Spur Others On

God has given me & other Christ-followers a responsibility to each other. As part of His body we’re responsible to spur each other into good works.

This means I must be open to accept challenges to mature from my fellow Christ Followers. It also means that I mustn’t be so caught up in myself that I don’t make time to think of ways motivating others to acts of love and other good deeds.

I don’t get into relationship with God by good works but I am in relationship with Him also FOR good works

Church Clothes

church clothes

Human standards and practices are often what get in the way from getting to God. As Christ followers we’ve been guilty of misrepresenting God.

Often, it is not that God people aren’t interested in God; it is that He is misrepresented. Take Jonah’s story for example, he was sent to a particular city, a particular people by God, because He had a heart for them.

Others

Jonah decided to make his own call against that. He became the judge of who deserved God’s message and grace. There are times I’ve acted same. For that, God forgive me.

When God challenges us to reach someone or some people and I do the opposite I have declared they don’t deserve God’s grace. We, as the Church, must guard from this.

Lecare’s mix tape, Church Clothes, touched on this. He was addressing the experience of some people when it came to how they were unaccepted because of how they looked.

He challenged how we, as Christ followers, can create molds, which hinder others from a relationship with God. On the mixtape’s title track, he closes with:

If God’s goin’ to take me as I am I guess I already got on my Church clothes [Click to Tweet]

On point. If there’s a message that should resound strongly is God’s acceptance of people with the ‘clothes’ they have on.

Clothes can be baggage people carry, the way they perceive themselves or are perceived by others.

Real forgiveness and grace, the God kind, starts with complete acceptance of people [Click to Tweet]

I’m thinking through how I’ve created prerequisites for people to know God. False hoops to jump through. They don’t please God and get in the way of people knowing Him and the freedom and life He gives.

Me

While keeping in mind not to create conditions for others I also have to be careful not to create similar hoops for myself. Sometimes I forget that God loves me as I am. I forget that the same way He doesn’t want me to create conditions for others getting to Him, I shouldn’t do the same for myself.

Sometimes I forget that God already loves and accepts me as I am that I try to win His approval, something I already have. Sounds lame, but I sometimes suffer from ‘spiritual stupidity’.

I forget that I’m already wearing my Church clothes. That God accepts me as I am. I forget that God sends me as I am. I forget:

God accepting me as I am is that starting place to becoming who He wants me to be [Click to Tweet]

There are times I forget that God accepts me as I am to make me who He wants me to be and not the other way round. The Jonah I Am needs to remember:

If God’s goin’ to take me as I am I guess I already got on my Church clothes.

The Church: Loving Her While Hating Her Practices

The Church is not the massive building with a steeple. Neither are the fancy theatre seats, lights, smoke and screens on the wall some think it is.

Ingrid, some friends and I recently had a long talk about what the Church is and her practices. We talked for hours but there was still a lot unsaid when we stopped.

The consensus, we were not happy with some of the things the Church at large did. One of the things that was easy for us to agree on at the onset of our discussion was that we loved the Church but hated some of the practices people did in the Church.

None of us could stomach instances where non-biblical practices were taken to be what every expression of the Church must be doing. Looking into the Bible, we cannot find some practices, such as the order of how a ‘worship service’ is done now.

church

that i’d see Your Church as you do and love her the same. amen.

.

Frank Viola and George Barna did a great work researching the source of some Church’s practices in their book, Pagan Christianity. I agree with them in some instances on what the Church needs to be weary of.

At some point after that I did become critical, perhaps too critical of the practices of some local Churches I visited.

I love the Church. My wrestle is when she is made to be what she is not nor should be… That irks me.

The challenge with what I see the Church as in some contexts is that it could be reason enough to distance oneself from her. It is like the trend of young people wanting to shed the label ‘Christian’, because of the connotations it carries in the present culture, for the ‘Christ follower’.

We concluded we could stay away from the Church, as we know it or we could simply model what we see the Bible teach us it should be.

I resigned to not care about practices if they are not in violation of what Scripture teaches the Church should be.

I have preferences as far as practices are concerned. However, I need to be careful that my preferences don’t violate what God wants me to be as part of the Church and what to do in the Church because that is how He touches the world; through me.

There is still the question I’m trying to shake off from the book Pagan Christianity, so what if present day liturgy has its roots in pagan worship? If it is sincerely directed at God, is God not pleased with the worship?

How much do the methods or local expressions of the Church matter? Of course, they cannot, must not contradict everything that is Godly…

The Church is God’s idea not man’s. Some practices are man’s and not God’s.

The wrestle is separating the two. It is staying true to what God wants foremost and not my preferences. I am Jonah.

[image by Balaji.B | cc]