What Has Church Become?

November 28, 2014

1 Corinthians 14:26
What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.

What Has Church Become?

Does our church, our gathering together in the name of Christ still resemble this exhortation in 1 Corinthians 14 or has it gotten swallowed up in the organization, the structure, the program and the one man headliner. Is it about a functioning body where different members are able to contribute as they are led of the Spirit or have we become dumbed down to depend only on the leadership to carry out the act of worship and give the Word. In many churches our services have been reduced to a series of rote mechanical functions that we have memorized and go through. That isn’t the church that Paul speaks about here. We have become accustomed to playing church rather than being the church. Our religion has separated us into clergy and laity. One performs and the other is the audience that listens. We wouldn’t know what to do if the Holy Spirit actually showed up in our service because He would throw the agenda on our bulletins all off and mess everything up. We would lose our order and our control and our smooth running programs. We have been so raised up in this organized church mentality it is really hard for some of us to conceive of something so different where we actually individually and corporately begin to operate in the gifting the Holy Spirit has for each member. Besides that it would most likely get out of our time limitations and constraints. Then we couldn’t beat crowds to the restaurant after the church and we might miss the football game.
Church has really ceased to be all about Him. It has become all about us. After all, we are doing God a favor just to show up on Sunday mornings, right? God forbid if someone or something should offend us. We’ll just take our attendance elsewhere where we are more appreciated and they sing our flavor of songs. What has the church become?
The truth is when we turn everything over to the Holy Spirit it can get out of our comfort zone. It can get messy and it certainly may not fit into our agenda. or box It doesn’t mean there isn’t leadership and there isn’t an order, but it is subject to the Holy Spirit and not to man. Let me tell you, when we allow and invite the Holy Spirit to show up we go home with more than just a self-righteous attitude. His presence touches our lives and changes us in ways that only He can. He doesn’t use just one man or a worship team to do it, He moves through His body and upon His body as His will dictates, when we allow His will to be done. Paul says here we have these different functions through the various members for the strengthening of the church. Something tells me that church might have looked a lot different back then than it does today. Today, our churches are built around our charismatic leaders, not our charismatic bodies. Isn’t it time we quit playing church and start being the church where each one of us functions in the calling and gifting upon our lives? It doesn’t have to be limited to the Sunday service. Your ministry and calling should spill out into your everyday life. You are not only for the edification of the church, but to edify, encourage and build up all who are in your presence. If we are in Christ and He is in us then we must become the daily expression of who He is and we need a place of worship where that is actually what we do, WORSHIP Him who is worthy until we enter into His presence and He is the headship and the direction of our service. I can tell you it won’t be the same thing every week. It will always be fresh and new. You will know that you have been with Him, not just heard about Him.
What has church become? How do we bring it back to what it should be? It is time we became activated and no longer stagnant, because the church that we have known isn’t what is lighting a fire in the midst of our unbelieving nation. They need to hear and see the reality of God’s presence just as we do, not just the rhetoric about who He was. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He hasn’t changed, we have. Church, wake up to who you are and come alive in your spirits so that you can be the expression of Christ in the midst of His body and in the earth today.

Blessings,
#kent

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Boys to Men

October 25, 2013

Ephesians 4: 14-16
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Boys to Men

As I was meditating this morning an old John Wayne movie came into my thoughts called “The Cowboys”. Many of you may still remember it. It was about a rancher who had to drive his cattle to market, but he couldn’t get any men to help him so he had to take a group of boys to drive his cattle. Along the drive they are confronted with cattle rustlers who capture them. John Wayne never allows fear or intimidation to be seen on him. He stands up to these rustlers and demonstrates before these boys what a man of courage and integrity is all about. In the process the leader of the rustlers kills him and they go on to take the cattle. The only other adult is the old cook. After John Wayne’s death, these boys rise to the occasion and they no longer see themselves as boys, but as men. They plan their strategy and take the cattle back from the rustlers, defeating them in the process and killing their leader. They then take the cattle on to market and complete their mission.
What I felt the Lord was showing me through this is that we have a man who has walked before us and shown us the true nature and character of God. He has never shown fear or been intimidated by His enemies, but demonstrated before us the greatest degree of courage and self-sacrifice as He gave His life for us. We are like those boys, who have never seen ourselves really as men, but God is placing us in circumstances that we must gird up our loins as men and walk the walk of the Savior. There comes a time we put aside our childish ways and we come into manhood and I speak this figuratively for women as well as men. The Holy Spirit is there to give the wisdom and guidance to grow up into Him which is the head, even Christ. As we come into maturity, we put aside our petty bickering and differences and we function as one man, one team filled with the Holy Spirit, with power and authority. I believe that in this time the Lord is telling us to grow up and go from boys to men. We know the way; Jesus walked it before us, now it is time that we walk His walk, not going where we choose, but where He leads us. Many of us may be weak or of no special ability or strength, but God has chosen the foolish to confound the wise and the weak to prevail over the strong. It is not because of who we are that we are anything, but it is because of who He is in us that we are everything and capable of anything. It is time we take our eyes off of our immaturity and childishness. It is time we place our eyes upon Him that we have been called to be conformed too and begin to walk in His image and likeness. Faith sees what is not evident and without faith it is impossible to please Him. It is that faith of who He is in us that is taking us from boys to men.

Blessings,
kent

Ephesians 5:25-33
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31″For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Bone of His Bone and Flesh of His Flesh

The law of first mention in the Word is that wherever we see something first mentioned in the Word it establishes a precedent, truth and principle that guides us in the interpretation of where it used in other places. Genesis 2:23-25 is where this precept and principle is first used and it establishes a precedent for the mystery and the principle that Paul speaks of here in Ephesians. It says, “The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.” 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
If you can receive it, think of Adam before the fall as being like Christ in the earth. Everything is perfect. There is no sin, decay, pestilence or strife. It is a utopia. The only thing Adam is lacking is companionship. He is alone in that he is existing in a level by himself. Above him, he has the fellowship with God and below him he has the companionship and provision of God’s creation, but there is no one to meet him where he’s at.
I believe when God created Adam that he was created in the image of God and he was complete in one person in the male and female sense. Both genders were already complete in him. But God in His wisdom and divine purpose saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone, so He put Adam in a deep sleep, from his side He took a rib and formed a woman. He separated out a gender that was a part of Adam and made it separate from him. When Adam awoke and came to know this woman, what he spoke, is what Christ has spoken of His bride, the church, when she was taken out of His side. Remember when Jesus hung upon the cross and after He slept in death, the soldier pierced his side and out that wound flowed blood and water. These are the elements of birth and life. The woman, the bride was now taken out of Him, washed in His blood and baptized into the death of the flesh that she might become alive in the spirit. Jesus, the Christ, could now say of her, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.” Christ might now say of His church, you are flesh of my flesh and spirit of My Spirit. The profound mystery is that we are only complete as we are in Christ and He is complete within us. We are two parts come together to make the whole man Christ. Christ the head and Christ the body must become fully one. His Word must wash us by renewing our minds and hearts in the mind and will of Christ. Our full consummation with Him will be seen as we are presented ‘without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless.’ When Christ left the Father it was to take unto Himself a bride. When He comes again she will be ready and prepared for Him. The Holy Spirit has been grooming us for Him and like Esther when she went into the king, we will be so radiant in beauty that none other can compare. The reason Esther was so pleasing to the king is because she took the effort to find out from the eunuch what was pleasing to him. We must find out from the Holy Spirit what is pleasing to Christ and be conformed to it. Then we will be ready as His presence and appearance comes forth. We will be flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone in consummate fullness.
The Father wants us to see and know who we are in Him. It took time and process for Esther to see herself as the queen of the great kingdom of Babylon. She had to change her thinking from who she had been to who she had become. We must also change out thinking, being transformed in the renewing of our minds to who we now are in Christ. We are one flesh and one spirit in Him. He is the last Adam, without sin or fault and He is conforming us into His own image and likeness. “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” We must be in a place of full respect and commitment unto our Husband, who is our head in all things. We can’t be the rebellious, self-willed and self-serving wife that lives only for her wants and desires. Our purpose is for Him, to complete Him by allowing Him to have expression through us. Through us, the woman, He procreates Himself in the earth.

Blessings,
kent

Body Ministry

May 15, 2013

Romans 12:4-5
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Body Ministry

The Word gives us the illustration that our marriages are like Christ and the bride. We who are many are made one in Christ Jesus and we who are many members, having many and different functions in the body are to all function as one in Him. One of the mistakes we make in marriage and in the body of Christ is that we often want to try to fit others in our box. We tend to think, others should think as we think, have the same doctrinal views that we have and fit our idea of what a Christian should look like. We do that in our marriages and that’s why a lot of our marriages have severe problems or don’t work. Instead of loving and accepting the other person for being the unique expression that they are, we want to clone them into us. We forget that one of the things that probably first attracted us to them may be those very things we have been trying to change in them. They can no more be you than you are them. What we miss in marriage and in body ministry and functionality is that we were created to be different. Love is the key ingredient in us that helps us to defer and give place to another. If God’s love isn’t present, then it becomes all about us and our world. It is kind of like how scientist use to think the sun revolved around the earth, rather than the earth around the sun. It has to do with our perspective and understanding. In a good marriage there are two individuals that have learned that they belong to one another and their function is to complete the other, not to try to change the function or individuality of their spouse. In the compliment of the two lives, you see one complete life.
There is a key here in these two verses that we really need to get a hold of, “each member belongs to all of the others.” You see, our particular gifting and abilities are not about us, they are for the benefit and the building up of the rest of the body. If I wrote what I do and then just kept it to myself, I would be denying the rest of the body of what Christ has put in me. He has put something just as important in you, but if you fail to recognize that it doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to the body, then the body is deprived and robbed of that expression of Christ that only you can bring. We are all just parts of the bigger picture, but the picture can’t be complete unless you are in it, doing and being what you were created to be and do. I need you. You need me. Our completion comes from Christ functioning through all us, not just any one of us. This is one of the reasons I believe God is moving away from one man ministries. The expression of the body is being denied, but don’t think that your expression can only happen in church. That may be the last place it happens. Does that make you any less significant or important? No.
We often have the perception that our identity is related to a title, ordination, or an acknowledged position. We need to know that Christ has already acknowledged our position and it is in Him. He is our ordination and He has given us the title of sons and children of God, which is our identity. You are in Christ regardless of the title of man. Titles are simply houses our identity sometimes lives in, but regardless of title, it doesn’t change who we are or what we do. Some of the most significant members are those that are least seen. Our significance and worth has nothing to do with how men perceive us, it is all about how Father sees us and are we being true to what He has created to be in our expression of Him.
Just remember, in marriage or in the body of Christ, it is not important that others are like you or that they believe just like you, or do things your way. It is not about you. It is about Jesus and our individual faithful expression of Him. When we get a revelation that we are not our own and the Son doesn’t revolve around us, but we were created, formed and called into Christ to belong to the body, then we can be effective for the body. We are here to give what Christ has put in us to give and not get offended when others don’t always seem to appreciate that. Our value comes from Christ, not the kudos and acknowledgement of others. There are parts on your body that get little to no praise or recognition, but you would sure notice if they quit existing or functioning.
It is the love of Christ and the oil of the Spirit that lubricates and unites us to function in the unity of the body of Christ, If we are missing those ingredients, well then we begin to wear on each other. Let us remember, we are not our own, we belong to each other, so let us be there for each other in whatever need we can meet.

Blessings,
kent

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