Wednesday, January 11, 2006

if the church looked like Christ


If the church looked like Christ…

We would be poor and quite unimpressive. But we would be real, authentic, and unpretentious. We would be strong, with callused hands, yet we would reek of vulnerability. We wouldn’t look sleek and attractive; certainly, we would not attract every one that we came across. And a lot of those that we did attract at first may not stay with us for long, for our message would be too difficult for many people to swallow. But we wouldn’t shy away from it…oh no, we would preach the truth, the hard, confusing, completely illogical truth, the truth that deeply convicts and seriously challenges, and yes, the truth that makes many run for the door. We would piss off some and turn off others. We would be misunderstood and mocked; targeted by the political and powerful. But we would be fearless and driven. Because we know that that truth, the truth of the gospel, is the only thing that can truly bring the dead to life.

And we would operate almost entirely for the cause of those in need: to feed the hungry, to take care of the sick, to love the unlovable, to grieve with the mourning, to stand up for the cause of the oppressed and overlooked. We would drink with the drunkards and befriend the whores. Love would be our name.

We wouldn’t claim to know the answers - in fact, we would produce more questions than answers - but we would love, and serve, and give…everything. Let me say that again: EVERYTHING. We wouldn’t try to figure out the most strategic way to spend “the church’s” money. We’d give it all. And when we were taken advantage of, when we were manipulated and used…we would continue to give. We would turn the other cheek…and give, even to those who had just taken advantage of us. We would take the chance of becoming a door mat to the poor in our community, letting them walk all over us, wiping their muddy feet every step of the way. Because we would know that we’re not called to be stewards of God’s money…but stewards of His generosity, stewards of His mercy and grace.

And we would pray, oh…would we pray, because we would actually believe that our only source of strength and power came from our Father. We would actually believe that…can you imagine? We would pray all-night, agonizing and crying, seeking the will of God. Ugh, the will of God. If we actually did catch a glimpse, it would be far too difficult for us to comprehend. We would throw our hands up and say, “No way, God…let this part of Your will pass by me and on to someone…anyone but me. I can’t do it, I’m not able, God. I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, and doggone it, people don’t like me.” Seriously, if the church prayed like Christ and sought the will of our Father, like Christ, than I believe we would receive promptings and leadings by the Holy Spirit that absolutely scared the crap out of us. But…if the church prayed like Christ we would have the strength and we would be able. Not that we would always know it. No, we’d still be crapping in our drawers, but we would have the faith in God to go for it anyway.

And our main concern would not be our church. The bulk of our budget, the focus of our time and our energy would not be to make our church bigger or better. In fact, our church would not be all that important to our church. We would, of course, evangelize. But we wouldn’t do it by inviting them to our Sunday morning services. Our gospel would be the redemptive work of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, not the subculture of Christianity or membership in our church. And our only real tools of evangelism would be our life and our love. We would certainly teach and disciple those who choose to go with us as we continued to move forward. But we wouldn’t try to do it all in one hour a week. And we wouldn’t try to do it through programs or classes. We would do it through our lives with each individual. It would be a journey, a long, every day journey. And because of that, we would surely not be a large church. I don’t think we could be.

Our congregation’s fellowship would be deep. We would need one another because our vision of God’s will would be so large and so imposing that we would know we couldn’t make it on our own. We would be disgustingly aware of our individual inadequacy. And because of that we wouldn’t be afraid of transparency or vulnerability. We would only be afraid of attempting life and ministry on our own. We wouldn’t fear going about our lives unmasked and unveiled, because we would know that we were not alone. Our love would be humble and authentic. And it would be unnaturally strong because our bond would not be a bond of affinity or convenience…it would be a supernatural, Holy Spirit bond that is far deeper than our understanding; a bond of mutual dependency and unconditional love. It would be that bond that serves as the veins in the body of Christ in which the blood is constantly spread to each limb and member, none being forgotten.

Our worship would be united and unceasing. Worship would be the sole motivation for doing all that we do. Prayer, ministry, fellowship, it would all have the ultimate and final purpose of bring glory, honor and pleasure to God. Simply put: we would be obsessed with our Father. Because we would understand fully His worth. Publicly, we would appear as fools, for our worship would be holistic and illogical. Our reverence, our joy, our unbound passion would seems like nonsense to those who operate with the mind disconnected from the heart. Worship would not be a verb. Worship would not be a noun. Worship would be a life. It would be our life, as individuals and as a congregation.

If the church looked like Christ…hmmm…

4 comments:

jake said...

This is a little different than the first one you sent me...

Anonymous said...

that's retarded. it doesn't sound very purpose driven, so it can't be right.

bill said...

i know. its not purpose-driven (the way rick warren would desribe it). but it is Christ glorifing-driven. i think that is better.

Scott said...

dude i am a little offended at the word "pissed" and "crap our pants", but I am down with drinking with drunkards and loving whores!