I've been struggling with something for quite a while. It's hard to put into words what I am wrestling with exactly. The more I read Scripture the more this problem presents itself.
Something is horribly wrong with the Christian life that I have been spoon-fed for most of my life.
The sacrifice that Jesus demands doesn't seem comfortable or safe, but in many churches today, that is the only Christian life that is preached.
Now, the implications of this dilemma are two-fold.
One, many churches are not preaching the Gospel faithfully and discipling their people well or at all.
Two, Christians are missing out on living the life Jesus called us to live. It's not just hurting us- we are selfishly keeping the Gospel from the millions of people who desperately need to hear it.
Statements that Jesus made in the Gospels haunt me.
"Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Mt. 16:24
“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets." Lk. 6:22-23
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26
"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." Jn. 13:35
These are just a few verses. There are many more. When I read through Scripture, Christianity is a liberating, dangerous thing. It is anything but tame and packaged nicely within a building. However, when I look around, I see few churches that matter at all.
A "good" Southern Christian Church may produce neat families that have children who don't cuss, don't drink, and don't do drugs, but do they accomplish much else?
Our empty pews testify against us.
Francis Chan in Forgotten God says, "The light of the American church is flickering and nearly extinguished, having largely sold out to the kingdoms and values of this world….We are not all we were made to be when everything in our lives and churches can be explained apart from the work and presence of the Spirit of God….shouldn’t there be a huge difference between the person who has the Spirit of God living inside of him or her and the person who does not?”"
So, this is where I am at... if Jesus is alive and real, why aren't we living like it? Why am I not living like it? Why am I more concerned about what outfits I wear each day than about how Spirit-led I am each moment?
I don't know about you, but I want more in this life. I don't want to just produce a line of self-righteous, good two-shoes. I want to have a family of Jesus-loving, world-rocking kids.
Here's the hard part- it has to start with me... and you.
It's time to start a revival church. Let's become part of the living, breathing body of Christ that matters. Let's do church in a way that is Biblical. In a way that our lost family, friends, and neighbors would find believable and desirable- not just another joke. If the Word is true and the Spirit of God that turned the world upside down in the book of Acts is alive within us as believers, He can do the same with us. Let's walk and live in the Spirit for the glory of Jesus so that our world will never be the same.
"And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." Acts 2:42-47