There is a thought bubbling inside of me. A thought that is sort of dangerous for me because it will require more of me than I think I want to give right now, but I can’t seem to shake it. I look around at what we are doing at church. I look at our meetings and our singing and our worship gatherings and our desperate pleas to get people to come into our building. And the more I look at it the more it looks to me like something that Jesus would have no part of. The more I look at it the more it looks like something that is totally missing the point of Christianity.
Let me come right off the top and say I am not pointing a finger at anyone but me. I am specifically talking about the things that I am in charge of–the things that I can control. And all of them seem to be very much focused on what goes on inside the walls of that building than about what happens on the outside. I mean, I talk about what happens on the outside, but we don’t show it much. We don’t do many things that actually take us outside of our walls and our little group.
But the thing is the more I look at the gospel of Jesus. The more I see his life and the things that he was passionate about the more I think we aren’t even coming close.
18 “ The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
Luke 4:18 (NKJV)
Jesus stood up in the assembly and read these verses from Isaiah declaring his mission here on earth, and I keep coming back to the thought that this should be what we are about too. I don’t have it all in my head yet, but here are some things that I feel we should focus on.
1) We must be involved in social justice issues: Feeding the poor, clothing the homeless, healing the sick, being a friend to the outcast. Our lives as Christians should be characterized by a radical desire to meet the needs of those around us.
2) Our politics should reflect our first concern: We need to break away from being Republican shills and start to look at how we can influence policies that make a real difference and that reflect the sanctity of all life. (that includes homosexuals too)
3) Our focus must shift from "come to our meeting" to "let’s go and meet needs": In order to make this happen we must allow our staff the freedom to be more than just preachers and pastors. All members must step up to the plate to allow the leadership the time and energy to lead us out into our communities
4) We must break out of our American consumer mindset and realize that we are enslaved by our stuff: As I say this I look around at my room with TV, computer, laptop, video camera (broken, but still), digital camera, a shelf full of books and Digital Juice stuff. Let me be the first to admit that I am addicted and I need the power of God to break me from this addiction.
5) Finally we must see that worship, true worship that is in spirit and in truth, cannot be contained inside the walls of a church. We must take our praise to the streets showing our love to God by loving his people. We must become servants to all in order to be servants of Christ.
If we can do this. If we can even make a small shift towards this then maybe we can actually be a part of bring change to this world. We will never make this place heaven. But we can do our best to bring God’s love to the people around us and around the world who are desperate for it.
We are focusing on the wrong thing. And I am afraid that if we don’t find a way to regain our focus, God will destroy these false temples we have built and raise up for Himself a people who will love serve Him in love.