Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Shape of the Church...is it a Square or a Heart?

I had no clue what to blog about when I was mildly chided for not blogging in a while…thanks Leigh…keep me on my toes. My life is a continual stream of routine, so I’d rather not bore others with it, but I’ve really been worked up lately and thought I might share my most recent thought processes. (Sorry it's long...I'm making up for 2 months of not blogging.) :)
Back in August, I invited a friend to stay with me up in Winter Park, she loves to be in the presence of God, she loves being around other people who love God and encourage one another in the things of Christ, and she is also very willing to take those who haven’t got a clue and show them the things of God. Well, we began one of those talk past midnight chats about the Lord and what he is doing in the overall church and in our own church, and she asked me a question that really hit me hard. She said “you long for the same things of God that I do...why do you stay at our church?” I simply stated back…because the Lord hasn’t told me to go anywhere else.” That was such a plain and simple response, but the fact of the matter is…she shook me up with that question because, honestly, I like to serve in the capacity that I do…I like my “position” and I would never want to shake things up by moving. She went on to explain what she was searching for in a church and I explained that the church is us; we’re the ones that walk into the building to create one body called the church. I didn’t really know what I was saying until recently.
Last weekend another friend informed me of a news report on Carlton Pearson that hit many networks. So, I watched it and was absolutely appalled, not so much at the fact that he “had the revelation” that hell didn’t exist and everyone is saved (he even has a book titled "Get the Hell out of My Bible"). I wasn’t even appalled that he has begun another church (sponsored in part by the Episcopal Church – for additional interesting info on the EC, check out Charisma’s September 27th article There Is Weeping in the Cathedral). What bothered me was what I noticed of the initial church that accepted his disturbing doctrine. It was a church of “outcasts” as they called themselves (gay/lesbian, abused people); what I saw were people who served this man the way Christ served others…they washed his feet…and I couldn’t help but think that even those who claim to be “righteous” rarely, if at all, serve others in any manner resembling humility.
I am of the opinion that it is time we examine the attributes of the church as it pertains to its rightful place in our lives. I guess I’m thinking mainly of the church as it was described in Acts 2:42-47. It seems that the church has traded in community for individualism. Are we so caught up in our own lives that we can’t see the life that sits beside us in church? Are we so intent on getting our own needs met that we fail to see the needs of others? Is being a Christian a catch-phrase or an act? Are we adding to the number of our church by bringing in those from the streets or those from another church? Married people, how about inviting a single person over for lunch or out for coffee…single people, how about cleaning up the yard of an elderly person…elderly people, you have SO MUCH irreplaceable wisdom to offer, please share it.
When people were brought into the church in Paul’s day, it was important for him to discuss being the “body” of Christ because people then were honorable to their family...outside of their family...the game is on, and Paul needed to let them know that we are all a family and we function together. 1 Cor 12:12 says “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.” We absolutely cannot function without each other. 1 Peter 2:5-9 says “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone," and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
One more thing…tonight my teacher said the most profound thing. He stated that he left his house around 4 and told his “bride” that he would be back around 10:30 and that he can’t wait to see her again. He’s been married 35 years! Of course all the girls took a deep breath as he continued to say…you know, when I’m home, I just want to be in the same room with her. How incredible is that! We are the bride of Christ…does he want to just be in the same room as us?

Rev 19:7-9 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God.”

I’m just shooting from the hip here, but surely I am not completely off. I am open to the thoughts and opinions of others.
Hopping off my soap box now.

7 comments:

Sharon said...

First, good to here from you girl.
I have been hearing more an more lately about the falling away taking place. It is sad but we knew it was coming because the Bible tells us it will happen.
God is doing some amazing things in our little church. We are seeing prayers answered, people healed and a unity among the body that is drawing people. I love being at church. And I love the body. As our love for God is growing so is our love for other believers. As we beome full--it spills over in the highways and byways. Then they want to know what we have. What unity we have that can not be broken. The power behind this thing called prayer. And then they want to know that source of power and love.
I have been at my church for 6+ years. It was rough when I first got there. But God is changing me and those in my church. We are about 50-60 on Sunday morning. We are a Baptist church that believes the church of Acts will rise again.
Amen!

Nadine said...

All I can say is AMEN!!! That was an excellent post, well thought out and written. The church is a heart...we are called to love one another. My husband is a pastor and he always says he's not interested in playing Christian shuffle. He's interesting in seeing the lost saved...where they go to church doesn't matter...that they go and are fed does. I hope that you continue to write more often. I will be back again.

Thank you for stopping by. I always enjoy meeting new people.

MelanieJoy said...

Hey Girl,
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back with ya! I'm right there with you really. I'm still with one foot in one door and the other in another. I can't believe how our situations are so much alike.
Keep me posted on how things are going. Great post.

CrownLaidDown said...

Hey, I came by to read this again...such good words! I tried to comment before, but was interrupted, so this was the time to do it. I think, too, Kate, that we stay at the same church because of what God wants us to bring to it...our part of that body of Christ. Sometimes, it is hard, though, I know.

I finally got my link corrected! Can't wait to meet up in a couple of weeks, Friend!
Love and pryares,
holly

Leigh Gray said...

wow girl - that was some serious make up. I am going to have print this out and concentrate!! I hear your heart and love your passion!!

Sure good to see you back at least for a post or two!! God has gotten on to me about being a lurker so much, so I have just been sitting back a ton and just doing my house thang, etc.

Love, Leigh

Leigh Gray said...

ok - you are my friend, now how do i be your friend......... hee hee

sounds so funny....

thanks

Monica said...

Hi Kate -

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Of course, I had to check yours out too! What a great post ... love it. I wrote something similar back in April this year. My husband and I were struggling with where we were in our church, and with many of the things you mentioned here. I love what you said about us being the church. True, true. I wish more people would think of themselves that way ... I think 'we' as the hands and feet of Jesus would be greatly more efficient if we did.

Here's a link to what I wrote way back when!!

http://called2create.blogspot.com/2007/04/okay-so-this-might-sound-little-wishy.html

I'll definitely check back, and will pray for your schedule too. Sounds like you have a lot going on.

In Christ's Love-
Monica