the church leading the way

Category : God, barbarian, different, faith, living a life of faith, taking action, trust

……….

This week I asked, “what if the church led the way?”  In that post I wondered what the world would look like if the church took an active role leading the way in science, literature, art, action, helping people, etc…

A lot of time the church is criticized for not doing it’s part.  And lets face it, that criticism is often well deserved.  But there are many, many, moments where the church lives in a very kingdom-style.

I experienced one of those moments this week.  As a volunteer on the “Benevolence” committee at my local church, I am responsible for looking for ways to help people who need financial assistance.  And as you can imagine, with today’s economy those numbers are overwhelming.

Most of the time I only hear the bad side of the story.  I only hear the heartbreak as someone loses a house or a job.  But every so often I get to hear the “happy ending.”  Such was the case with an individual I’ve been talking to on and off for a few months.  He, through a series of events, ran up a $3,000+ credit card debt.  He, like everyone I see through the Benevolence program just didn’t have the resources to pay it off.

A lot of times that type of story ends in disaster.  But this one was different.  He had developed a relationship with another Christian.  Someone who didn’t even go to my church.  As they talked, the other Christian said he felt God calling him to pay the bill.  All $3000 of it!

I am always moved when God gets involved in our lives.  This was a moment where the church led the way.  Where the Kingdom advanced because one man was faithful and obedient.  When we live our lives under God’s guidance, amazing things happen.

Just something light to end the week on.

did Jesus come to create a religion?

1

Category : Exodus, Jesus, barbarian, bible, different, love

……….

God spent a lot of time explaining every detail he wanted in his home with the Israelites.  He didn’t leave much to the imagination or ask us to do “whatever works.”  God had a very specific plan in mind for his home, and the people who would be directly interacting with it.

Interestingly Jesus didn’t do this.  Jesus was messy.

There wasn’t a lot of formality around how to approach him.  There wasn’t a lot of people wearing only certain types of clothing.  Or saying certain types of things.  In fact, Jesus constantly had people touching him who were “ceremonially unclean,” meaning people who couldn’t enter God’s presence.  And yet he didn’t do anything but love them.

Sometimes you hear people say that Jesus meant to create a religion.  But I don’t buy that.  I think Jesus came to establish a relationship with us.  This is why he always loved the people who needed it, and why the New Testament isn’t filled with rules on how to establish a physical church.  Jesus went out of his way to break social conventions in order to build relationships.

Relationships are messy.  Religion is organized.  Relationships have sacrifice, love, compassion.  Religions have rules, structure, bureaucracies.

What would Christianity look like if we were more interested in showing that same love, and less interested in showing religious protocol?  How would your life be different if local churches worked to create a relationship with God and not to create a religion?