The church’s GRAND opportunity

I have been away for a couple of days forcing myself to write. My wife has been insisting I get some things down in a book format instead of piece mealing things together in scattered teachings and blog posts.

Where I decided to focus was around several thoughts on our incredibly changing times. As I was putting all this together over the past couple of days, I was not filled with angst. I was not filled with fear. I haven’t felt that way at all, even though I am fully aware of the HUGE changes we are experiencing and will continue to experience as the Church in America.

As I am putting all this together, I am full of HOPE. This is probably the greatest OPPORTUNITY for the Church in America. If we can get our heads up, our minds clear, and our hearts fully on Jesus, we just may see that these changes are not going to waste. There are tough changes, to be sure, but at the other end of all this we have the opportunity to actually be the Church of the Living God.

I am not filled with fear or anxiety. I am filled with HOPE.

There is a great work ahead of us. I am excited to be getting at it!

 

Being people of hope

N.T. Wright leaves us with a powerful reminder of our call as the Church in his book, Surprised by Scripture. 

The mission of the church is to drag people into buildings or to run raffles or issues statements.

At some point having a place to worship, having funding, and stating beliefs do matter, but it’s not core to what the Church is about.

…the mission of the church is to be for the world what Jesus was for Israel — a mission that will send us back to the four Gospels again and again, not only to be amazed by the power and love of God but to draw down that power and love, through prayer and the Holy Spirit, so that we can be Jesus people for the world, kingdom people for the world, forgiveness people for the world.

It is to live in forgiveness, not mere tolerance. And with forgiveness comes “an implacable refusal to collude with sin, with violence or prejudice or spite…” If there is something that will deface and corrupt God’s good and beautiful creation, as the people of God we don’t want anything to do with it.

What we CAN offer this world is the forgiveness and love of Christ. It is a love that calls the sinner out and says, “You really don’t need to live that way anymore. You are capable of so much more.”

We CAN offer this world works of justice, acts of kindness, hope of healing, and a willingness to walk with anyone through their doubt as they truly search for a way that is better in their life.

The powerful hope of the Kingdom for this world isn’t found in the headlines. It isn’t even found in social media most of the time. The powerful hope of the Kingdom is found in people who anonymously go into hard places to serve in ways no one sees. They reach out to prisoners. They feed the homeless. They sit with dying patients when no family is left to see them… On and on. It is in the corridors of power where people will quietly meet with those in power are are so lonely… and NOT take a picture to post on Facebook. People who will simply be with them to hear their struggles and walk them through some hard decisions.

Powerful hope of the Kingdom is found in the out of the way places where no one goes. We feel good making a hashtag about Nigerian girls, but there are so many in that zone trying to simply live out hope and healing to the families that are left behind. Unsung heroes. True hope.

There is probably someone in your life today needing that hope and forgiveness. They’ve stumbled… again… and they will probably stumble again next week. A phone call, a card, a visit today would be life to them.

Bring hope and healing. And leave the social media out of it this time.