Move Forward…God Does.
One of the most beautiful things about life is the fact that we were created for change and to be agents of change. This past week my daughter Bryleigh, who is four, started her first week of Pre-K. It is actually a funny thing because I have also got back into school as well to finish out a degree in Pastoral Ministry that I so desperately need. To get Bryleigh excited about the school year, Wendy and I would talk about how awesome school would be and how it was amazing it was to see her becoming a “big” girl now. To our surprise she has taken this first week on with much anticipation and excitement which has made things much easier than me or Wendy could have ever expected.
As I reflect on this, I cannot help but think about the fact that as humans we were placed here to change. To develop. To grow. It would be crazy and an injustice to us all if God placed us here and said, “That is it. Do not change. Do not grow. Do not discover. Do not move forward.” I really could go on and on and on! What is even more exciting is the opportunity we have as Christ followers to recognize the fact that this transformation should overflow from our inner being into the world around us. We would be very immature in our faith to believe that God does not change or move forward to fulfill His mission here on this earth. With that being said, we must understand the responsibility we have as disciples to make disciples of all nations through the power that comes from the Holy Spirit at work in our lives as we devote ourselves to living out and sharing the eternal Word of God with our world around us. This means that we must do whatever it takes to find the methods that work within our culture and put them to work. Although the Word of God never changes, the methods and how we accomplish the mission of why God has placed us here individually and as a community always will.
To make my point clear, let me ask this question. What if we told Bryleigh that she did not have to go to school because we wanted her to stay where she was? We did not want her to learn and grow so school would not benefit her at all. Better yet, what if we allowed her to go to school but told her not to listen to her teachers or any other administrators because what we had invested in her life these past four years was the only thing that was right and was all she needed. We could also take it a step further over the next few years and say, “Now when you get to Middle School or High School do not use computers or any of these new methods to learn. You just keep coloring, tracing letters, taking a nap and playing on the playground because that works for you now.” I know this sounds somewhat ridiculous and maybe I’m stretching this scenario a bit, but is this not how we often treat the what we do in the Kingdom of God, especially in dealing with church?
Over the past few years our faith family, Revelation Church, has gone through some serious transition. I will be the first to admit as one of the Pastor’s at Revelation Church that not all of this transition has been handled properly, but all of it was necessary. What is extremely sad to me is to lose people you are fighting and praying for on a continual basis due to a lack of moving forward within their own lives. Not all who have gone elsewhere have this mentality, but many have. A mentality that simply say’s, “It must me done a certain way because we have always done it that way.” I share this not because I desire to throw anyone under the bus or call anyone out but to simply make the point that most of us are neck deep in a selfish, what is in it for me, spirituality that says, “If it cannot be done the way I am comfortable with it being done then I am not going to have anything to do with it.” What we must realize, before it is too late, is that this flies in the face of what Jesus intended for us as Christ followers. When our worship and service to God is based on the conditional things that we are comfortable with then we are pretty much missing the whole point of the life of Jesus. Yes He did come to die for you, but He also commanded us to make disciples of all nations. This looks different in all settings which means our methods must be different in the different settings of our lives. Most of us fail at this because when it comes down to it we shy away from reaching out due to a lack of confidence in our own methods. In other words, we know our methods suck because they did not work ten years ago so why would they work now? This leads me to these two questions. When is the last time you discipled someone? Have you ever discipled anyone?
These are the questions that we must get very real and serious about. If Jesus has given us this command, then why are we not doing it? Why is there no urgency to take the gospel of Jesus to the corners of the earth? I believe the answer lies in the fact that many of us are okay with where we are. Okay with just going to church. Alright with just singing in a choir. Cool with just doing life with those that we are comfortable doing life with. When will we stop being childish in our perception of what church is and understand that it is not about us. What we want. How we want it. It is about being an authentic community, that accepts and loves people for who they are, stands behind their leadership, and most importantly takes the presence of the Kingdom and its King into every corner of the human life simply by fully living in the kingdom with Him.
In conclusion, let me say that I am so grateful to be involved in something that is real. Blessed to be in love with a God who is moving forward and who desires the same for those who would consider themselves His children. I mentioned earlier that all of the transition we have gone through as a faith family was necessary for us, and I stand behind that 100% whether you agree with me or not. We used to do church really well, had big churchy crowds, and all was good from the outside looking in. We still have great church services, but it looks and feels much different now. We were spiritual, but spiritual is not always a good thing. Lurking deep within was the fact that we were reaching absolutely no one that did not come from the same cookie cutter mold as us. I am so glad to say now that we are reaching those who have never been a part of this thing in any way whatsoever. Those that are broken, bound, hurting, etc. At Revelation Church, we place high priority on being disciples that will make other disciples, not just tending sheep but preparing people to lead and develop others around them. I’m excited that we have began to focus on what was important to Jesus instead of the number of people we could get into a sanctuary on Sunday.
Although it has been a tough journey, I am thankful and I am ready to see what God is going to do at Revelation Church!