He is greater than our worries. Greater than our fears. Greater than our dreams. Greater than yesterday. He is greater than Chuck Norris, even.
Today, I’m over at Prodigal Magazine talking about how God moved me from where I was and what I thought was church, to where I am now. Here’s a taste…
I thought church was what I experienced with my grandmother at Mass–a stuffy room, while beautiful was rather cold, filled with lots of old people crossing themselves and young people looking painfully bored.
So, when I was introduced to the new modern “relevant” versions of church I was surprised, albeit a bit unsure. Because as a new Christian, I was hungry–hungry for the things of God. I wanted to know about the whys and hows. I searched the Bible tirelessly looking for more answers. I got Jesus, but I wanted to know more of Him and why He did what He did for me.
But what I found, in the church buildings I stepped into, were for the most part, a lot of people simply wanting to be entertained. I didn’t know any better and I wasn’t entirely sure but was God a God of Entertainment? Or was He something all together different?
“One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always.“- A. W. Tozer
1. Church is optional. Ah, the lone believer, hell-bent on staying out of a church community for one reason or another. They were burned, chastised, or mistreated. And I get it. I, too, was a solo “Christian” trying to call a 5-minute quiet time and a snippet of scripture “church.” I know what it is to be community-less and long for (but never actually believe it could happen) a spiritual family, where brethren would lay down their life for one another–reminiscent of the book of Acts.
Oh yeah, but then, through a series of painful life-altering events (another post for another time), I came to see that church was not optional because, I was, in fact, the church. When scripture refers to the church as “the house of God,” “the Body of Christ,” “Christ’s bride,” it is referencing a people. The ekklesia, in Greek. It is not a place or a building, which leads me to…
2. We go to church. Those in the church, have long believed that we go to church. But, as stated above, if we are the church, then this can’t actually be true. We don’t actually go to church on Sunday. What we do instead, is assemble where other members of the church happen to be, and we usually sit in a pew and listen to someone preach from the pulpit. This is not church. You are the church.
3. The church exists to reach the lost and unsaved. It was not so long ago that the Lord really clarified this point for me. In the Christian culture of “doing social justice,” “living missionally,” and “loving the unlovely,” it becomes easy to view the church as a vehicle in which to reach the unsaved.
However, this is not the primary function or purpose of the church. The church exists for the believer–to equip, edify, and empower the saints. To manifest the body and life of Jesus Christ. I know this might rub some people the wrong way, but if so, I encourage you to re-examine the scriptures. You may be surprised. I was.
4. A small group or Bible study is a perfectly acceptable replacement for “church.” Oh, I fell hard for this lie. I remember pastors enthusiastically telling me that if I had to choose between Sunday morning service and my weekly small group, I was to choose the latter. My small group, as it was explained to me, was actually church.
Those pastors…they were trying. What they meant, or should have meant, was that a small group was more like church. But there was one big problem. We wrongly think that…
5. Hanging out with a group of individuals, just like us, is church. Sadly, what small groups, home groups, and many Bible studies have taught people is that a group of our peers gathered together is church. When Jesus refers to the “family of God,” I don’t think a twenty-somethings Wednesday night fellowship/hangout/thing is what He had in mind.
Families are made up of all kinds of people in all stages of life. There are moms and dads, brothers and sister, infants, cousins and even a few loud-mouthed crazy uncles (you know who you are). Church is, and should be, all of us. All the time.
6. We must grow the church. In the consumer-driven, “bigger is better” culture we find ourselves, many Christians have come to falsely believe that it is our responsibility to build the church. We think that we do the growing. But, 1Corinthians 3 teaches that, while some of us plant and others water, it is God who causes it to grow. We are “coworkers belonging to God,” allowed to fully in building His church. God is responsible…and I find that comforting.
Do you agree of disagree with my list? Have you fallen for any of these lies about church? What would you add to the list? Let’s hear it!
Today’s guest post comes from my friend and blogging hero, Sammy Adebiyi. I can say, in all honesty, that Sammy is my blogging soulmate. I think things and then he writes them–often with more passion and wit that I could ever conjure up. I’m honored and excited to feature him on Modern Reject. I hope you enjoy this post. I know I did!
Every time I hear the word ‘retirement’, I cringe. I can honestly say I HATE that word. If there is a word that describes the polar opposite of how I want my life to end, it would be the word ʻretirementʼ.
Just to be clear, if what you mean by retirement is being intentional about saving (in the context of giving) so you can sustain your family when your body fails you, then Iʼm with you. Sign me up.
But, if you follow Jesus and your vision of retirement is saving up so you can move to Hawaii, lay in the sun all day and enjoy the fruit of your labor at 65 [i.e live a relaxed and comfortable life till you die] then Iʼm concerned.
No, Iʼm appalled.
I get it if you call me ignorant or naive.
Maybe I am.
Iʼm sure you can make a solid argument for retirement. Iʼm sure you can give me 100 legitimate reasons why you deserve to suntan in Jamaica the rest of your life.
Iʼm sure you got it all figured out. Thereʼs just only one problem with your plan if youʼre a Christian. Continue reading Is Retirement Biblical?
I have seen people roll their eyes, or raise their brows when during conversation I say something like, “…and the Lord told me…” I suspect that many Christians have never actually heard the Lord speak. The reason, however, is not that He hasn’t spoken to them–He has spoken and they simply do not know how to hear Him.
So here’s the questions: Do you know how God speaks and can you recognize His voice? Continue reading How to Hear from God
Yesterday, I posed this question on Facebook: If you had to describe your church in 3 words what would you say?
I decided to answer the question too. I thought for a minute and then completely cheated and used two hyphenated words for a grand total of 5 words. I said:
My church: Spirit-filled, Christ-centered, and family.
But, if I have to play fair and really only use 3 words, I would say the 3 words that best decribe my church would be: Continue reading What 3 Words Describe Your Church?
Did He like to play pranks on His disciples? Is that really what He was doing when He said John was His fave?
My husband imagines Jesus sitting around a fire late at night, shootin’ the breeze with His disciples. In Jonathan’s imagination, there had to have been some jokes cracked and some gas passed. I mean, there were dudes. Jesus had to laugh at farts and fart jokes because, well, almost all men do, right?
Just last night we were talking about this–Jesus being funny or not–and a few minutes later, I decided to hop over and visit Ragamuffin Soul for some reason. Lo and behold, I saw an image that some would call sacrilegious and others would call downright awesome. A picture like this only comes along once. I saw it and I smiled… Continue reading Breakdancing Jesus
I know I don’t talk politics much here on Modern Reject. Truth be told, I am a political junkie and I have to temper myself, otherwise this blog would become a veritable political buffet.
All that to say, sometimes something so juicy, controversial, titilating and downright hilarious ensues that it begs to be discussed.
So, if you don’t follow politics or have been asleep for the last day, here’s a quick video of what went down Wednesday (yesterday) at the Democratic National Convention:
After watching the video, you will see that the yeas and nays were basically equal. Some have argued that the nays were a bit louder and more boisterous at the end. Then we see poor Antonio Villaraigosa, the Convention Chairman, bang the gavel and push through a proposal to include “God” (and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel) into the Democratic party platform despite the obvious opposition to such language.
The takeaways are many. Political blogs and news sources are having a hay day with this one–Republicans and Democrats alike. The religious and irreligious are also foaming at the mouth.
I, for one, just want to hear what you think. I’m not here to play politics or to try and persuade anyone one way or the other. But one of the proverbial questions this whole debacle has raised is whether or not the separation of church and state is American?
More than that, is there room for God in politics? Do you think God should be included in either of the political party platforms? If God was removed from politics (as desired by those who voted nay at the DNC) what do you think would be the result?
Let’s discuss. Let’s debate. Let’s be kind, respectful, and have fun.
Before becoming a Christian, I thought of God as a kind of grand puppeteer. I mean, I didn’t tend to think He was an evil puppet master, but I certainly didn’t think God was intimate, personal, or present.
I imagined Him sitting on His throne in the clouds, judging us from above, interjecting His hand when He decided to do so, but also withdrawing His presence when He willed.
He was a sort of detached heavenly being and Jesus was just a really nice guy who tried to make things better.
Have most young women today ever heard of the word “modesty?” Truly? If you were to stop the average 12 or 13 year-old girl on the street and ask her for a definition of the word “modesty,” what do you think she would say?
I’ll tell you. She’d say, “Huh?”
Looking back, I realize that before even becoming a Christian, I had a certain level of modesty about me. When friends chose to wear more provocative or sexy clothing, I declined. I never really felt comfortable in bikinis and often tried to cover myself.
But, now I know that modesty extends so far beyond what we wear. Modesty isn’t solely about mini-skirts and push-up bras. It is a state of being, a quality one holds. Modesty encompasses more than we assume, but even much of what we assume is wrong. Continue reading Are You a Modest Christian?