church life Tag

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

breaking-bread-together

How do I fix my eyes on Jesus, how do I behold His glory, gaze at Jesus? The bible,  community of Jesus, i.e. church, where we can make much to do about Jesus, talk about Jesus, the gospel, celebrate with one another who Jesus is and what He has done. Sing to Him and about Him to one another. This gathering, what we call the church should be where I can go and get all that, it is to be a profound boost to the soul, our spirit for the rest of the week.

I Love to set around with good brothers in Christ, have good food, good drink and just talk about Jesus, How God is moving in this, works in that. Dig into the word, and dig deep into the gospel.  That helps me fix my eyes on Jesus, keeps me on mission.

I want to be around people who talk about Jesus, I want to read about Jesus, think about Jesus, talk about Jesus, listen to things that point me to Jesus. I do Not want my conversation at a gathering of the body to be focused on worldly things, the cares of this world. Jesus said Don’t be like the gentiles in Mt. 6:31-32, don’t be concerned with the things they are.

That why when I gather with the body I do not want to talk about politics, work, money, material things. I want to talk about Jesus, the gospel, God, living for Jesus. I want to discuss Jesus, the gospel, Not how to make more money, or be the target for someone’s networking to make sales. I gather with the body to be in the presence of Jesus, and glorify Him, not ignore Him.

When I was at Calvary Chapel, what seems a lifetime ago, there was a group of us that went out for dinner after the Sunday and Thursday night services , with bibles in hand we had dinner while digging into the word, discussing the study we just heard. We would get into the nuts and bolts of life with Jesus. We where there sometimes tell one or two o’clock in the morning. Loved it, that’s where real fellowship in Jesus happens. That’s what a gathering should look like.

For me a gathering of the church must be like this, a place I can go and have fellowship with Jesus in the company of others doing the same thing. Jesus said “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) if that is true, the reason we gather, then how can not every conversation be about Him?

Somebody point me to a gathering of believes that are madly in love with Jesus, are following Him, where all they do when they gather is talk about Jesus, the gospel, and I’m in.

I’m Tired of Church in America Part 2

I’m Tired of Church in America

11-17-09 Last week there was quite a buzz around the internet social networks about a statement made by a well known pastor at a church leadership conference. He stated that they should focus on building a online church community rather than a brick and mortar church.

He stated that it is not necessary for people to attend a church, that being part of a “online church” is all that one needs as a Christian. That being part of a body as to in person, gather to gather face to face is not needed. That pastors should be moving from a live congregation to a virtual online congregation, church only. That’s the way to to church now, virtual community via the web, twitter is the way to do church fellowship.

I can not express how much that saddened me, to hear that the leadership, movers and shakers of the church world (the under 35 crowed) adapting that mindset. Seeking to do away with real church, biblical church. The gathering of the body is the heart of church, it’s very essence. Gathering together for fellowship, for each to exercise their Spiritual gifts for the good of the body is why we meet, to build up one another, encourages each other, brake bread, share a meal, lay hands on each other and pray, lest see them do that online, in less than 140 characters.

So for him church is only a 30 min feel good sermon that you pay 10% of your income to listen to on line. This just does not set right with me. I’m a community person, fellowship is a necessity, so I guess people like me, people who believe the scriptures will just have to go elsewhere than “virtual church” in the near future for that.  

waited on The question was posed by a fellow Twitterer, “Why do we make church about us”, there are many factors, reason why that is. The one that I believe is the gasoline on the fire for this attitude among attendees is this, the leadership, the pastor

To many pastors today focus on man, making church about the individuals wants and expectation, but not in a good way, it’s about making them happy and comfortable in the flesh. They use surveys and marketing firms to tell them how to make church into what the people what it to be about, centered on them. Even thou Christianity is about dying to self, and living for Christ and others. About dethrowning ours selves and becoming servants at the feet of the only true King, Christ Jesus.

To many churches today make church all about the right music, i.e. entertaining the the attendees, not real God centered worship, and pleasing Him. Rather than focus on moving hearts to fear God (Rev 14:7) and worship God with passionate love. They focus more on making the people tap their feet to rock star performances by hip bands, as if the people are at a U2 concerts and not at the feet of a holy God to worship in spirit.

It’s about how long the services is, after all God does not want to inconvenience you and take up too much of your time, because you have better places to be, right? How great the sound and lighting systems is as to pleasing them, after all that why the body gathers, right? It all about the attendees, right? Make sure you served the right coffee and donuts, that’s Communion, right? That you are comfortable and happy, after all that is what God is most concerned about for you, right? But what about what please God?

Yes church is about us, me in many ways, good ways, but only second to God. Like me worshiping and serving God. Me serving others, me praying for others, me encouraging others, me bearing the burdens of others. There is an element of me to church. Yes worship is to be to my liking, as long as my liking is the desire that God was worship and pleased, that I was able to cry out and sing praises to God, to Fall on my face before God. That the Holy Spirit showed up and moved with power among us. Not was I entertained, was I comfortable. Me doing the one another’s to others. Those are some good me’s.

But when you run church like a resort, a county club, or a grand hotel. That church is all about me and everyone is their to please “me”, entertain “me”, meet “my” every whim and want, I am the “King of the World” when there, it is all about “me”, every thing about that resort is to please “me”. the people can’t help but to believe that it is all about them, because it is.

Just something to think about.

feast Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”

John 4:34

Most Christians today believe church is a passive activity today, believe getting feed is a passive act on their part, that getting feed at church requires action only on the part of others, others doing for them, like the pastor.

There is some truth to that in that the pastor is to be teaching the word of God, and not just about the word of God, not just feel good stories, but teaching the meat of the word as the apostle Paul calls it. But there is much more I think to getting fed than just good teaching alone, much more than just setting and listening.  At least it seams that way according to Jesus, because He adds another dimension to it, Doing.

To Him getting fed was an active thing on the part of the receiver. According to Jesus He got fed by doing the will of God and accomplish God’s work.

So the next time you hear someone say they are “not getting fed”. You should ask them, are you exercising your spiritual gifts for the good of the body? Who are you serving with God? What risks are you taking for God? What adventure of compassion did just returned from with the smell of God on my clothes? Are you seek and doing God’s will? And the next time we feel like we are not getting fed at church, we should ask ourselves the very same questions.

If we ask these questions maybe we will discover why we are not getting fed. Because there is no food in our lives, that food being Us doing the will of God for us to feast on. That is easy to fix, just take the list of one-another’s, talk about a feast to be had at church (there are 53 of them), they are the will of God for us to do, doing them  is helping to accomplish God’s work in His people. And that would also be loving one another, also the will of God for us, and the mark of being one of His disciples. That is a good place to start, a good beginning.

If we do that, I wonder if we could ever truly say we are not getting fed at church.

Jump-for-Joy 2 The word in the English bible Praise, actually in the Hebrew and Greek text it is not as Americans define, envision it. In the original languages of the bible, there are 52 Hebrew words in the Hebrew text (OT) and 29 Greek words in the Greek text (NT) of which the majority are translated as simply Praise. In church today it has come to mean something much less that what the bible says it is.

Here are some of the key Hebrew words used in the scriptures and their meaning:

Havah worship, kneel
Samah rejoice, be glad
Yadah to worship with extended hands – to though out the hands
Hallal to be loud, to boast, to be clamorously foolish
Barak to kneel
Shabach to shout in a loud tone
Karar to dance
Pazaz to leap
Patzah to bust forth with
Rana shouts of joy
Gil shout, to circle in joy
Rinnah shout in triumph
Tzavah to cry out

Some of the Greek words and their meanings:

Allomai to leap
Gonupeteo kneel down
Kampto to bend knee
Proskuneo to fall down and worship
Skirtao to leap with joy

That’s just a 18 of the 81 Hebrew and Greek words in the scriptures you read simply translated “Praise”, the key and most used ones. So when was the last time your church gathering worship service was the people doing any of these things listed above. How about you when was the last time you where loud and clamorously foolish (I love that one), extended your hands with a shout in a loud voice, danced or leaped with joy, or fell on you face before God. Most important to note is Not one of the 81 words is defined as sitting, being quite, or being somber, not one of the 81 words. They are all physical actions with loud voices.

This is how God defied to Praise Him, the words He used when instructing Israel in worship and praise, they are word that described how God’s people praised Him, what they did to praise Him. The words Paul used to teach the gentile believers in how to praise God, it gives us a glimpse at what the first century church worship services looked like.

I say let’s go back to the days of old when the people of God, worshiped and praised Him like this. I would love to see this as the normal worship service, real worship and praise going on, not this sit in your seats and set back and enjoy the show on stage, but instead a bunch of people being  loud and clamorously foolish.

days of the week shirtsTo me Sunday is not above any other day, how can that be you might say, what about church and it being the Lords Day, this is how Paul explains it;

One indeed esteems a day above another day; and another esteems every day alike. Let each one be fully assured in his own mind. Rom 15:4

 

This is how it brakes down for me.

  1. For one I hear great bible teaching everyday of the week, because I download podcast of my favorite pastors from all over the world to listen to at the gym, so I get feed by good teaching everyday not just on Sunday. I do not limit it to a Sunday event.
  2. I study the word of God daily, intently and have great in depth discussions with others on what I have studied. So I do not depend on someone else to study the word and give me the cliff notes of it.
  3. I worship the Lord daily, with passionate worship, at home every day and I also go to IHOP (International House of Prayer) a 24/7 place of worship filled with passionate worshipers of God, and enter into not only passionate worship myself, but do so with like minded followers of Christ in the presents of God daily. I can worship God as long as my heart desires, an hour, two, even eight hours if I want (and sometimes do), and anyway my heart desires to, dancing, shouting, kneeling, laying prostate, raising my arms, clap my hands, leap with joy, sing my own songs from my heart, how ever I want.
  4. I pray through out the day, daily, as well as at IHOP where I also engage in passionate prayer in the Spirit both alone and corporately. Enter into prayer for the nations, churches, lost, others, every need under the sun with others for as long as my spirit wants to pray, an hour, two, even eight. And I can do it daily 24/7.
  5. I gather with true followers of Christ daily, people who are living passionately for God, living on His mission, in the battle, living the Kingdom life and busy proclaiming it to others, followers who are on the front line of the battle. People who passionately love and worship God with great passion. I engage in true fellowship with others over a meal, cup of coffee, where ever daily with other believers.

To me church, Christianity, the worship of God, bible study and fellowship with the body of Christ is not a one day a week thing. It’s to be a way of life, the way followers of Christ are to live daily.

So that is why Sunday does not standout, offers nothing I do not do already have access to, already doing daily. In fact most Sunday services are detrimental to my worshiping of God, block my fellowship with God and the body, but that is another whole blog.