Friday, June 30, 2006

Change Can Be a Good Thing

I want to encourage any of you who get frustrated with change to stop and think about what is really going on. Has God made some changes in your life in order to strengthen you in some way? Perhaps he is nudging you to make a change in order to grow your faith. I know in my case God is pushing me and my wife to make some changes and they are not going to be easy. But we trust in God and look at this as His pushing us to move on with our ministry; stretching us to do more than we ever thought possible.

When God makes changes to our plans we must look at them in the proper perspective. They are not ours to change, they are His; and in accepting this we are turning our life over to Him to lead. And frankly, I think He is better qualified to lead my life than I am.

Those are my words.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Shouldn’t churches already be this way?

In his book, "An Unstoppable Force," Erwin Raphael McManus writes:

"The traction comes when we become honest with ourselves and others -- when we become cheerleaders for inquiry and seeking rather than simply knowing and finding. Traction comes when outsiders experience the church as a place where honest questions can be asked when people journey together to discover God and find the answers in him."
When I read this I initially had the thought, “Wow, how profound.” Then I reflected on it for a few minutes and thought, “Shouldn’t churches already be this way?”

Over the past several months I have had an ongoing dialogue with several pastors, ministers, and other lay leaders, about the purpose of a church. The responses range from a place where unbelievers can come and discover God, to a place where mature Christians can be discipled and grow closer to our Lord. Shouldn’t it be both? In other words, shouldn’t churches be a place where the lost can come and explore their faith, ask questions, and discover God; and mature believers can be discipled to grow closer to Christ? Why does it seem most churches are one way or the other?

As people are invited to a church or Bible study, they should be encouraged to ask questions about faith. We should encourage their quest as they explore Truth. When they have their “Ah-hah” moment and invite Jesus into their life, mature Christians should step up and guide them along their new journey. As time goes on they will discover their new self in Christ, recognize their purpose, and be ready to step out on their God-given mission.

Here’s my point. Churches shouldn’t be so seeker sensitive that they only attract the lost and leave mature Christians looking for more; nor should they be so focused on mature Christians that seekers don’t feel welcome, and in some cases, even intimidated. Churches should be full of mature Christians living their life as God designed them. In doing so they will reach out to unbelievers as if to say “Hey, come and live a life that is True.” And when these explorers come to check us out, they should be welcomed and encouraged to seek the treasure waiting for them.

Those are my words.