So, first things first. Today marks the completion of eleven, yes 11!! consecutive months of daily prayers. I want to give all the Bring ME 70 readers and followers a huge thank you for joining me in this mission to prevent pastoral burnout. Though the impact may still be in infancy stage, I'm believing it's making a difference we may not know until eternity. So, for all the likes, shares and "retweets", Thank You!
To commemorate, I think you are reading another first today. The idea for this #communitySaturday came this past Tuesday. I don't recall ever having a prayer focus that far in advance. The day before is par for the course, 9 times out of 10. Every once in a while, 2 days advance. It's never been 4 days. That said, here we go... want to know what happened this past Tuesday?
I drove by a church, whose marquee sign by the road, stated the following along the bottom of the sign:
A Friendly, Bible-Based Ministry.
Excuse me while I share my moment of sarcasm... shouldn't that be obvious?
Sadly, I understand the need for a church to clarify the position. It's a tragedy that church life has come to this... that peoples' experience with the church has been difficult, frustrating and disappointing often enough, that the statement is not a flashing or moving message that one in every 3 or 4 cars, happens to see... no, it was engraved into the bottom of the sign (probably on both sides) for every single driver that passes may read it.
So, curiosity follows the sarcasm bit.
1) Who stays in a church that isn't friendly?
2) Who sits in a ministry that isn't Biblical?
While, I could take guesses, I'm not sure I want to. I would think though, that a church that isn't friendly, probably isn't growing. In fact, a church that isn't friendly, is eventually, most likely shrinking.
As for the second point... just as tragic, is the fact that many are probably sitting and remaining in a ministry that is NOT Bible-based or Biblically-centered. Why? Because in the last days people will listen to what their itching hears want to hear.
I'm not calling out false-prophets and specific ministries and everything else along that bunny trail, so don't read what I'm not typing.
I am simply stating, as I've experienced in my own life, that the truth is hard to hear. It's hard to accept. And it can be difficult to stay engaged in the conversation to the point where application can be made to your life and a solution can offered for things to change. Yet, as my Pastor always says, "whenever you read the Word of God, it reads you"
How does the church, the body of Christ... the people of God... who do you do ministry without Scripture? How can it be called ministry without Scripture? How do you share the love of God and not come across as friendly? As inviting? As caring and engaged in the person in front of you?
It's Saturday morning, so the cartoons are on right? Who would believe Oscar the Grouch had gotten saved, if he remained a grouch?? (there is a song about that by the way... Steven Curtis Chapman, I think... cartoons getting saved)
The bottom line is this... if churches don't show themselves friendly, how will they grow and develop healthy relationships with those we are called to minister to and show the love of God? Furthermore, how will the church share they love of God, if they don't preach the "whole counsel of God" and make practical application that leads the body of Christ to... how do I say... look more like Christ? It should be obvious what happens when that isn't the case. We shouldn't be surprised at what happens, when that isn't the case. We should pray it won't be the case.
On this #communitySaturday, pray that indeed, the church would show themselves friendly, to the world. Not to be trampled on, offensive or disingenuous, but just friendly. To show compassion. To share empathy. To allow the Holy Spirit to work on the hearts and lives of those in difficult places and allow the truth of God's word, rather than man's opinion or interpretation to reveal God's live and purpose for those who have yet come to experience a relationship with Jesus Christ. Pray for ministry to become bible-centered where it is not; for it to remain bible-centered where it is. May the body of Christ grow in the strength and knowledge of God; that as they experience His love and grace, they will go out and extend the same to a lost and dying world desperate for meaning and purpose and redemption beyond themselves. Pray the power of God to transcend the issues, the distractions and the agendas that would keep us from the knowing God; from fulfilling the plans and purposes we been created and destined to accomplish before the foundations of the earth were laid.
Friends are a gift from God. So is His Word.
What better place than to experience both of them, together.
This is the church. This is community.
His life changes ours. For eternity. For those who let Him in.
For the glory of God. For the cause of Jesus Christ.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.