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When I was thirsty…

October 16, 2014 — Leave a comment

I have, in the last 37 years, had the pleasure of attending, being associated with or speaking/leading in many kinds of churches. I have been in liturgical high churches, charismatic, pentecostal, ones that speak in tongues, ones that don’t, those that have bands and those that think music is wrong, ones that don’t allow food or coffee in the church and those that eat popcorn and serve lattes, ones that center around communion and others that never do it… You name it and I have seen it.

There is something I want to point out though…
The father LOVES ALL THE FLAVORS of His bride. Even if we as Christians decide which flavors are holier than others (which quite frankly is judging on non-essentials), the Father sees us all on level ground and ALL His children.

So what then marks us as “mature” Christians?

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1

Simply this: How you do Sunday means NOTHING if you are not LOVING people recklessly Mon-Sat.
You are a clanging cymbal and God wants His bride to sound like a band that is in tune!

In the end Jesus will say “when I was thirsty did you give me drink… when I was naked did you give me clothes… when i was in trouble did you come to my aid?”

He will NOT say “when you DID church did you….”

Don’t just go to church… try something radical and BE THE CHURCH!

beeching

My friend Vicky Beeching was interviewed for this article yesterday, announcing that she was gay.

I have had the pleasure of working with vicky for a few years now.
She is one of the nicest and smartest (borderline genius…can’t give her a big head) people I know.

This article was heart-wrenching to read and broke my heart for her. I am sorry she had to walk this walk alone and that the “church people’s” labels superseded the truth in Christ over her life…I have seen so much spiritual abuse over the years, “in the name of Jesus”, and it sickens me when the church paints the wrong picture of the gospel.

I am glad to know this woman.

I may not agree with all her opinions on all things, but I don’t have to.

As she said in her article in reference to her parents disagreeing but loving her:

“It’s a picture of what is possible, even when you don’t agree, that love can supersede everything.”

Love has no strings. Grace has no prejudice and I am so glad God pours that out daily for both of us.

I didn’t post about this to start a theology debate on my site, or on facebook for that matter, so if you have the urge to comment like that… Don’t!

Instead go and love like Christ did!

John 13:34-35  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you,

Go find somebody in the church that has been labeled by something other than Christ….
give them a hug and tell them that Jesus loves them with a NEVER-ENDING LOVE.

Tell them that no matter what hurt or baggage they carry that they are a son/daughter of the King and have a seat at His table of mercy.

Ephesians 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

I have been doing “ministry” my whole life it seems. My dad was a pastor and my family can be best described as missionaries. I have been in ministry/working in and out of the church on my own and with my wife for 18 years now. I have seen it all. I have seen the amazing side of the church. The side that loves and cares for those who need jesus. Somewhere along the way, and I can’t remember exactly where, I saw the veil pulled back from the Church.

Pay no attention to the crap behind the curtain.

The hidden side of the church is an ugly side. It is a side of conflict, discouragement, gossip and hypocritical prejudice. We all know that this exists as a whole, but love the idea of our church leaders being exempt from such things.

Great words, rich with meaning and purpose, once gave the church purpose. Words like: evangelical, sacraments, charisma, and even Christian are now tainted by politics and culture. They now give way to judgement from people on the outside and Christ is automatically written off because of His followers.

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

I wanted to just spill some stuff from my soul and since this is my blog I can do what I want.

To those who are not in “the Church”

I am sorry…
I’m sorry that we have not loved as Christ loves us.
You are not our pet project.
We are not the sin police.
I am sorry you think we are nasty, judgmental, hypocritical, uncaring and isolated.
You are right…We are…
The truth is we are messy and scarred. Many of us are still bleeding from life.
We are torn and broken.
Broken people have sharp edges. Our words can cut deep.
Our leaders and pastors are good at pretending sometimes, but we are just as messed up.
We all need jesus.
What sins are you carrying?
I am carrying sin as well, but I get to lay it at the feet of jesus.
Please don’t let the cloud of my mess and imperfections make it hard for you to look through the Fog and see the light of Christ.
My job as a pastor is not to judge you.
My job is not to change you.
My job is not to constantly point out your cuts and then pour salt on the wound.

My job is to grab your arm and walk side by side with you helping us both chase after Jesus and rest in the shadow of His grace.

To those who are in “the Church”

Awake O sleeper. Rise from your apathy.
Stop licking your wounds while cutting others.
The church is a hospital for the sick and for those who don’t know there is a cure.
It is not a country club and a place to get “high” on the spirit.
If the spirit keeps telling you to stay in the building and not go tell others about God then you are listening to the wrong spirit.
Our call is to love.
More importantly our call is to walk in humility.
Always remember we are in constant need of God’s grace.
We can’t give grace when we haven’t received it yet
We can’t give the love of Christ to others when we haven’t submitted ourselves to Him.
Don’t forsake the one that loves you and gave His life for you and then pretend you are sacrificing sitting in the comfort of your brand new church chair.
Stop arguing.
Stop debating meaningless drivel.
Stop justifying and defending church culture and instead BE THE CHURCH.

Our job as the church is to point others to Jesus.
We are to shadow Jesus. To copy how He heals the broken hearted. To copy how He sets the captives free.
We are to be ambassadors of His love.
Preach transformation.
Preach grace
More importantly ask God to help you live it.

Burn Your White flag!

February 5, 2013 — Leave a comment

burn

At our 1Prayer meetings in Newport RI we have been battling for 4 years now in prayer and worship for our community at the same time watching the Bride of Christ fragment week by week. Churches rise and fall by transferring congregations to each other. The lighthouse is not a city on the hill but instead a representation of something historical and with no lifegiving relevance. The church continues to tell the pillar of fire to follow US instead of us getting in line behind GOD. This is not isolated to our area either. Many of my friends around the country are dealing with this as well.

We need to repent of our dis-unity.
We need to repent of our isolation.
We need to seek transformation. YES!!
But it starts with the bride.

We can’t even begin to tackle apathy in the community when we are not willing to tackle apathy in the Bride.
We can’t begin to fight depression in our city when we are not praying for the JOY of the Lord to return to our Churches.

I keep hearing people say “the battle belongs to the Lord”. I know there is biblical truth to it but that line is NOT an excuse to no longer fight. It is our orders to march behind Him in battle.

One of my least favorite songs these days is “White Flag” by Christ Tomlin. While i know the lyrics are meant to portray that the battle belongs to the Lord and we need to surrender all I can hear is:
“We’re laying down our weapons now. We raise our white flags. We surrender all to you”

We do need to surrender to God and let Him use us, but guess what… He will use us as His instruments of peace. He will use us as His weapons of warfare against principalities and rulers in spiritual realms.

Let me suggest something other than living in a happy land of gumdrops where the church is no longer ruffling the feathers of satan.

Joel 3:10 says “Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.”

This is not the time to lay our weapons down. It is time to fight, but we have to make sure we are fighting the right thing. The ONLY thing that unites the bride is Jesus. We need to be fighting to spread the word to all the believers that JESUS  is ALIVE… That ASLAN is roaring in our communities calling the armies out of the caves to join together as different tribes under the banner of the ONE TRUE GOD!

 

A funny thing happened the other evening at our mens group…

Let me preface this with the fact that our church has about 65 – 75 people coming on sunday morning so that you know that this is not a large church.

My dad, who is the pastor, and I were discussing doing a makeover on our drum kit. We were talking about getting new cymbals and heads and maybe throwing a shield on it and mic’ing it. We will be moving into a new building soon and want to get the best sound possible. Currently our drummer is also our pastor and while he is a professional drummer it isn’t always an ideal situation.

As we were discussing it one of the guys in our small group pipes up and says.

“I can probably get you some zildjian cymbals for really cheap.”

My dad and I whipped around. WHAT!

It was now time to drill this guy. How does he even know about drums at all? Why had he never told us that?

He proceeded to tell us that he would be happy to setup the kit for us and that he used to be a drum tech.

He worked with bands like alice & chains, Tool, and the black crowes among others.

Of course our jaws hit the floor.

Are you kidding. Why have you not..? huh?

He told us ways of making drums sound better that even we had never heard before. He told us you can put cotton balls in the bass drum instead of using a pillow so you can add and subtract to get the best sound and more.

We then went to get some coffee where this man also told us he played drums. I don’t know if he is good or not, but he just may be.

When we asked him why in the 4-5 months of being in the church, connecting with people, and coming to a mens meeting of about 7-8 guys had he not brought this up he answered.

“I was waiting for God to bring it up and for Him to open the door”

Wow.

I have to tell you I ride the fence with that reply. I love the faith aspect of it, but I also think there are people who have so much to offer and instead of laying everything out on the table they are waiting for God to present a situation.

Praise God this man opened up and he will have the opportunity to be used in the kingdom, but he is just one our people.

Remember we are a church of about 70 or so people and were in desperate need of a drummer. This man, who I really have grown to enjoy in our mens meetings, was completely untapped.

I can’t imagine how much more prevalent this situation is with the larger churches.

So how do we get people who are commited to the church to lay everything on the table, and let us know thier hidden talents?

How do we best utilize people if we don’t even know what they are skilled to do?

We have done the questionnaires and they have yielded little to know fruit.

This man was praying God would present the situation for him to open up about it. I think that is very admirable.

My question though is…maybe we are the situation. Maybe God is waiting for us leaders to get people to lay it on the table.

So how do we do it? Any thoughts? tried and true methods?