Saturday, May 9, 2015

I'm often asked where I "go" to church...

When asked where I go to church, I know what they mean. Where do you attend a Sunday morning service. But His church is bigger than our Sunday morning institutions. We are the church! His body, followers  of Jesus, God's family scattered all over the world. And as we connect relationally, in a million different ways, we express his church. Can one be a passionate Christian that no longer participates in a traditional congregation? If I don't attend a Sunday service, am I still part of God's family. I would argue that Jesus's church can take on many expressions in the world outside of a 501C3. Do we recognize the church in all the ways she takes shape around us or do we believe she only takes shape in a pew on Sunday mornings? Scripture teaches that when 2 or more come together in His name, He is with us. The bible says that the kingdom is within us. We, the church, bring light into dark places as we love those he puts in our path every day.

For too long we have been dividing His church into tribes, each thinking ourselves superior to the others. As though there is a competition... We are the salt of the earth scattered all over the world. We are the sheep listening to the shepherds voice as he personally leads each of us. He has different tasks for us. He wants to love and heal the world through us. Jesus doesn't say, you'll know my disciples by whether they attend a local congregation or because they hold all the correct beliefs. He says, you'll know my disciples by their love... When I look at Jesus's ministry, I don't see him sitting in a pew, but as he goes about his day, he's about his father's business, listening to his father's voice and loving those in front of him. If you find that attending a local congregation helps you, amen. If it hinders your faith and He has called you to wide open spaces, amen to that too!

But what about the scripture in Hebrews that says, don't give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing? Well first of all, it says "some" of the disciples were in the habit, not all. Secondly, their "meeting together" looked very different than our Sunday morning meetings. They were together daily, in each other's homes, eating together, praying together, encouraging one another, not sitting in a pew, facing forward, listening to a 3 point sermon. And finally, the author was addressing the believers who were being scattered by persecution and killed for their faith. It was dangerous for them to be seen together and many were going into hiding. They needed the encouragement from each other. There are many ways to meet together. There are no right or wrong ways. Today with technology, there are even more ways to connect with not only Christina in your area, but all over the world!

A letter to someone dear to me...

Oh, that's tough about (won't use child's name). Bless his heart, he needs his father to be the parent, his guide, his protector. I'm sure he feels betrayed. And I'm sure after the fact, (the father) felt huge remorse, guilt, and embarrassment. Been there! I have a thing with my kids. When we blow it, we ask for forgiveness and if we could have a redo. On a small scale it might look like... One of my kids is disrespectful or sassy with me. I ask her if she'd like to try that again, but with respect. She is free to have her feelings and communicate those to me, but in this household we respect one another. Or I might lose it with the kids and when I realize I'm using power over them rather than coming under them with a spirit of humility, respect, and love, I ask if I could have a redo. I feel like what I model, I'll get back from them and believe how we live is the most powerful teacher, not what we say. I'm still in the midst of a pharisectomy. Trying to root out that old way I used to parent the kids using shame, guilt, and manipulation to get them to behave like I wanted. I could control their behavior through fear, for a time, but it never transformed their hearts, and it did not provide a spirit of openness, safety, and trust in our relationship which would allow me influence in their lives. It only made them hide their stuff from me. I think when you break your trust with your kids, as every parent does, because we are human, you get the powerful opportunity to demonstrate repairing what you broke. I believe it's even more powerful than being a perfekt parent. (Which we know doesn't exist!) I have a stronger relationship with my boys now than I ever have. The last 10 years (and I'm now 50), my relationship with my boys that I almost destroyed because I parented out of fear, has completely changed. I have owned my brokenness and apologized and began rebuilding.