As we kick off 2016, I am reposting my top 5 blogs from last year this week. It was an intense year with a lot of lessons that I am so grateful that God walked me through! Enjoy your first week of a new year. Seek Jesus, set some goals, and decide to finish strong. I believe in you!
Loving the Church
There’s a blog going around that makes my heart break. You might have even read it…it’s yet another writing by a so-called Christian ripping apart the Church and how misguided apparently every pastor on the planet actually is. And I don’t understand it at all….even if it’s true.
You see, if I were Satan, I would get some young, punk blogger to write an article just like that and then I would get embittered or confused Christians to share it all over social media. That would be a sure-fire way to destroy the Bride of Christ one broken soul at a time. Good call, Satan. Good call.
On the other hand, if I were Jesus, I would have some young, punk blogger write her stories of her deep love for the Church. I would have her tell the tales of ministry in the Pacific Northwest…the least churched region of America. Maybe if she writes, someone who needs a Savior will fall in love with an imperfect church in Vancouver, Washington and come to see about her Christ. Maybe. Just maybe.
So, I’m fighting with everything I’ve got to speak well of His Church. ‘Cause I LOVE His church. I love His church, all it’s faults, and the journey His Church is taking to find Him, exalt Him, and honor Him. You may disagree with the means, but I haven’t met a pastor who wanted anything but the life-changing power of Jesus. And I deeply honor each one for that very reason. They get up every morning and keep loving people and trying new things to reach people. Bravo, pastor, bravo! Keep up the fight!
We’ve had our fair share of critics ripping apart our church over the years as well. And one thing has been constantly true: while the critics are complaining, we are neck deep in the Holy Spirit’s beautiful work. The dichotomy is heartbreaking at times. While one group is seeking the face of Jesus, the other is seeking the “problems with the church.”
Let me be clear: You will always find what you seek.
If you want to find Jesus in the halls of our church, you will no doubt find His powerful presence in the midst of the efforts of a multitude of volunteers, prayer warriors, and passionate people. If you want to find problems, you probably won’t even make it through the front door without a list a mile long. It’s your choice, but it’s also your price to pay for that choice.
We spend our days walking with people through profound testimonies of salvations, healings from long awaited prayers, homeless families getting jobs and housing, the Holy Spirit changing a spouse’s heart against an affair, pregnancies that were said would never happen, and on and on and on. His POWER is ALIVE AND WELL! And then on the same note we weep daily over lives in our church that need an intersection of Jesus. Lives broken by addictions, molestations, divorces, abandonment, and pain. We carry a weight that walks the hallways of our buildings every Sunday that most will never see. We weep daily.
Ironically those moments are all too often followed with negativity from others over the music choices, the décor, our cheap seats, how we do the offering, some offense over an obscure sentence one of our “renegade” preachers accidentally said… We get accusations about how we don’t love Jesus and how we should love Jesus differently. We get told how ridiculous our website is. And how everything would be better if we fixed our parking lots….Nothing we do is good enough, right enough, or godly enough….
And what do I wish I could tell the critics?
It’s hard to hear the Holy Spirit over your voice.
HE IS SPEAKING.
He is calling His children home.
His love for His Bride is deep and wide.
He is here to change a NATION….OUR NATION.
Do you hear Him?
Get on your knees and declare Him Lord. He is Holy. Righteous…so, so holy…
No more division, no more dissention. No more blogs about how terrible pastors are and how broken His Church is. No more. Correct or incorrect, the repercussions are devastating to the very thing that Jesus loves most.
You are frustrated at Church, because YOU are frustrated with your own lack of Jesus in your heart. But this Sunday, do me a favor at whatever church your feet may fall into…
Seek Him with a precious abandon.
Your frustration at the shortcomings of the pastor standing in front of you who was called by Godwill melt in the face of Jesus. You will find that you won’t worry about the music, the lighting, the dirty nursery toys. You will find that you have no choice but to hush in His holy presence. You will also find that when you are standing face to face with the God of the universe, you won’t have the guts to speak against His bride. You will find humility and honor in that moment.
You will just find His face. If you really want to see the Church awaken…just find His face.