Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Rest (01/17/13)
TITLE: True Rest
By Frankie Kemp
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What ARE we doing at church?
What have we made it?
Why do people sometimes resist church?
It is supposed to be an assembling together in one accord of hearts and minds
all seeking the same thing:
rest, nourishment, direction for our hungry hearts.
Is it a place we come because we’re told we must in order to prove our Christianity?
Is it a place we come so that we can pretend we have it all together, when we don’t?
Is it a place we come only to show off our religion?
What have we done to church?
How often is it a place where people feel free to reveal themselves?
How often is it a place where we genuinely hear
a word from God
or worship Him in Spirit and in Truth?
Is it our own ideas
or is it something else that prevents us?
We sit listening to sermons and singing songs,
but we rarely share
the deepest longings of our souls
or the biggest struggles.
We don’t have time for that,
we don’t know how to acknowledge what they are,
and we don’t make a place.
Why is it that church has become an obligation,
a place of rest?
Does the problem lie in me
or does the problem lie
in the Church?
Give me a place . . .
a place where I can come and say,
“This is who I am.
This is who I am, and I am here seeking
who will show me who I can be
and transform my life into what it ought to be.”
Give me a place where I can rest.
Give me a place where I don’t have to hide my tears.
Give me a place where those tears won’t frighten people.
Give me a place where my absence is felt, but it is not judged.
Give me a place where I am not alone,
even though alone is precisely how I feel
so often sitting on a church pew—
especially when confronted with the reality of my own life
and the compulsion that I cannot escape to compare it
to everyone’s around me.
Why do I feel this way about church?
Is it me
or is it something else?
Stop counting my absence.
Ask me why I’m not there.
Stop counting my presence.
truly desire to know me
as more than just a body in a pew.
Stop making church
a place where we do something to get God.
Call it what it is:
People who show up,
hoping that somehow our hearts will be touched
and our lives will be changed
and fellowship found
or that God might break through the noise of the world
and speak to us personally,
or that somehow we might be useful to Him,
in spite of our fallen humanity.
When church is a place the Spirit draws us,
We must stop making church a place to go to prove who we are.
As long as that is what it is,
it is men we fear, and not our God.
We are His.
Every facet of our lives belong to Him.
We are not limited to what occurs within the confines of a building.
We are not limited to simply the times we are victorious over our fallen natures.
It is the times that seeking Him
compels us to seek the hearts of other people everywhere
that we are truly living out our calling.
True rest is knowing that HE is why we long for perfection.
True rest is knowing that the very fact that we want more from life only
points to the fact that we were originally meant to have it.
True rest is following Him wherever He leads us and loving people,
really and truly loving them
as best we can
as often as we can
whatever way we can
wherever we can.
True rest is knowing
religion is fallen,
the world is fallen,
I am fallen,
BUT HE IS NOT!
It is in Him—
in Christ alone-
that we find our promised hope of Glory.
He is our hope.
He is our desire.
He is our life.
He is our rest.
The person who really needs to hear
this message the most
is not the pastor
or the Sunday School teacher
or my friend across the pew.
Maybe, just maybe,
it is me.
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