In the church’s new revolution of reaching the world ‘where they are’ and establishing relationships, not beating attendance over their heads, I have been greatly concerned of an aspect that I believe has not been addressed.
Try to understand where I am coming from with this and put yourself in the shoes of a non-believer for a moment. The concept is that as Christians, ‘we never arrive’. For a believer, this is a simple concept, we always trying to do better, we fail, ‘we haven’t arrived’. BUT, what we teach is not what we practice or should. Would you go to a college that never had graduates? Would you attend a training sessions that did not produce one shred of growth? Stay with my thought for a moment, what would you think as an outsider if you went to church and all they taught was that if you did all these things they believe in, God would see you through it all, you would have peace that passes all understanding and that you would be a changed person. Yet, as you survey the room, there are people who have been there 30 years, still getting the same lessons and still ‘working’ on doing this in their lives. Hebrews 5:12 - For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God's word. You need milk, not solid food
I would love to see the ‘we’ve made it group’ invade our congregations. I would like to see people who have had their teeth kicked in, screaming praises to the Almighty God. If you attend church regularly, you have had countless studies on the book of Job and how he handled all that life threw at him and still praised God. Does this sound kinda silly to you, because that is exactly what you do? Everytime?
One of my greatest surprises I ever got from a pastor was a question. We were discussing my wife leaving and taking my children and the turmoil until I won custody of them and life settled back down. He asked, “did you lose your faith? Did you doubt God?” I replied, “Never, God is my foundation and I knew He would see me through it all” The man was shocked and he was a Baptist preacher. How good of an example do we leave when every lesson, every focus, is centered of the fact that no one ever makes it?
I don’t care to sound crass or boastful, but I have made it (stay with me). Do I look like a harmonious blend between Ghandi and Mother Teresa, no. I DO have faith that God is in control. I DO believe He will see me through. I DO have a peace that passes all understanding. I weigh 350 pounds and when the nurse checked my blood pressure at 135/75, she asked, “don’t you stress about anything?” My reply, “don’t you know God?” I believe that life, with all is bugs and monsters, is a blessing from God EVERY day. I don’t feel entitled to my life, my money, my wife, my kids, my anything. I believe it is all God’s, on loan for a short time.
I wish Christians shouted more from the mountain tops and did less praise reports of surprise that God actually helped when they were down. When a non-believer listens to your report of how thing are going in your life, do they say, “Man, I’ll have what they are having”, or is it more of “I hope it all works out for you”.
We have a charge: Matthew 5: 14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven . I think this should be reflected in some of the lessons we teach at church also. Instead of shining our light we spend more time talking about not being perfect “yet” and we are working on it.
We need to boast more and proclaim loudly that we have arrived, but not by our ability, only by the glory of God and His grace. You want to join us?