Thursday, June 25, 2009
However, it is sad to me as I hear stories of broken families, and ungodliness within the body of believers. I often wonder how many people today actually take "church" outside of Sunday morning. What I mean is, our society today has made "church" this thing we do on Sunday morning, that will fulfill our spiritual obligations for the rest of the week. Church has become a check on the list for many people in there spiritual walk with God. Let me tell you this is not at all what God intended for the church.
The first century church, seen in Acts, met everyday, fellowshiping, devoting themselves to the teaching of God's word, having communion in rememberance of Christ, etc...(Acts 2:42-47). The church in Acts was more than just a building, but it was a people who devoted themselves to daily pursuit of the living God. They worshiped, they testified, they remembered, they listened, and they were discipled! The call for the church hasn't changed, but the motives and direction of our day and age has changed the church. We need to get back to pursuing God as our chief goal and priority. Naturally, we can't gather everyday as the church in Acts did, but we can live our lives in a way that desires and reflects Christ everyday. If we did this, Sunday mornings would become a celebration of who our God is and all that He has done, rather than a check on the list.
Below are lyrics to a song by Jeremy Riddle called "A Prayer for the Church." You'll notice that the verses speak of weaknesses, and "stains" within the church, but each verse ends in "YOU," speaking of Jesus Christ. It is not until the church begins to reflect Christ, act as Christ, run home to Christ, and move in step with Christ that it will be as it was meant to be. Pray the lyrics below for yourself. The church starts with you. Then pray for the body of believers that you meet with weekly that Christ alone will be their desire.
"A Prayer for the Church" by Jeremy Riddle
Where she is weak
Strengthen arms now, steady feet
That she would care for, she would seek
Welcoming Your lost and wounded sheep
Coming home to You
Where she is stained
Bring Your healing, bring Your rain
Wash away now her disgrace
'Till she shines in white, she radiates
She now mirrors You
No more compromises, no more moral crises
Tonight may she move and act as You
No more small divisions
No more lack of wisdom
Tonight may she move and act as You
Where she is right give her courage for the fight
Full of salt now, full of light
Standing firm where truth and love collide
She remains in You
Now she's shining
Her light is blinding as she sings Your name
Now she's beauty
Up from the ashes, Your love is on her face
Where she is strong, keep her moving, pressing on
Bringing justice, righting wrongs
Demonstrating now Your Kingdom come
She's in step with You
My favorite line of the whole song is the bridge where Jeremy writes, "Now she's shining, Her light is blinding as she sings Your name." What an awesome statement concerning the church of Christ. When we are in step with Christ and the church is worshiping, serving, loving, honoring, and doing all that it is meant to do everyday, the light is blinding. A contagious passion springs forth from its song! A united people worshiping Christ has the ability to send unbelievers to their knees, realizing that without the God that we serve, there is no hope or peace. As the church, lets get back to pursuing the Lord in all that we do!
Psalm 42:1-2 "As a deer pants for flowing streams, so my sould longs for You Oh God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
3 He was despised, and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised; and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth......
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
As I was praying and planning this past weeks Sunday morning worship service, I was drawn to the passage above, found in Isaiah 53. Probably a passage that we have all heard, but have you taken the time to stop and reflect on what it says? Sunday we sang songs like Jesus Paid It All into Stronger. As I thought about the lyrics to Stronger, which is one of my favorite songs, I began to read Isaiah 53.
Our God certainly is stronger than sin and death, and he most definitely did rise from the dead, allowing us to gain eternal life with him. However, this passage in Isaiah made me think of Christ's strength in a different way. It says in verse 7, "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; as a sheep before the slaughter He was silent." Jesus Christ, our great and powerful King, had the ability to rip himself off of that cross, and wipe out the whole multitude of persecutors, but his love for me was stronger than the pain and agony that he suffered. Not only did Jesus suffer crucifixion, he did it willingly and silently, putting up no fight at all.....FOR YOU!
Verse 12 of chapter 53 says, "he poured out his soul unto death and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." We are the transgressors. Jesus took your sins, and was nailed to a cross of wood, so that you could go to Him with your life. Think about that for a moment. Think about the depth of love found in Christ Jesus. Think about the depth of what took place on the cross. Does it move you to worship Him? If it doesn't I don't know what else could.
Christ paid the debt that we owed, so that we could worship Him with our lives. Responding to this amazing act of love in worship is the least we can do, yet it is all God requires of us. If we glorify Him with our lives, and surrender everything to Him, we gain eternal life. Now Go and worship Christ in all that you do.