25 01 2021

A WORD FROM PASTOR RUDY Imagine that you were given the job of running a factory that made kazoos. By what standards would the success of your factory be measured? The employees might be the busiest, hardest working crew on the block, but we don’t judge success by utter exhaustion. The Factory itself may be all the rage because the building is shaped in the form of a giant kazoo, but all the bells and whistles of its place of business don’t justify a positive rating. And the Factory manual may be second to none in precision and details and lofty work goals but this alone won’t make the observers sing its praises. The bottom line is that a kazoo factory should be making quality kazoos that are being purchased and played for all to hear. The task of a kazoo factory is to make kazoos!

What is the purpose of a church? Is it to be a secret society of tight knit cliques hiding out of the world’s influence so they may speak an insider language and carry their big Bibles that might be building more muscles in their arms rather than actually changing hearts? And did you know that nowhere in Scripture, is it mentioned that a synagogue, temple, chapel, tabernacle, building or any other meeting place was ever called a church? The church is something we need to be and not so much a place we need to go.

Ken Davis, well known comedian in Christian circles, told this classic yarn the other day on his daily Radio Show heard on Lift FM. He shared that there were four houses of worship in a small Texas town. They included the Presbyterian Church, the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, and the Catholic Church. Each location was overrun with pesky squirrels who were messing up the property and causing great damage. The Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do about the squirrels. After much prayer and deliberation, they determined that the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn’t interfere with God’s divine will and sovereignty. At the Baptist Church, the squirrels had made themselves a nuisance in the kitchen and surrounding fellowship hall. The deacons met and decided to just round them up and serve them at their next Pot Luck Supper as the main course. The Methodist Church got together and decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God’s creation. So, they humanely trapped the squirrels and set them free a few miles outside of town. Three days later, the squirrels were back. But, it looks like the Catholic Church came up with the best and most effective solution. They chose to baptize the squirrels and register them as official members of the church. Now they only see them on Christmas and Easter! This parable is both funny and sad at the same time because if you were passionate about someone and something, would you be content to just check in twice a year whether you needed it or not?

What is the mission of a Christian? Is to make sure that said Believer is doing enough good things to outweigh the not so upright behavior? Can you fulfill the assignment that God gave to all of His Disciples and be satisfied to relegate it to the back burner? Christians were called to be active, learning, living followers of Jesus. Our eyes are not to be preoccupied with anything less than keeping focused on the One who ultimately fuels and fulfills our faith. How can you follow Jesus if you don’t know Him enough to even discern which direction that He wants you to travel in?

The church of Christ is a body, a family, a living organism made up of human beings. We have been commissioned by Jesus to go into all the world and not be satisfied to bunker down in a posh and perfect facility. God has equipped us to an adventure that is nothing less than outright incredible. The humbling yet motivating truth is that God has chosen to carry out the eternal work of His kingdom through us, His church. The angels would have completed the assignment in a half an hour and we’ve been at it now over 2000 years, but more often than not, it’s because we allow ourselves to get distracted by the presence of the squirrels and miss the true power of the Holy Spirit!

I am beginning a new weekend series studying the Letter from Paul to the Corinthians. The reason I am doing so is because for the church to soar triumphantly, as God designed us to do, we need to be properly aligned so the engine of the Spirit can empower the Body of Christ to drive alive and well! I am calling the journey, “God’s Body Shop.” Jesus is our Divine Mechanic and we need to allow Him to pop the hood so we can become the ideal working vehicle taking the good news to the surrounding crowds and not waiting for our audience to come to us. My heart is that we reach people from where they presently are to take them to where God wants us to go eternally. We were not made to look good in the showroom, but to take this show on the road. While we will forever be anchored to the truth of the Bible, our methods must adapt to reach people where they are. 

I want to close with a classic story that circulated during his last season as head coach of the Green Bay Packers. Certainly those who worked for and around him knew the game of football. But on this day, Vince Lombardi faced a difficult challenge: where to begin after yesterday’s humiliating defeat. There was little he could say to his team that hadn’t already been said. There were few aspects of the game that they had not practiced and analyzed extensively. The men were professionals. They knew that their performance on the field yesterday had been atrocious. They knew their performance bore no resemblance to their game plan. They were angry, frustrated, and disappointed, to say the least. In his remarkable manner Lombardi met the challenge head-on.

Picking up the familiar oblong, leather ball, he went directly to the heart of the matter. In a deliberate manner he brought everyone’s attention back to the basics with five simple words: “Men, this is a football.” One of his players who understood exactly how badly they needed to review the essentials spoke up, “Hold on, Coach, you’re going too fast!”

The challenge before us today is very similar to that of Lombardi’s. In the church today there are few matters we haven’t studied and discussed extensively. There is little to be said that will not sound familiar. And yet there is much room for us to grow in our effectiveness at carrying on the ministry of Christ. Just as Lombardi began that day by forcing his men to look at the fundamentals of the game, we begin by examining the purpose that lies at the heart of everything we do. We begin by lifting up our “football”—our purpose—and reviewing exactly why we are here so that we can be transformed into the Body of Christ we are supposed to be!



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