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If you don’t like Church because you don’t like organized religion, or because you’ve had negative experiences – or because of negative stereotypes – I’m with you. The church is weak. Even healthy churches are (oftentimes) filled with problems too huge to overlook. But allow me to suggest two reasons WHY this might be so… One, is because of Sin. Duh. The Bible teaches that “all have sinned…all have gone astray” – that’s why we need a Savior. So it’s no surprise that Sin makes churches less than what they could be… But also, TWO – the second reason the church is often not as good as it ought to be is: the church is something that needs to be taken care of…
Most devout Christians I know still seem to think of Church like God’s vending machine. They go and pay with time and money, and in return expect to get inspiration, wisdom, and blessing… May I suggest a different model for looking at the church: at the end of (the Gospel of) John (21), Jesus breaks it down for Simon Peter by asking him “do you love me?” And every time Simon Peter said “yes, you know I do” – Jesus says some variation of “[then] take care of my sheep.”
IF you love Jesus, THEN you take care of His church. This doesn’t mean giving in to whatever the sheep seems to want at all times – but taking care by giving it everything that it needs to grow and be healthy and thrive. The church is not something you can just milk – and expect that it will always be there for you. It won’t. And the ones that survive such abuse often don’t give very good milk, or enough for people to live on. The church requires active care on the part of every person who loves Jesus.
Wouldn’t it be dumb for a shepherd to go out and look at his scrawny dirty malnourished sheep and start badmouthing them? “Look at those sheep over there – I like those sheep so much better – I get blessed whenever I’m with those sheep…” Yes the sheep are pretty sad looking – but who’s job is it to take care of them anyway? So whatever church you’re part of – stop badmouthing your church and start taking care of it… That’s what Jesus wants from you.
Now no CF-er has ever had evil thoughts about our church (yet!) – that’s one of the benefits of a young church, there’s no reason why anyone who didn’t want to be a part of this to ever come… But that doesn’t mean that you’re taking care of the church… So here’s a short checklist any believer can ask oneself:
- Is church something you do when you have nothing better to do? Or is a priority?
- Do you get ready (prepare physically, prepare your schedule, prepare mentally) for church, or do you just show up (present in body but not always in mind)?
- Do you bring an attitude of thankfulness toward God? Or do you come without much thought as to where your heart is?
- Do you come to interact with God and other people? Or do you come just for the music or the sermon?
In the next few weeks we’re doing something amazing… as we talk about what it means to enter Jesus’ Tribe… And we need you to make this work. So…do you love Jesus?