessary. They offer hope, give guidance, reach into the communities around them to assist with issues of the homeless, youth programs, and even into the world doing missional projects. I as a believer can only do these things on a small scale, but a Christ headed church can impact hundreds, possibly even thousands. If we see a problem in our ‘homes’ then it is our problem, too, not just the church’s. I look forward to the rest of the series!

  • This is a good article, I think you’ve hit on something pretty big happening in the church right now. It is no big secret that the church at large is diminishing, people are leaving, though they seem to continue to believe, and it many ways it saddens me. If the church is dying what is so wrong with that? Well, a lot! I think a whole article could be written on that, what the church offers for its members, the community and the faith in general. Certainly, I am no huge fan of denominationalism, I never have been, and so would rather just call myself a Christian and let that be that, but I have taken up two churches I that I both visit on sunday. I am part of the community in these churches, I contribute my time and money and though I do not agree with everything is ever said in either of them, or even the attitude of some of the parishioners I do believe they are necessary. They offer hope, give guidance, reach into the communities around them to assist with issues of the homeless, youth programs, and even into the world doing missional projects. I as a believer can only do these things on a small scale, but a Christ headed church can impact hundreds, possibly even thousands. If we see a problem in our ‘homes’ then it is our problem, too, not just the church’s. I look forward to the rest of the series!

  • Newpete17

    love it! thanks bro

  • Although I am not a fan of them, I can understand why denominations occur. As this website shows, different parts of the Bible are interpreted in different ways; denominations are a reflection of that. Where I take issues is when the denomination uses the “I am right, you are wrong, so now we can’t get along” attitude. That is ridiculous.

    When I think about the several churches I have been a part of, I can’t think of one that I have agreed with every time. However, because of that I have been challenged to go outside of my thinking and begin challenging what I am putting my faith in. There are some things that are used as Bible study resources that I am not a fan of, but for some they are necessary to grow in their relationship with God. As long as it is not false teaching or outright blasphemy, then I am in good shape.

    And PLEASE don’t take for granted what you as one believer can do. (Which I believe you don’t.) There are many instances in the Bible where one person changed nations, people groups, and culture as they knew it. Your a instrument for the Holy Spirit, for Christ expressing who He is to the people around you. You are right, a Christ headed church can impact hundreds, and thousands, and hundred of thousands, and millions. One Church can do that, and we ARE designed to be ONE CHURCH.

    That is one of my points, is the unity we are to have because we are all under one Head. It is difficult because there are some people out there that are false teachers. (I am not talking about people teaching something we disagree with). However, I believe God most certainly gives wisdom on how the false teachers can be reconciled back in the Body of Christ. Instead of the instant reaction of turning up our noses, we can invest time in the people and Church groups. If they want to be goats, they will have to pay for that, and the Head is never really over that Church to begin with (if they so choose). That is not an excuse to waste our time bad mouthing them. We are just supposed to say, “You are a goat. You are not a sheep.” Leave at that and go take care of the lost, the widows, the poor, etc.

    So, where people like you come in is loving on the people that are in Church for the wrong reasons. I say that because it sounds like you are convicted about people being in Church with the wrong heart. You get to know them, you spend time with them, and one of two things will happen: they will go to Church because they are in Love with God, or they will find another place that they can sit in a pew/chair and have to be re-convicted by God, all over again.

    All that being said, thanks for being a living example of what I am trying to express here. Just like when we look in the mirror at our bodies, sometimes we don’t always like what we see. There are some things we can change, and some things we can’t. Thanks for being willing to effect what you can effect!

  • Pingback: THE ROCKS AND ROAD BLOCKS IN OUR PATH: CHURCH | For a Lack of Wood the Fire Goes Out()

  • Pingback: THE ROCKS AND ROAD BLOCKS IN OUR PATH: CHURCH | For a Lack of Wood the Fire Goes Out()

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