Thursday, August 04, 2005

church

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."

I don't think I've talked about this much, but this summer our Sunday School class is doing the Experiencing God study...I love it....it seems God is using it right along with my Russia experiences and the Girl's Group book to drive home this whole idea of Community. Here's what I read this morning:
One of the problems many evangelical churches face today is that they have so emphasized the doctrine of the priesthood of believers they have lost their sense of corporate identity. What does that mean in simple words? Christians think they stand alone before God and that they are not accountable to the church. Christians do have direct access to God. They only need to go through Christ as their Mediator. God, however, created the church as His redemptive agent in the world. He has a purpose for the church. God places every member in a church to accomplish His redemptive purposes through that church.

I can't imagine my life without my church and CSF. I think of the people who have loved our family and taken us into their homes for meals and free babysitting and prayer and crazy bridge....students who have cleaned my house or brought me Ice from Sonic, encouraged us with a kind card, or inspired me to chase after God more purposefully...sermons that have spoken Truth into my life, people who have set an example that inspires me, friends who have challenged and corrected me lovingly, opportunities to serve that help me see God more clearly....

Last weekend we had a reunion with some of our friends from college....we were all involved at the Christian Campus House, and these were some of our closest friends, several of them standing up in our wedding with us. I asked one where his family was attending church, and the response I got was one of bitterness and hurt. They weren't attending, and didn't sound like they had any intention of changing that.

It broke my heart.

I don't judge them....it's hard to be part of a Community. People suck sometimes. But, God's church is life-giving, too! What would my life be without the Church? I might have a little more free time on my hands, but other than that....really....it would be empty. How often I've taken the Church for granted and thought only of how it benefits me or fits into my plans. The other important thing is that GOD LOVES THE CHURCH. Not just like "I love ice from Sonic"...God is IN LOVE with the church, passionately. I want to love the things God loves, and God loves the church...I think he even loves the ones that stink....

Today I'm so very thankful for RCC and CSF!!

3 comments:

Michael Tosh said...

I have alot of friends that don't go to church becuase of a bad experience or a few jerks in the church.

The advice I give is simple...don't be afraid to shop around! It sucks that we are not united as one church, but the advantage to it is that there are many different church's and different styles! You are bound to find a church that fits you.

I say you don't know if you like food until you try! If you have one bad pizza at say "Domino's" does that mean you will never eat any pizza at pizza hut, or papa johns? of course not! (Sorry I work at Casy's pizza in Jville...pizza on the brain)

Also if you go to a movie theatre and there is one jerk who won't shut up during one movie are you going to boycott the movie theatre. of course not!

This is church to me, you don't leave because a few people are jerks sometimes. You take the bad with the good! If you focus on the good then you will enjoy the church, if you focus on the bad then you won't enjoy the church. Actually if you focus on the bad in life you won't enjoy anything.

In those cases that the Church is just not right for you, you don't stop going to churches all toghter! There are like 10 bazillion differnet churches out there. don't be afraid to try something different. One of my biggest joy in life has been visiting other churches. Its a great experience!

Sorry about the long winded answer, I've had alot of discussions with people about this concept over the last few years!

Drew Hibbard said...

In response to your comment, Mike...

Could it be that these people are looking for perfection among a body who admits their imperfection? No human is perfect, we are all sinful, and some might go to a church community thinking that in church is where the perfect humans would be. When they find that humans at church aren't any more perfect than humans anywhere else.

A church is an institution, but it is also a body of believers. Churches don't have that great key to making yourself perfect on this earth, nor do they have a perfect community. They're just a big group of people gathered together to worship and honor the Almighty Creator.

gretchen lee said...

I also think that our culture has lost the ability (or the willingness) to "stick it out" with people.....look at the divorce rate....or even in college friendships, you have a disagreement with someone, and just find a new group of friends...you don't work through it, do the hard work, mend and repair relationships....you just give up.

Think about how hard God works to reconcile us to himself....how hard should WE be working to reconcile with the people around us?