Growing up were you forced to go to Church?

Yeah me too. And I am totally for that happening.

However now as an adult I don’t ever want to be obligated to go to church.  I would hate that times a million.

Because the service on Sunday should not be treated as what church is.

Sunday morning should be a time where a community of Disciples comes together, worships God, and hear something about God, from God, or have their hearts changed by God.

Too often though church is an obligatory event.

Too often its a check list and we as followers of Christ feel bad if we don’t go, or judge others as some kind of sinner for not going.

But here’s the deal, if you’re really a part of the Church like you should be then you’ll want to be there.  Being a part of the church really means being part of a community of believers that are moving towards God, and living out His will in their lives.

The reason I love my church and choose to be a part of it is because of the community I get to be a part of.  It’s not just an event.  Even when not everybody that goes to my church realizes that, it’s okay because I know that God wants that and is cultivating that into my church.

I think we all want church to look more like a community of believers that reaches the lost together.

But unfortunately some sick thing happened in the 80’s and 90’s that turned church into an event instead of a body of believers.

Instead of starting a million new Churches, let’s join Churches in our area and help be a part of making this idea of being a body, or a community of missional believers happen, instead of people attending an event.

And it’s gonna be hard.

Even I know that quite often the Pharisee rises up in me and tries to tell me that I need to go to church.

I don’t need to go to Church.

I need to be a part of the church.

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Judging others.

January 21, 2010

You guys should read 1 Corinthians 5.

It’s a good read.

Something near the end of it really stuck out to me.  In verse 12 and 13 it talks about the role of Judgement in the Church.  It says this

12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. 13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.” -Corinthians 5:12-13. (NLT)

Kinda nuts right? No one really talks about this.  In fact I know that a lot of people within the church say things like don’t judge me.  But in this chapter, it says that if the person really considers themself a Christian that its okay to Judge one another.

Isn’t that nuts?  I feel like that’s so counterintuitive to what I’ve been told or learned.

I just don’t remember seeing this ever acted out in our current world.

Now I don’t think this verse means that every time someone sins we need to kick them out of the church.  I think it really is talking about the state of a person’s heart or whatever.

I know a lot of people in the church that sin often, but I don’t think they should be kicked out.  Even looking at that scripture I don’t think they should be kicked out.

Let’s say there is this guy cheating on his wife.

Let’s also say this guy is a Christian.

And then I approach him and say hey man that’s not right.  This guy can react in two ways.

He can say your right, I gotta stop this. And then he admits to his wife what he did, and starts all that resolution process, and of course repents to God first and foremost.

Or he can say dude shut up.  I love her and my wife is probably cheating on me anyways.  Or something else that he uses as an excuse to condone his sin.

With the first reaction, I think that guy needs to stick in the church, and we need to be there to help him get on that track and make sure he is taking the proper courses of actions.

However with the second reaction, he is on a bad path, and refusing to see the truth of the matter.  And Matthew 18 and somewhere else in the Bible I think talks about what else we can do as the body of Christ to approach that Brother.

That’s just something that stuck out to me this week.  Basically it’s okay to judge your brothers and sisters in Christ.  But I wanna also say that if you’re just judging those brothers and sisters, and then not approaching them the way Christ said to, and not approaching them the way the Bible tells us to, then you should probably just stop, because that judgement sounds like something that cultivates hate in your mind rather than healing and restoration in your brother or sister’s life.

What do you guys think?

I think one of the biggest struggles I see and have experienced as someone who’s grown up in the Church, is lack of passion, in areas of life that should require passion.

Maybe not require passion, but should have passion.

Something we do in the church that seems to have little or no passion is Communion.

We have it scheduled as part of a service and read the verses that deal with it, pray, and then eat and drink that stuff.

But how often are we doing it in Remembrance of Christ, and how often are we doing it just because we Christ asked us to?

Further more how often do you see someone passionately praying for the bread and wine, or passionately talking about what Christ has done for us.

I want to be the kind of person that is passionate about these things.  I want to do these things and draw closer to God because of them.  I remember doing communion  in high school, and thinking to my self every time I do this, I want to fall more in love with Christ.

And I don’t want to be passionate just for show.  I don’t want it to just look like I’m passionate.  I want the passion to be in my heart.  The outward expression of that could look very different for all sorts of people. But whatever that is I want that sincerity of passion to be in me.  Not because we admire passionate people, but because passion seems to consume all of a person.

When we say a person is passionate about cars, we pretty much think that cars are what that person is all about.  I want God to look at me and say

Anthony, You are passionate about me, and my son.

I want that.

When I have communion I want to literally remember the salvation that God lived out for me. I want to realize all the things God has done in my life.  I want love God more each time I do communion.  I don’t want it to just be a practice.  I want it to be something I get excited about, because of just the idea of remembering Christ and what he did for us.

Have you ever just sat around with friends and talked about the things that some crazy old mutual friend used to do?  You know, that legend of a friend that everybody seems to have, the person that is always doing crazy stuff and everybody loves him or her.

That’s how communion should be with Christ.  We should just talk about all the crazy stuff He did, He was one crazy awesome guy.  And when I do communion I just want to reminisce on all the things that Christ has done not only in my life, but has just done.

So when I am forty, and leading communion somewhere I hope it’s one of those things that gets me choked up.  Or makes me yell.  Or make gestures with my hands.  I want to always be passionate.  Not just right after god does something in my life, but always, not just when I’m young, but when I’m old too.  I hoped I’m marked by God for my passion for Him.

And I say when I’m forty because I could easily see me getting to used to a lot of things in my walk with Christ down the road.  I don’t want to get used to them.  I want all these things to be fresh, and awesome, and passion filling, so God fill me with passion for you, always.

The Bible says the Holy Spirit will convict the world of its sin. (Read John 16:7-11, it’s GOOD.)

Well it does that to me too.

Recently someone told me how much they like my blog and all that nice stuff.  And I was like thank you, and we kept talking about my blog and I was all of a sudden like yeah well hopefully it gets popular enough so I can make a bunch of money off it one day.

Right then, I didn’t feel convicted about that.  But either the next day or a few days later I totally did.

It just struck me that that’s not the end goal of this blog.  And it sucked that I acted like it was.  I felt like a false prophet or something. The end goal of this blog is to help people grow in their walk with God.  And yet I made it sound like money was what mattered, and was partially my motivation, when that was never the motivation behind this blog.

Even now I feel like I am writing this blog just set the record straight with those people who I was talking to.  And that’s pretty much true.  I want to confess my sin of acting like money was what mattered with this blog. (as if this blog would ever make money in the first place).

That’s what’s awesome about the Holy Spirit.  He convicts us.

Just think if the Holy Spirit never convicted us. Christianity would not look like it does today.

I don’t think I ever really like the feeling of being convicted by the Holy Spirit.  But I love the results.  The results are some kind of restoration.  Some kind of me becoming better.  Whenever I act on the conviction of the Holy Spirit I see my self being freed from things, whether it be sin or false thoughts.

My favorite is when the Holy Spirit convicts me about something I do relationally to someone.  It sucks at first because I realize I have to go to that person and apologize for how I wronged them.  But that restoration in the relationship is awesome. First, it makes the person feel better.  And second, it honestly usually draws me closer to that person relationally.  It’s just all around awesome.

And that’s all due to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  I love it.