church family Tag

LFC

I am not a get to church “just in time person”, and I detest being late, I arrive forty-five minutes to an hour early for church, I started doing that at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa all those years ago, did it at the Vineyard, and currently at the Encounter Service. Why, because I love God, passionately love God and I cannot wait to worship Him passionately with others who love Him passionately. And I am excited to gather with other believes, to gather with the body of Christ, that we can be mutually encouraged by each others faith, to get together with them and be the church together. I cannot wait to one-another them, to give and receive prayer, to give and receive a word from the Lord. To hear what the Spirit has to say to the church, for the Spirit to move among us, so I don’t want to be just in time for church.

I realize that we need each other, as the body of Christ, to help each other walk with Christ, live out the life of Christ, to become Christlike, walk through whatever challenges life presents us with. That’s not something I am going to stroll in for as though it’s not essential.

The scriptures tell us we are living stones that are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, is that something you want to show up for at the last minute, be late to? Not me, I can’t wait to gather with the other living stones to built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood together.

Like Friday night Encounter Service I go to, arriving forty five minutes to an hour early also enables me to get ready for Jesus and the body to come together, the worship team always does a sound check of two or three songs, I call it pre-worship. After the pre-worship, I open my bible get in the word, then get on the floor on my face and pray. I empty myself of the things of this world, come down from the jerks in rush hour traffic that ticked me off, get my mind, heart set on Jesus. By the time the service starts, I have already encountered God in the pre-worship, the word and prayer, my face is set like flint towards God.

So you could say when it comes to meeting with Jesus, gathering with the body of Christ, gathering around the word of God, I am like a true football fan. I’m a tailgater, I show up early, I’m excited, paint my face, bare my chest and paint it, get out my foam finger, my picket fence, I’m and hoping and holing, ready to go, fired up ready for church to start, ready to encounter Jesus, encounter the Holy Spirit in action. I show up early because I’m excited to gather with Jesus, with His church, hear His word.

Jesus is going to show up if it’s really is a gathering of Christ followers, Jesus is going to speak to the church, the Holy Spirit is going to be equipping and teaching, moving in power, gifts will be given. Worship will be going on, one anothering is going to be going on. Love for one another beyond the worlds understanding will be going on. People may be healed, maybe people will be baptized into a new life in Christ.

Do you understand Jesus will be there, Jesus will be there, JESUS Will Be There, the body of Christ will be there, my co-labors in Christ, the beloved of Jesus will be there, and I do not want to miss one minute of it.

 

Also read this post about church Rituals vs Relationship – Worship from the Heart vs from a booklet

This is a weird generation that we live in, that we say things like hey, did you go to church today? How was church? Because in our mind this so normal to us, because we think of church as a building or we think of the church as a service you attend, but that’s not biblical.

When you think of church don’t think movie, think gang.

Think of church like a gang, like joining a gang, you don’t say what time is gang today, how was gang today? No, you jump into a group of people 27/7 you change your identity, have a sense of belonging, you commit your life to it, to the others in it.

You go to a movie, you have no attachment to it, you go to it, you set there for two hour and watch it happen, you have no part in what goes on, then you go out and critique it, whether you liked it or not.

Family, that’s what God wanted. that’s what he wanted of the family, just look at the Bible, look at these people. There was a deep, deep commitment to one another, it was not something they just attended.

In Acts 2:42 it says they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching in the Fellowship to the breaking of bread and the prayers. It says They devoted themselves, in John 17, Jesus prayer was not just that we put up with one another, He says Father want them to be one, I want them to be one just like you and me are, your in Me and I’m in you, that they may be in Us.

Jesus wanted our unity to get to that level that would parallel the father and son in their unity, so he wanted tremendous love in his church.

This is what happened in the first church, they devoted themselves to each other, they devoted themselves to fellowship, this is what matters, this is what needs to happen in the church. this and what God wants of the church.

God says don’t come like your are going to the movies, He said devoted your selves to Fellowship, be one just as Jesus and I are.

Devoted to one another, devoted to this fellowship devoted to these relationships, that is suppose to describe the church, be how it functions.

That’s what church was supposed to be, devoted to this, walking together, your a gang now, your a family now, your body now, one part hurts the whole part hearts. Let’s get back to that.

Church is not something you attend, it changes your whole identity, you have a common purpose now.

You’ve got this sworn allegiance to one another, you sat let’s go let’s go, we see something much bigger than ourselves to devote ourselves to.

In John 13:35 Jesus said “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Do you get that, Jesus said everyone will know your my disciples because of your love for the body. Not because you go to church, not because you say you are, not because you can quote some bible verse. But because you love the body of Christ. And we learn in Act’s 2 he means in actions, proven in daily deeds.

It was that type of love that the world was supposed to look on and go, I want to part of that.

If we can’t get this figured out, does God really want church that isn’t known for its love, it’s just known for a good speaker, a good worship band or good programs, a good juggler to entertain them. Is that really what he asked for? No it’s not.

What does the Bible emphasize.

I’m saying what does the bible emphasize?

If a ten -year-old red read this, what would be obvious to him or her, of what this book emphasizes?

Let’s was look at what God prioritizes and let’s make those our priorities. Not programs, strategies, marketing plans, or charismatic speakers, juggler or a rock show. But love for one another, being devoted to one another, being devoted to the blood and body of Christ.

I’m at an age where I’m going, man, all I want is this, I want to emphasize what God emphasizes, prioritize what God said we are to.

He said this is how the world to believe that you are my disciples. They walk in and go Look how they love each other, look how they are devoted to each other. Their so different yet look at the bond, look at the way they sacrifice for each other. I’ve seen glimpses of this when I was at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa back in the day.

It was that type of love that the world was supposed to look on and go, I want to part of that, part of what Jesus prayed for.

I’ve just started looking at Scripture and thinking if we can’t build a loving church, should we have a church at all? Malachi 2:3 says “Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it.” God’s people where bringing Him lame offerings, not what He asked for, and God said He was going to rub dung in their faces and reject them for it. Think about that, God said He was going to rub crap in their faces. God is never happy when we offer Him what ever we want, only when we bring Him what He wants.

I want that one day, where wherever were so connected ,were not just a bunch of people attending a sermon. But that there’s a deep, deep love like in the early church, where they are giving the shirt off their backs to one another. There wasn’t a single needy person in the place. Where the people are one just like Jesus and the Father are, that devoted to, that in love with each other, that type of church that I want to be a part of.

 

 

I want to gather with People who love God and have a daily deep abiding intimate relationship with God, with Jesus, with His word. Who want a love relationship with the body of Christ so deep so intimate that is a answer to Jesus prayer in John 17:21. Who is devoted to the blood and body of Christ. Who’s life purpose is to Go and make disciples. I am seeking others who want that, who are seeking that, above all else. What I am looking for is what the bible describes as a real follower of Jesus, what the real body of Christ, the church looks like, acts like and is.

We can’t just be a bunch of people that come in the room and face forward and hear a sermon, that’s not what God asked for. You can justify all you want, but that’s not what I see in Scripture. okay where going to be a body.

We’ve got to be a body, be a family, so, so that our neighbors look on they are in awe.

I’m not looking for a place to show up, a place to attend. I’m not interested in helping someone filling up the room with people.

I’m not looking for the right worship team, right kids ministry, best juggler or what ever.

I want a body, I want to be a part of this, what I read about in Act’s, what Jesus said would be know for its love for one another.

 

Did you ever walk in to or join any type of church thinking, here’s my goal to get as close to these people at the father is to the Son.

This is the way he ordained it, this is Jesus prayer, we are totally ignoring his prayer. This is the prayer of Christ, is this type of unity

This is God desire, this is what church was supposed to be. We’ve turn it into something else.

This is how their going to know you are my disciples, love, I don’t care how good the guy up there speaking. I don’t care how good your music is. I care if you have the best childcare workers, best building. it doesn’t matter, love, that’s what matters. This is how you can tell whose of God, whose of Satan.

 

If we want to impact the world, it’s not going to be through preachers and programs and great bands. It’s going to be through our unity and our love.

Part 1-  Church God’s Way

Part 2 – Church – Christ Centered

blood_body_christ

The gathering of Christ followers, what we call church, at its core it’s about the body and the blood of Jesus Christ, we are to gather because of Jesus,  because of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Without the blood and body of Christ we are nothing, we are doomed in our sins.

Center stage at any gathering of the Church should be the Lords table, communion, not some speaker be it the pastor of who ever. I seek to be part of a gathering where everyone coming in understands that it’s about blood and body of Jesus, communion, the Lords table, is all about Jesus, who He is and what He did.

This is what we have in common, the body and blood of Jesus Christ and we should always want this to always to be central to our gathering.

In Luke 22:19 Jesus said taking the bread and braking it, “Do this in remembrance of Me”, and we read in Act’s 2:42they devoted themselves……to the breaking of bread ……”.  I want to remember the body and blood of Jesus every time I gather with followers of Jesus, this is at the core why we come together. They got it, they understood what coming together was all about, Jesus’ blood and body.

Just as the disciples did, we get to partake of that too, devote ourselves to it two thousand years later we get to be doing the exact same thing the disciples did with Jesus, like the first church that we read about in Act’s did. And when we do, were connected to the body that was built upon the prophets and the apostles, with Jesus being the cornerstone and we get to join into this, that’s what were here for, so that must take center stage.

The early church did not just take communion, we read in Acts 2:42 they where devoted to it,  the actual Greek word is more really “they continuously devoted themselves”. That is, “They kept on devoting themselves” every time they gathered, every day even we read.

I want to be devoted, keep on devoting myself to it. It want to set myself apart for the purpose of communion. It was not just something tact onto a service once and a while.

Communion leads me to think how I am totally pure because of what Jesus did on the cross, He paid it all. My sin was dark, it was like blood re,d like crimson, and Jesus washed it white as snow. It’s just a joy to take that bread and remembering Jesus taking it and saying this is My body broken for you, this cup, my blood is poured out for you. I want to remember that daily, and celebrate with the body every time we meet up.

Starting with the blood and body of Jesus where can I go from there but into worshiping God the Father who sent His Son to die on a cross for me. To worship from the deepest part of my heart, worship songs of praise from the burning love in my heart. I don’t need a band to lead me, tell me what to sing, it will flow out of my heart. I will sing a new song to the Lord in my own words of love from my heart.

If I really believed my salvation, what Jesus did for me, remember His body and blood, wouldn’t I worship in an amazing way, wouldn’t I just be screaming my lungs out? Yes, and I do.

I want to gather with people who’s attitude is this is ware I want to be, I’m here because of Jesus, I want to be with the true followers of Jesus, I want to break bread, and remember what He did on that cross for me. I want to get together worship Him and tell Him how great He is. Sing with the people of God, pray with the people of God. Hear from the word of God. That is what I can be devoted to like I read in Act’s 2:42, And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. That’s the church I can be part of.

I don’t want be with people who are coming because of the speaker, the band, or the children’s program, we are to come together because God sent His Son. God said church is supposed to be about Jesus and I want this to always to be at the center. The body and blood of Christ, I don’t want to cover up the cross.

So when we walk in it’s not because so and so is leading, or because of that guy, or that band, but I come because of the body and blood of Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, I just want to celebrate His body being broken for me, his blood being shed for me. And I want to be with others of the same mindset.

I don’t just want to give lip service to the cross and blood of Jesus, to communion. I do not want to casually acknowledge it, casually talk about it, or once and a while, or do it once a month. I want to think about it, passionately talk about it, and be devoted to it. I want to do it in remembrance of what Jesus did for me, every time I gather with the body, every day. Jesus, I just want to remember Him, I want to proclaim Him, the cross, His body, His blood, and gather with others who are doing the same thing. I want to celebrate Jesus’ blood and body with others that are burn to celebrate it also.

This is the first thing I am looking for in a church gathering, a body of believers to be with, this is not optional, communion is to be center stage, every gathering, not the pastor, a band or anything else. And I don’t mean once and a while, on special occasions, or once a month even, I mean, every time we gather.

Part 1-  Church God’s Way

Part 3Church A Loving Family

I’m thinking I can’t afford to even consider another year of sitting in a “church service” and hearing someone preaching a sermon, or worse a sermonette, sing a few songs, saying amen, shake hands on my way out, and saying that’s church, my duty complete, and even worse think God’s happy with that.

When you look at scripture it wasn’t just show up for a service, sing a couple of songs, hear a message and walkaway, maybe be convicted or rejoice or whatever. On my way out shake hands, smile and ask “How are you? How’s work?” Respond I’m fine, works good, see you next week, and say church done for the week. No where do we ever see Jesus model that, describe it that way. Peter or Paul describe it that way. See it done that in in scripture or in the first 100 years of the church, no where. Read the book of Act’s, you will see a different church.

Jesus didn’t command us to get a bunch of people room to set around listen to one man talk one a week for an hour, that’s not what He asked for, not what He says the church will be known for.

God has been speaking to me, taking me deeper and deeper into His word and Himself the last 5 years, the last year especially He has been working in me in life changing everything. He has been speaking to me especially about church, what it is, and it’s purpose is according to him.

He has been speaking to me through His word, His Spirit through followers of Christ he has connected me with like Francis Chan and JD Greear and a few others.

I’m saying lets go back to Scripture and ask what did He say. Because Jesus did Not ask for a bunch of people just to come sing a couple of songs, to come sit and listen to a man give a sermon. God’s never wanted His church to be a one hour, one day a week event you attend like a Las Vegas show, something that’s put on for you. Something that is You centered, all about You and Your likes and dislikes.

I pick up the bible and read what Jesus said the church is to be, what its purpose is, read how God started the church, look at what the church did when it gathered in the beginning. And I say what God want’s is what I want. And I am not one of those who reads the word of God, then like Eve listen to Satin say to me, did God really mean what He said? Did he really mean what He said? After all the bible is descriptive not prescriptive for you today.

One thing I know for sure, when I stand before God, He is not gong to say to me “you fool” you actually believed my word, took it literally, you actually believed I would do what I said, you actually where obedient to what I said, you did church my way. You loved Me and Jesus so much you believed my words “you fool”. Not hardly.

On the other hand those who say the book of Act’s is descriptive not prescriptive, fables, symbolic, figurative or what ever excuse to not believe what it says, not to obey it, want to do it their way. Well let’s just say I don’t want to hear what they will hear the day they appear before God.

What does God say church is suppose to be? I say let’s go to the word and see what did Jesus die for. What did he say the church was supposed to be and just do it, no more excuses.

Imagine if you were on an island and never been to a church and just read the bible, over and over and over and over. And then you get rescued somehow and you come to America. And you went to visit one of those things you’ve been reading about, this gathering of believers. And then you walk into a building called a church going okay, I have been reading the bible. And I want to experiences what I’ve read about, with this group of people here. You walked in and look around, would you find what you would’ve expected? Would you find what Jesus describe, said He wanted? Find what you read about in Act’s? No, you would not.

I’m talking about the real thing, a gathering of the church done the way God said, designed it, what I read about in the bible. I don’t know about you but I want the real thing, the church I see in Acts, the one Jesus died for. I’m talking about doing what God asked His people to do, being what the church is to be, its reason for being according to Him, His word. What God said it’s to looks like when true followers of Jesus gather together. That’s what I am after, what God has been showing me in His word and speaking loudly to me about, that He wants.

Part 2 – Church – Christ Centered

Part 3 – Church A Loving Family

Church is to look more like a family than a corporation!

Starting, Planting a Church is about relationships, church is all about relationships. The relationship between God and His church, Jesus and His bride, and the body/church with each other. Then there is the relationship with the world, but the church must first be built on it’s relationship with God, Jesus and each other, that’s its foundation, core and heart of what it is. Jesus said the the body, His church would be recognized by the peoples love for one another, that sounds like a family to me not a business. Too often churches come with nicely packaged systems, programs and curriculums to start the church. It is easy to think that great marketing tricks will somehow build up the church. But the reality is that no matter how good the packaging might be, it really comes down to the time and investment made into relationships. Its about crating a family of passionate lovers of God and each other not only in words, but in deeds. It’s about being a family, living together as one, one family in Christ.

When the church gathers it should look/function more like Thanksgiving dinner with the Walton’s or the Huxtable’s, than a stockholders meeting at IBM or Apple.

There is the famous saying in business, “It’s not personal, it’s business” but you see church is personal, it’s all about getting personal. Therefore you cannot use a business model to start, build or run a church, church planters, pastors take note “It’s not business, it’s personal

The church is to be build on love and relationships, to function as and look like a family, a family deeply in love with each other, with God our Father and Jesus our Lord and savior.