WHERE ARE YOU BEING THE CHURCH?

22 05 2018

Love is like the 5 loaves and 2 fishesHere’s a question you’ll never read in the Bible: a Believer asking another Believer and it is, “Where do you go to church?” Did you know that there is also no place in the Bible that ever commands you to, “Go to church?” The New Testament challenges the Disciples of Jesus to be the church but that is a bit different. There’s a simple explanation for this and it is simply that the New Testament letters were being composed, nobody thought about calling a building a church. The church didn’t even have any buildings then. It just had people.

But, over the years, something crazy happened. What should have defined a body of Believers came to be the name of what we titled a building. Just the other day, somebody came by The Lighthouse and complimented me by responding, “You have a beautiful church.” I replied by saying, “How do you know? You haven’t even met any of the church yet?”  

I love what John Ortberg writes. He eloquently informs us that the first Christians never even conceived that what Jesus described as His Bride would be lowered to just labeling their meeting places. I love this next line. Ortberg says, that it would have made as much sense as if someone inspected a crib alone and concluded, “You have a beautiful baby.”

We all know that babies are people. The crib is just the piece of furniture where you place the baby and even that is a temporary resting destination. We put the baby in the crib so that he or she can rest up and recharge so he or she can be ready to be released to life itself. Living is not nestling in for an eternity of doing nothing more than being stuck in a resting pattern.

If you have a toddler, would you want him or her in the crib 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Actually, if you have a baby, you might want to be in the crib 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. This spot of rest and relaxation is only a temporary fix. We don’t gather as the Body of Christ to live in a building where we meet for worship! We don’t neglect our habit of meeting together to rest up, recharge, and get nourished so that we can get back out into the world and be living representations of the Savior we claim to love.

Our western culture has redefined “Fellowship” as just eating cookies and drinking coffee together, but it is so much more. Fellowship is all about community and connection. Biblical fellowship means that you get close enough to another you even know what they smell like. When I was a younger man, before I became allergic to everything, I used to wear the cologne, Brut. As a matter of fact, my wife Terri always knew when the kids were with their Father because she would say, “You smell just like Daddy.” When was the last time somebody said, “You smell just like Jesus?” You can’t give out what you don’t put in. Too many of us smell like a building when we should have the aroma of Jesus! I guarantee that if you jump into the arms of your Lord, the intimacy with Him will produce a fragrance of life to others. What are we waiting for?

So much of the Ministry of Jesus had nothing to do with lecturing in a conference room. Jesus was always inviting someone to share a meal with Him. Matthew, Zacchaeus, and every imperfect seeking sinner had the opportunity to have a meal with the Master. Growing up in the 1960’s, our Family had Dinner at the table every night. It was so much more than just stuffing fast food down our throats we just received at a drive-through as we rush on our way to the next event. We shared stories and laughter as we passed the meat loaf and freshly baked biscuits. The current generation has no idea the depth they are really missing because they have traded in authentic communion for convenience.

In the Book Of Revelation, when Jesus was standing outside of the Church at Laodicea, He promised that if someone would open the door and invite Him in that He would come on in and do what with them? He didn’t say, I’ll come in and teach you. He made it clear that He wanted to share a table where quality time was treasured. Who wouldn’t want to have lunch with the Lord? Believers–we are His Bride and not His building. When we gather together, it is such a privilege to come to the table so that we can go out refreshed, recharged and renewed, ready to bring others to such a relationship with the God who loves us so!

Are you ready to make the paradigm shift? Burdens aren’t lifted at a building. Burdens are lifted at Calvary because you have connected with the Jesus who loved you so much. Do you know the best way to receive love? It is by giving love away. When we are truly loved by God, we are filled to be spilled so that those on the outside come on the inside and know what an amazing community the Family of God really is. I don’t want to smell like a musty building when I can represent my Master so much better. How about you?  


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