None of us are Christ and few of us are Christ-like. We fail each other. We sin against one another. We forget that we are meant to be a family and not merely a social club or association where we pay our annual dues.
But a real family, defined by its beauty and imperfections–its messiness and its glory.
Yet, families fail us because people fail us. The church fails us, not because it is broken, but because we are broken. Individually, we are broken pieces, often consumed by our dysfunction and our past, our pain and our shame.
Yet, in God’s family we are called chosen, redeemed, perfected, renewed, restored. We are not a soon-to-be or maybe-someday people of God. We are the people of God now. Today. Yesterday and Tomorrow.
The church in all its intended glory and rightful glory–it’s present glory and the glory that is to be revealed–is the body of Jesus Christ. And yet, it is still comprised of people–people like me, who fail, who sin, who forget that we are members of the family of the Most High God. Adopted. Once orphaned, but now named.
Over the last year, I’ve had numerous husbands email me and share with me their heartbreaking, if not tragic, sex life stories. They explain how their wives, who were once willing to engage in sex 2-3 times a week have now become completely closed off, never wanting any type of physical interaction.
They tell me how much they love their wives, how attractive they still find her, how much they long to please her–be it emotionally or physically.
Some of these confessions are so raw, wounds so gaping, that I cry as I read them. Some are so personal and candid that I cannot read on and I pass them along to my husband and ask that he be the one to respond.
But, in all, I’m left feeling the sadness of their stories weigh upon my heart. How is it that two people who once felt the hope and promise of love–including sexual love– now live a sexless, passionless existence?
How do you get from one to the other? From a well-spring to a dried-up well? From a spiritual joining to an almost systematic dividing?
Of course, it is not just men who have written me expressing their pain and loss. Women write too (albeit far less) and share about their husbands lack of a sex drive, his disinterest in them physically, his addiction to pornography, or his excuses about being “too tired.”
We’ve all heard someone we know, when asked about where they are attending church, respond with something like, “Well, I’m church shopping. You know, just looking…”
We nod our heads in agreement or in sympathy, having once perhaps been in the same situation–visting church after church, Sunday after Sunday, often left feeling defeated or discouraged.
Some people, dare I say, even use the phrase “church shopping” as an excuse to linger churchless and out of community. It’s the acceptable way of saying, “I don’t feel like being part of a church right now.”
A few months back, I had a similar exchange with someone and, as I replayed the conversation in my mind, I got a little angry. I realized, I don’t think we are supposed to church shop. Ever, in fact. Continue reading Stop Church Shopping
I know a girl in her mid-twenties who was raised by a single mom and grew up without knowing her father.
For many of us who grow up fatherless or with strained father relationships, we experience great loss, as a result. Thankfully, this girl met Christ at any early age, yet she always longed for an earthly father to love her, not just her Father in Heaven.
When this particular girl was a few years older, she met a husband and wife in the their forties who began to show God’s love to her, counsel her, pray with her, and treat her like their own.
You are forgiven…completely? Not-sorta-kinda-maybe-forgiven. Not partially, slightly forgiven, but completely forgiven. God does not remember your sin. He has forgotten them. Forever.
Do you know…
You are not a broken adult whom God has patched up and pieced back together? No. You are altogether new..a new creation breathed into being from nothingness. You are not a remodel, you are a reconstruction–the former demolished and the new rebuilt on the foundation of Jesus Christ? Continue reading Do You Know…?
My generation grew up with the belief that we could accomplish great things, realize any dream, and actually be anything we want. Well, the former two might be true, but I would argue that the latter is actually a lie.
It sounds nice. It tickles the ears. It feels good to say it. While you can be a lot of things, including a new creation, you cannot be anything your heart so desires.
While the notion of telling children that they can be anything sounds wonderful, it actually does more harm. My generation heard some of that message, but more and more children today are being bombarded with the “you can achieve all things” mantra. Kids today grow up honestly believing that they are bound by nothing, including performance (or lack thereof), skill set, intellect, hard work, or perseverance. Continue reading You CANNOT Be Anything You Want
Today’s guest post is from Chris Lautsbaugh, who writes the grace-filled and encouraging blog No Superheroes. Chris pours out grace in all that he writes, as he knows the freedom grace offers us to move away from thinking we need to be superheroes, and instead allowing us to be true followers of Christ. I’m so excited to introduce Chris and his blog to you and I hope you enjoy!
My wife and I recently found our house decorated with Post It Notes. Our son, Garett, had written “I Love You’ on the notes and attached them to mirrors, televisions, even in the toilet. We were so touched by our seven-year old’s tender heart.
My wife commented to him about it, thanking him. His response brought a sickening feeling to our stomach’s.
“I am paying you back for all the bad things I have done.”
This of course began a process of explaining our love was not based on his deeds and our forgiveness was already present.
It’s so hard when we see a performance mentality in our children, be it with Post It Notes or attempting to earn our favor with a perfect report card.
I can’t count the number of times I have heard a Christian say something along the lines of, “Well, sin is sin. God sees all sin the same.”
Really? Does He, really? God sees all sin the same?
Do you believe that? Because, I, for one, have a hard time believing that someone stealing a candy bar is the equivalent of murdering an innocent person, in God’s eyes.
The arguement that the two are identical in their weight and nature, “sin is sin,” flies in the face of God’s character. Nowhere in scripture do we see God acting this out. If anything, we see the opposite.
“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.