I am wondering how many people out there are like me and struggle with church?
Yea I said that and no I didn’t say I’m struggling with God because that is no where close to the truth.
In the last few weeks God has spoken to me a very familiar scripture in John 21:15-17 He asked Peter if He loved Him? Not once, not twice but three times?
I don’t know about you but the first time I would have been all full of myself and replied “Oh yea I love You” but by the third time He asked me I would be extremely uncomfortable.
I can’t imagine being asked that three times and by the Lord no less. He already knew the answer but HE was making a point that I believe is very appropiate to us today.
So, I will ask you what He is asking me? Do you love Him?
Being the deep thinker I am I have been pondering this and I find it amazing that after all this time I haven’t heard what Jesus was really trying to say to me. It really isn’t a hard conclusion to draw.
Do we love Him?
Jesus didn’t ask him do you love my sheep, do you feel called to ministry, do you feel qualified or even motivated. He just simply ask him “do you love Me?”
So often we look to thrilling aspects of ministry and we forget the one thing that is the absolute greatest thing we could ever do. Love Jesus.
I know what you’re thinking… You say “I love Jesus” and I would say to you, really? Really and truly can you say that, would you say that to Him? Honestly I don’t think I can. Just keeping it real. If I loved Him wouldn’t others around me want to know what it is that is so different about me?
Examining your life would the proof be in the pudding so to speak?
It’s remarkable and really saddening how we tie what we “do” for God as proof of our “love” for God. Yet in the simplest things we fall miserably short of the mark.
I am preaching to choir so don’t think I’m picking on you exclusively. I don’t have any answer at this point. I find it maddening that as believers we have very little effect or affect on the world around us.
That’s not the case everywhere. I know there are some who are living out their faith and are maddeningly in love with Jesus. The sad thing is we tend to shy away from them and label them fanatics. Would to God I wore that label. Sadly enough I don’t and that is what is bothering me most.
If I loved Jesus as I say I do then I would be as Peter or John or Paul and lives would be changing.
I think that if we truly loved Jesus as we say we do, then all the war on the culture would be almost non existent. Simply because if the true light shines in darkness, darkness must flee. I think we hide it under a bushel far to often. Only letting it shine where we think it’s apropiate to do so.
Again, I’m preaching to the choir.
Case in point:
My husband and I are currently without a church home. We were going to a church that was over an hour away and it was nearly impossible to get involved the way we wanted to. So, we made the decision after much prayer to find a church closer to home where we could really connect.
Yesterday was our first attempt at visiting.
It was disappointing to say the least. Not only were the “saints” unfriendly, there was no prayer ever spoken. Oh the worship team was phenomenal (I would buy a CD if they had one) but they went straight from there to 20 minutes of announcements then finally he opened his computer (yep I said computer) to preach.
Some of you would say that’s no big deal really and I am being judgmental, maybe so.
Are we so consumed with our perfect worship, our perfect preaching, or awesome ministries to many genres within the church that there is no room to greet a stranger in our midst?
Am I the only one that finds this troubling? Troubling that we have turned so in house we can’t accept those out of the house?
Let me ask you a question? How can I really love my neighbor as myself if don’t even attempt to speak to them?
Are we so consumed inwardly we can’t extend the right hand of Christian fellowship to strangers in our midst?
We have church so finely tuned and everything so perfectly choreographed that we have forgotten the true meaning of the word. I just wonder if Jesus even comes to most churches anymore. He certainly wasn’t needed where I attended yesterday.
He wasn’t mentioned by name in worship or prayer. This is baffling to me because it is supposed to be His house and yet He’s never brought up.
I was really trying to pray through this entire experience and really examine my heart to see if it was me. Maybe I somehow missed Jesus in church that day. I don’t know I just think when His presence fills the room everyone knows He’s there.
When is the last time Jesus’ presence came and filled the room?
Oh we shouted and danced and hooped and hollered at Him, but we never really worshipped Him as He is. We were pumped about what He does. We never said I love You , I thank You! I need You because of who You are not what You do.
I don’t want to be misunderstood here as being needy because we aren’t but Jack nor I would be comfortable inviting a hurting or broken person there because honestly I don’t think they would have been accepted or loved. The bruised, the blind or the broken wouldn’t have fit there.
Maybe I’m being fanatical but isn’t church supposed to be about Him? Shouldn’t we at least give Him the courtesy of an invitation?
This is my point when Jesus spoke to Peter and asked him if He loved Him, He then went on to give him instructions on how to carry that out.
If you have read your bible you know that Peter went on to turn the known world upside down. So radical was the change that Peter and John and many others spread the good news of Christ throughout the entire world.
Yet, we “bible thumping, pew jumpers” won’t even extend the same to a stranger who came to us to be fed. This blows my mind. I wasn’t raised this way and it’s foreign to me.
How can I cry over starving children in third world countries and not even care that my neighbor is going to hell? I could have been they didn’t know.
So it bears repeating “Do I love Jesus or not?”
If I really love Him don’t you think the world around me would be different? It was for Peter, it was for John and Paul and so many others.
Are you comfortable with how your living out church? Are you satisfied knowing you are making a difference in the world around you? If you really are “Praise God” I am humbled by your genuine love of God.
If you are like me and are tired of church that doesn’t function correctly. I challenge you to join me in falling in love with Jesus all over again. Not in love with church or anything else “ministry” wise. I mean a radical falling in love with Jesus because in doing so you will love others and you will change the culture around you guaranteed.
You may suffer for it, but who isn’t willing to go to the end of the earth for those they love? Why not fall in love with Jesus and see what awesome things come of it.
He said to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him. In doing so you will change not only those around you but yourself as well.
As always I’m hid with Christ!