WHAT IS CHURCH?

22 04 2015

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The story is told of a man who was stranded on a deserted island. Like Robinson Crusoe before him, he began to use his knowledge and ingenuity to harness the surrounding resources to not only survive, but to also carve out a rather nice life for himself. Eventually, he decided that he needed a place to worship so he built himself a humble little chapel so that he could regularly come and meet with God.

After months passed, the man built himself a second church. When the time came that he was eventually rescued, the question came up of why he had built two churches. His answer was simple. He pointed to the one and said, “That’s where I go to church now.” And to the one that stood right next to it, he quipped, “That’s where I used to go to church until I found out that it had problems!”

What a creative way to identify a troubling truth that I believe holds back the positive testimony of today’s church of Jesus. The Lord’s Body should be a force of love, grace and mercy to be reckoned with but more often than not it becomes nothing more than a glorified social club where the proud politics of people still rule the day.

The last I checked in Scripture, there was nothing in it about us finding the perfect church that would be completely trouble proof. God’s Word does tell us that Jesus is willing and able to work in us so that we may become His perfected church!

Submitting regularly to the Lord as a corporate unit – we should always be in the process of making progress in displaying the fruit of Christ shining through us – but this much I know is sure, there is no such place as a perfect church this side of heaven.
No perfect people allowed! I hear so often, “I stopped going to church because of all of the hypocrites!” To that I reply, “Come back and jump in once again! I can guarantee that you will feel right at home!” We humans are all guilty of being disingenuous at one time or another. We may mean well in desiring to keep our promises and refrain from gossiping and staying true and faithful to one another, but in the natural we all fall short. This is why we all need a place of forgiveness in the first place.

We need a Savior who will do for us and in us what we are not able to do for ourselves or accomplish by ourselves. Jesus will take us as we are and recreate in us the kind of person that we all need to be. Eventually, if we stop fighting with one another and start battling for one another, the outside world would know that we are Jesus followers by our love! But you and I must be committed to hanging around long enough to make that miracle happen.

God never meant for his church to be a marketplace, a social club or an entertainment hall. You don’t go to church with an event mentality thinking that you are only there to see a good show; or worse yet, to just put on an act for the others in attendance. We should all attend with a willing spirit so that God can write in us an amazing and wonderful story! You show up weekly so that you can be energized by the Lord and are an encouragement in the lives of those beloved Brothers and special Sisters that you see all around you.

Never forget that we are all a work in progress. Every church, no matter how long the building has been in existence, should bear a sign out front that reads, “Under Construction.” The church is not a place as much as it is a people! The church is actually a living organism created to operate as a family and not like a business.

In a family, if we want to be successful, we are forced to come together and work with each other’s positive and negative traits because we love one another. We are not supposed to abandon the family at the first sign of conflict. Hey, any time you get more than one person in the room, you are eventually going to have some conflict. But the good news is that if we allow the Lord to do so, God can use the friction and heat between us to actually sharpen one another and in the long run bring us closer together and show the world around us what Heaven’s handiwork really looks like.

I share all of this to encourage you to jump in with both feet at the church you presently attend. Church is not a place you go to be a spectator but expect to be a practicing participant. We are all gathered together not for ourselves but for God. The music that we sing should be offered as a gift of praise and worship to our God. The teaching that we receive is to prepare us to better love and serve our God. The community that we build is so that we can be Jesus in skin, active and growing followers of God. The church was never meant to have been built up by human hands. Too many times we have gotten our fingerprints all over something that only God’s Holy Touch should be upon. The Bible makes it very clear who the real architect of the church truly is. Jesus said, “I will build my church!” And what He uses for materials is not brick and mortar, but you and I!

What do we look like to those around us? Do others on the outside looking in say, “I want what they have? Or do they say, “No way!” Maybe the answer is not to go church hopping but better to go church stopping. Stop the merry-go-round rotation and find a garden you enjoy and plant yourself there and then let God make you grow with those around you!

It is my prayer that all over Cape May County, Jesus will be allowed to build His church using you and I in such a way that the watching world will not run away from us, but they will be tearing down the doors to be with us. Let’s show our neighbors that what we have going with the Lord will never be discovered or experienced anyplace else! Make it happen, Lord Jesus and let it all begin with us! Amen.

If you have no church home and sense a hunger to reconnect with the God who made you and loves you so, you are more than welcome to join us in worship at The Lighthouse Church. We have weekly Celebration Services Saturdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 9 and 10:45 a.m.


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22 04 2015
Joseph Kingkade

Just what I needed to read. We have been on a journey to find that right church for us, that right church that does not exist. May God help us to find the courage to plant ourselves at that no so perfect church and grow with it. Thank you Pastor Rudy.

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