Saturday, November 29, 2008

This Scares The Hell Into the Devil

One side effect of pursuing excellence in church production is that common Christians become spectators who can contribute a percentage of their income to keep things going, but little more. We have raised the bar on how church is done so high that few believe they could ever do it themselves. The dark side of this endeavor is that we have lowered the bar of what it means to be a Christian so that simply showing up to the weekly one hour event with some regularity and a check book is all it takes.

My goal in life is to reverse this. I want to lower the bar of how church is done so that anyone can do it, and raise the bar of what it means to be a disciple so that they will do it.

I will never forget meeting with an organic church made up of high school students. As we were all singing praises to the Lord I felt His pleasure. I asked the students to share the biggest church they had ever been to. Southern California has many mega-churches. Several were mentioned, ranging from 2,000 to 20,000 attendees.

“I think Satan is more intimidated by this little church of 15 kids than by any of those Godzilla-sized churches,” I said. They all snickered and looked around the room at one another with smiles, thinking that the old man had finally lost his mind.

I then showed them why I thought this way. I asked, “How many of you think you could start a church like one of those mega-churches?” No one raised a hand. I then asked, “How many of you think you could start a church like this one?” All raised their hands. The snickering stopped. It was one of those holy moments in life that are hard to forget. I then asked them to look around the room at all the raised hands, and I said, “I assure you, Satan is terrified by this. And he should be!”

Friday, November 28, 2008

A True Seeker Service

In most churches today we expect the lost to come to us. In the Bible, God is always the Seeker going after those who are lost. He pursued Adam in a garden and Moses in a desert. He pulled Jonah off the bottom of the sea and Peter off the top. Jesus found Matthew in an office and Paul out on the road.

God became a man and entered the world through a birth canal just like the rest of us. He chose to come to us on our turf, rather then expecting us to rise to His. Jesus preached everywhere that the kingdom of God has come near. He came to seek and to save the lost, and He now invites us to join Him.

If you want to reach this world for Christ you are going to have to learn to sit in the smoking section.

Many ask: “How can we make the church more attractive to the lost?” If we start down this path we unintentionally leave our true path: Letting people see how attractive Jesus is! It’s all about Jesus…not us. In a sense, for every step we take toward impressing people with our own strengths we move further from letting them become impressed with His.

God always prefers to reveal Himself in weak things rather strong. It is the simple vessels that often reveal God’s glory more then having to find Him in the midst of laser lights and fog machines. The curiosity of a child’s question; the embrace of a loving grandmother; the accepting handshake of a good friend; the smile of a proud father; the warmth of a soft shoulder to cry on—these are the things that reveal God’s character more than any sermon.

Love for one another is a powerful ingredient in transforming the world, but sitting in an auditorium listening to a preacher talk about it is not as powerful as being able to see it and taste it first hand. A “neighbor nudge” for two minutes on Sunday morning is not enough.

“If Jesus were on earth you’d find him in a gay bar in San Francisco. He’d be with people suffering from AIDS. These are the new lepers. If you want to find out where Jesus would be hanging out it’ll always be with the lepers.”

Blogging Again

Well, as we approach a new year I figure it is time to get serious about a few things. I started working out again. I might as well try blogging again. I remember when I started journaling 20+ years ago it took a few starts to get rolling, but I have now journaled every day for almost 20 years, perhaps blogging can be the same. Here goes...