Saturday, November 12, 2011

The “Church” is a Movement not a Place............

I am reading through the bible this year on a chronological plan. So, the last couple of days have been reading all the passages on the Resurrection. I was reminded of all the events surrounding the discovery of the empty tomb. Made me think of Peter and John running to see. Mary’s encounter with Jesus outside the tomb. Breakfast on the beach with His boys. They all ran and told everyone in sight about Jesus!

Then we move to Holy Spirit coming in Acts. It was like spontaneous combustion! The flames just ignited and spread like it was driven by a drought and gale force winds. They were crazy out of control with the Message! The Disciples were spreading the Good News throughout the Mediterranean world. Their number grew was organic not institutional. There was no “church”, no “place” they attended on Sunday where it all emanated from. No! A Movement was born! It was about Jesus and who He was and what He had done.....that’s all. There were no programs, productions or bulletins to be handed out with the tightly choreographed order of the day. It was just a Movement!

But something happened....... Something happened with the translation of the word “church” and now the “church” is understood to be a “place”, a building.  It’s the sanctuary, the house of The Lord. It is no longer an organic growing Movement but, an institution, Religion. Yes, I know there are some exceptions, some signs of “hope” that “The Movement” is stirring  again. There are some that are looking more to Jesus than a dead institution and that is a good thing.

I think many “churches” remain institutionalized because they are scared of what Paul said in Galatians 5:1 “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” (MSG) You see, A Movement can not be controlled. And that brings me to my closing comment and a question for you.

“Religion is scared of relationship, for if relationship with God is possible, religion is unnecessary.”
Is Religion scared of you?                                      
Or, have you become part of a fossilized institution?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Why is “Come to Me” so difficult?

 One of the most simple statements Jesus ever made.........
“Come to Me”.......Matthew 11:28-30
Why is it so difficult to follow?

In our last post the topic was “HALT”. This is sort of a followup to it in that it is the logical next step after you have noticed the “red flags” and practiced the “HALT” exercise. Most, if not all the struggles of life can be resolved by accepting this simple invitation from Jesus......”Come to Me”.....

It doesn’t matter what we are struggling with, Relationship issues, Parenting, a lapse of integrity, Physical issues, Pornography, Doubts or Fears. Maybe you are just worn out with Religion. And especially if you have “fallen and you can’t get up!”

Most of us however would rather try everything before we  would stop and do as Jesus said “Come to Me.” It is just too difficult to imagine that there is nothing we can do. So, we try to bargain with God. We Repent and try harder. We Read our bible and pray all day. We may even find a church where we can throw ourselves on the altar an weep. We bite nails and try harder. Finally we fail again and try even harder as we begin the cycle again.... When we come to the end of ourselves...self effort then we can hear the call to “Come to Me”............

So what is it about Jesus’ bidding, “Come to Me?” The first “Come” has to do with salvation. It is a gift that only He can give. The second gives us a choice. We can continue to “slam our head in the car door” or we can accept the invitation to “Take His yoke and learn of Him.” When we take this course we “Find Rest for our soul”

So, how do we “Come to Him?” it’s about “Relationship.” He wants us to come to Him and develop an intimate Life with Him. Get alone with Him and ask what He wants you to know, then listen....
When we struggle, if we look into His face and listen to Him and learn His ways we WILL find Rest for our soul.

There are no commands or condemnation, just a gentle “Come to Me”