I Love the Church

Posted: Nov 18, 2008 in Community, Spiritual Transformation, Theology

“I love the church!” Isn’t it a profound thing to say. It seems like such a given, right? Yet today, it seems that more than ever the church is under attack from even her members. Perhaps, I should qualify this and say, the church in America is under attack even by her members. Things like, the problem with the church is… Or if I had it my way, I would…

Truth is, I have been one to have speak in less than honorable ways about the church as well. Now, I want to confess and say I am sorry to all who listened to my moaning and groaning, as though I knew the direction better than those called to cast vision and move the church into Christian formation. To my youth ministers, I am sorry for thinking you didn’t know what you were talking about, though I chalk that up more to, my teenage mentality. To the ministers overseeing the Seekers class at University CofC in Abilene, to the shepherds and ministers (and my mentor, Doug Peters) at North Davis CofC in Arlington, to my professors/shepherds at Minter Lane CofC and finally to the Singing Oaks shepherds and ministers, though only with you for a short time, I AM SORRY FOR MY ARROGANCE AND LACK OF HUMILITY. I was seeking to manage the unmanageable. For Christ gave up His power, he relinquished his equality with God. While, I sought to bring it to success. The notion is laughable considering the two thousand years of growth and survival.

Please pray for your family at VineLife for God is moving powerfully among us and yet the evil one is seeking to destroy what God has already set in motion. I believe he has a plan for this body that is huge and magnificent but evil is lurking around every corner. May we not succumb to the management of Christ’s body, for He has had a plan since the beginning of time. I believe that in the management of the body we are serving the destructive ambitions of the evil one. May we all remember that when we speak ill of the body and it’s members, we speak ill of Christ, himself. In Matthew 25.31-46 Jesus says…

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,  43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Our goal is not the management of the body of Christ. Our job is to live as Jesus out loud and for the world to see. To submit to His love so that we may love. To grow in his image so that others may see Him. To see in others the face of Christ, who was born of a virgin, lived among us, died on a cross and was raised to the newness of life so that we may enter into His glory by the power of His Spirit Holy. When we speak against the church, we speak against Christ. When we speak or tear down our brothers and sisters, we in turn are crucifying our Savior yet again. But when we build up the body and serve the “least of these” we in turn serve Christ himself. I long to hear our Savior say to his church, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Won’t that be a grand and glorious day.

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