Posts Tagged ‘body of Christ’

The Tax Man


The Tax Man

What comes to mind when you hear the word “church”?

Do you picture a happy place or a somber gathering?  Do you see steeples and stained glass or modern architecture?  Maybe you think of classic hymns sung by a choir or you hear eclectic guitars and drums.  Churches can look, sound, and feel very different whether you’re comparing them from around the world or even from different places in the same town.  We love our habits and traditions and personal style. Sometimes we even let them define who we are.

But what does Jesus see when he looks at the people who make up the church? The answer to that might be found in an encounter that Jesus had with a certain tax collector.

The Blessings of a Good Church Family


There is nothing quite like a good church family.  I took my family to church tonight like we usually do.  We have a Wednesday night prayer meeting, where everybody shares the things that have been going on in their lives, and we pray for the people in our church and families and loved ones and our neighbors and coworkers and government leaders and whoever else God might lay on our hearts.  And pretty much every time, there is a group praying at church, somebody mentions me (and my family too).  It happens on Wednesday’s and Sundays and other days that we happen to get together.  And it just reminds me that I am so blessed to have a church family that cares about me and prays for me.  Of course it’s not about me, because they pray for everybody else in the church too.  They pray for people who might be sick or having family issues or looking for a job or any other need.  And they pray for people who are sharing their faith and reaching out to the world with the Gospel.  They give thanks to God for everything he does in our lives.  They show so much care for one another through their fellowship and their prayer and helping one another and taking care of each other.  And it’s just so good.

Of course that’s what church is all about.  It’s not about a preacher or a Sunday morning program or a youth ministry or a building or any of the things we so often define our churches by these days.  The Bible describes the church as a living body, made of many different parts.  And we come together through the direction and power of Jesus, and we support and encourage one another in our mission to make disciples.  We spur one another on to good works.  And we counsel and lend aid and take care of one an other.  That’s what biblical church is.

I’ve heard so many people say that you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.  And technically that’s true.  Repenting of sin and choosing to trust and obey Jesus is a personal choice that only you can make for yourself.  But living as a Christian apart from the church is like a part of the body living apart from the body.  If you could get a hand or a foot or an eyeball or an ear to survive apart from the body, that would be an impressive medical feat.  But what would be the point of a hand or foot or eyeball or ear without the rest of the body?  We were meant to come together and work as one to make the world a better place.  So the people who think that church is just a thing you do once or twice a week, totally miss the point.  We aren’t meant to only GO to church.  We are meant to BE the church!  And any Christian who doesn’t know that and live that, is missing out on a lot.

Anyway, I was just feeling thankful because of my church family and felt like sharing.  Of course the real thanks goes to God.  He’s the one that has helped to transform the lives of people who are a living part of our church body.  He’s the one who helped every one of us become a part of him and be filled with his spirit to work and pray and live as a real church family.  And I am so grateful to God and to my brothers and sisters of the  church for the prayers and support and encouragement that they continue to give me and my family.  And I pray that you know that kind of love and connection too.

If you’re missing that–if you’re a Christian “orphan”–you definitely need to get connected to a godly church where you can experience this blessing.  And if you can’t find one, let me know…you can come be a part of my church family. 🙂

The Passover Lamb


It’s like the Jewish 4th of July!

A lot of Christians don’t know much about the celebration of Passover.  But there are some pretty interesting lessons that can be drawn from this ancient remembrance of freedom.

And who knows…maybe it’ll even speak to your heart.

High Seas Adventure – Part Two


Did you know that there are a number of passages in the Bible that tell Christians to meet together to fellowship and worship.  It’s not only good to have church, but you could argue that a person isn’t a very good Christian if they avoid going to church on a regular basis.

Of course just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.  However, a real Christian, who cares about Jesus and the Bible always looks forward to meeting with fellow believers to be encouraged in his work for the faith.

And that’s so important.  Because even more often than it talks about worshiping together, the Bible tells Christians to preach God’s Good News to the world.  And if you’re not doing that, well what good are you to God.  That’s our most important task.  A Christian who doesn’t go to church is like an athlete who doesn’t go to practice.  But a Christian who doesn’t share his faith is like a firefighter that refuses to put out fires.  The first will just lose you the game, but the second will cause lives to be lost.

High Seas Adventure – Part One


Have you ever taken a big trip somewhere?  It usually a lot of fun to get out on the open road (or skies or seas–whatever the case may be) and travel to someplace new and different, and enjoy the sights and experiences.  But what if you were forced to go on a long trip that you didn’t want to go on?  That happened to Paul.  He went on plenty of trips that he wanted to take because he liked being a missionary.  But there was one pretty disastrous trip that he didn’t have a choice about.  And you know what?  In spite of all the difficulties and his life being endangered a number of times, he seemed to make a pretty adventurous trip out of the ordeal.

A Walk Through the Book of Romans: Chapter 16


CHAPTER FOURTEEN – Don’t Let ’em Fool Ya

What’s wrong with the church today is not the music or the modern dress or even the trend toward the mega churches with coffee bars and barber shops and all that jazz.  What’s wrong with the church today, at least in the U.S., is that it is largely ineffective.  Sure we have some outreaches and mission trips and things like that.  But where are the real miracles, and turning the world upside down, and caring for all the widows and orphans, and repentance from sin, and morality outside of church, and preaching counting the cost and expecting persecution and trials as a Christian?

It seems to me like much of the church in America is little more than a weekly club meeting to make you feel better about yourself and not to actually affect your real life. But on the bright side, it doesn’t have to be like that!

What’s it like for you?

A Walk Through the Book of Romans: Chapter 15


CHAPTER FIFTEEN – A Well Oiled Machine

I watched a documentary today about how Clay County, Kentucky (and specifically the city of Manchester) has gone through a miraculous change because of unity in the church.  They were top in the nation for prescription drug abuse, and many people were dying because of crystal meth and other drugs.  So finally the city reached a breaking point where all the churches in town got angry at the drug problem because it was killing their children.  So for the first time all the churches united in passionate prayer and marched against corruption in their government and lawlessness in their community, and God showed up in response to the church uniting in prayer.

So the town changed in so many ways.  Many former drug users became Christians, the churches began to fill up, people in the government and schools all turned to God.  Drug dealers and corrupted city officials were arrested and jailed.  The town itself was cleaned up and beautified.  Business began to build and even the local plant and animal life has grown with numbers that haven’t been up for 50 years.

When people turn to God, it makes a difference.  The question is, what will it take for the church to unite in other cities and become a well-oiled machine for the glory of God?

A Walk Through the Book of Romans: Chapter 14


CHAPTER FOURTEEN – A Strong and Healthy Body

A virus can actually use your own cells to reproduce.  It will infiltrate the cellular structure in your body, reproduce inside a cell, and then destroy the cell as it releases itself after multiplying.  So it not only grows in number, but it wreaks havoc with your cells to do so.

The same thing can happen in the church.  Wicked people can move in, start causing division and wreck a church.  So it’s wise to be very careful about how people in your church deal with things like disagreements, gossip, etc.

After all we are supposed to be one body.  And we don’t want our body weakened because people weaseled their way into church and started causing problems.

How to Avoid Church


Too many times I’ve been asked the question, “Do you have to go to church to be a Christian?”

The technical answer is, of course, no.  Going to church does not make one a Christian.  There are plenty of non-Christians who go to church all the time.  They might even think they’re Christian because they go to church.  But going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than going to Washington makes you the President.  And going home again doesn’t remove any of your Christianity.  Proximity to a church building, is not how one determines whether or not they belong to Jesus Christ.

However, the question itself reveals a flawed view of Christianity.  A Christian IS the church.  All true believers are part of the body of Christ.  You can’t help it.  And the body has to work together.  You simply can’t work as part of an integrated body of believers if you disconnect yourself from it.  So real Christians seek out the opportunity to worship in unison with other believers, to serve and encourage each other in community, to carry out their mission to preach the Good News of the Gospel to the world as a team.

So you can become a Christian without ever having darkened the doors of a church building.  But you can’t live as part of the body of Christ while keeping yourself removed from the fellowship of the church.

In other words, don’t just go to church…BE the church.

Rug Rats and Evildoers


Hey Church!  I have a bone to pick with you.  Yeah you–the whole Church–all you people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.  Do you remember what Jesus prayed for you before he was crucified?  He prayed that we would all be ONE–just like he and the Father are one.  And do you remember why he prayed that?  So that the world would KNOW that God sent Jesus.  Well guess what?  You have fractured the church into so many opposing groups that the world looks at you and says, “Ok, so which one of these factions should I believe in?  They all seem to disagree.  So why should I believe in Jesus, if his prayer for his church didn’t even work?  How can I be any worse off by not believing in what any of these groups say?”

Real nice job church!  You’ve made quite a mess of Christ’s prayer.

So how about working on that problem?  Why don’t you start living like Jesus did…in PERFECT unity with God.  Don’t let there be even a hint of immorality and sin in you.  Let the world see a body of believers who live pure lives from pure hearts made pure and kept pure by cooperating with the power of the Holy Spirit.  Do you remember how upset Jesus was by those who claimed to be “religious” but were really just religious hypocrites?  Don’t be anything like that.  Let your life be lived the way your Lord commands it to be lived–RIGHTEOUSLY!

I guarantee if every person who claimed to follow Jesus actually lived like Jesus, that the world would have no choice but to understand exactly who Jesus is and that God sent him into the world.  And, if the church (the whole church) lived in perfect unity with Jesus and obeyed all of his commands, she would automatically live in perfect unity as the “body” of Christ.  The church would be ONE.

Read John 17 and think about it.