Monday, January 16, 2017

Church 101

Church is not the building or facility....
Church is the people. We know this. I'm not some kind of visionary who thought this up. If you talk to anyone who goes to church, or has gone for any length of time, they will tell you right up front.."The church is the people not the building".
But the people have a function and purpose....everyone who claims to be a child of God and a follower of Jesus. Their very being is to be used by God as an instrument for His dynamic rule and reign here on this earth. Or, as John Wimber would say, "We are the vehicle through which the Kingdom of God is revealed to others who do not know our Jesus.
         A.) We proclaim, or tell others about our encounters with this Jesus. How He has changed our lives (you were changed, weren't you?).
         B.)We demonstrate and validate the truth of the Word of God by allowing the Holy Spirit to move when we pray. Remember, whatever happens...someone gets healed...someone gets saved....someone gets delivered from demonic spirits....we only a conduit through which the Holy Spirit and the power of God moves.
        C.)We care for the poor.
        D.) We are to replicate or reproduce by making disciples. Our business isn't making converts. Seems like sometimes the church is more excited about seeing people saved than helping them to move into being a disciple. Don't get me wrong, I'm all up in the salvation thing. Nothing stirs me more than to see a person be transformed by the saving power of God. But nothing is more fulfilling than to see that person chasing God, and doing the works of Jesus.

I use the word "experiential" a lot. Some think that I am discounting the discipline of being a disciple, that somehow all I want to do is run around getting a "warm fuzzy" from God (or if your really into the religious terminology..."glory bumps").  I do know people who spend their entire life running from meeting to meeting...conference to conference seeking out an encounter from God so they can tell their latest story of how God touched them. Such seems to be coming from a selfish view of God. Like He is some sort of personal feel-good dispenser. When I speak of "experiential" encounters with God, I speak from a view that every meeting we attend, we should go expecting to meet with Him. God is sovereign. He moves and touches at His desire. God is not manipulated or cajoled into coming so our flesh can be touched and we can have new "God" story to share in Church.  For those who have some doubt about this experiential stuff....then tell me, how did you get saved if God did not come down and touch you? How were you suddenly aware of your current spiritual state if God did not open your heart up to your need to be saved. I believe that experiencing God is the key to living and moving under the purpose we were created for. 

For the most part, I believe that the current, professing church is living in the past. I have heard many state that we need to get back to being the church we read about in Acts...the first church. Somehow we have fallen prey to the idea that the first church is the high water mark of what church is suppose to be. I happen to believe that the church has yet to hit a high water mark. That anything is possible to a people who are sold out to Jesus. A people who have a corporate mission to their location, town, community and, at the same time, each member has an individual calling to be carried out outside of the corporate group. The church is not to be directed or lead by those who are perceived to be the "Movers and the Shakers".....but rather should be lead by the "Listener's and the Doer's".  We must never forget that the church is Jesus'. He birthed it. He died for it. He empowers it. He directs it.

I need the structure of community. 
I need to be surrounded by like minded people who share a vision and the purpose to which God has called us to.
I need to worship in a way that speaks to me. A worship that proclaims the greatness of God, yet is culturally current. 

I want what we do as a community of believers to speak and draw those around us who do not understand what Church truly is, to come and join in to experience God for themselves.

 I want to break off the stereotypical view of church that has been burned into the consciousness of those who have been injured or hurt by church. I desire to have a place where all of us can encounter the living God and go away at the end of the night having fallen in love with Jesus a little more than when we got there.

 I want everyone who comes through the door on Saturday night to understand for themselves that when we talk about a Power greater than ourselves who could restore us to sanity...we really mean POWER. Power in a person. The person of Jesus. The same power that raised Him from the dead should be evident and moving in our services, and in our lives when we leave to back out into our communities.. Maybe it is time we start standing on the promises, and quit sitting on the premises.

Think on these things....
What is the mission of Vineyard ReCovery?
To Follow In His Steps.

God on you..

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