Church. Say that one word and it means a thousand different things to different people. Living in South Mississippi, that one word alone can bring back more memories of pain, hurt, and confusion than most words. It's loaded.
I grew up going to quite a few churches- various denominations. I've lived through my fair share of painful church splits, poor leadership, bad doctrine, and stale pews. If anyone has a reason to give up on the church, I do. It's let me down... a lot.
It's also blessed me... a lot. God seems to think it is pretty important if you read through Scripture. Being actively involved in a local church isn't optional for a Christian. It's essential for healthy growth as a believer. With so many churches living for themselves, Jesus isn't being made much of. It makes me sad. Really sad. The unchurched just don't get why church matters. Here's my plea.
Instead of complaining about why no one gets up on Sundays and makes it to church, let's reach out where they are and love them as they are first.
Instead of grieving over why our light bills are so high this month, let's shed genuine tears about why the pews were so empty "again" this week.
Instead of pointing fingers at those sinners who aren't doing better, let's ask ourselves why we aren't loving each other well.
Instead of fighting over whether we sing a hymn or praise song, let's remember that we are singing to Jesus- not ourselves. He's concerned about our hearts- not the style of music.
Instead of making sure we get the latest "whatever," let's give to someone in need that needs a break.
Instead of defending our dead traditions, let's just be Biblical. Let's keep what is helpful, and throw off what weighs us down.
Instead of not caring, let's care.
I think we can all do better. Then, I think we will start seeing the Church be the Bride Jesus has chosen for Himself.
If not, I'm afraid these words will be true for some of us.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" Mt. 7:21-23
Let's repent Church. It's all about Jesus- not us.