Wednesday, October 7, 2015

when church becomes messy & hard

photo credit: Lisa Leonard 

I don't have a degree in theology. I can't read in Greek. I never went to seminary. But I've witnessed struggle in church. I've dealt with struggle in church. At one point, I even felt like church owed me something and if it didn't measure up to my standards, I didn't need to be a part. 

Church isn't about me at all. It's not about my comfort or convenience.

I've watched many run when things got hard. I don't always agree with how things are handled. I get frustrated at surface level conversation. I crave something deeper. I would've loved to be a part of the first church in Acts. 

The Lord is breaking me, y'all. He's showing me who He is and how He didn't run when things got hard. How steady He was. How He refines in the fire. How He wants to use me to help build a church that is more like Him, despite its current condition. 

In church,
-disunity bothers me- what are we doing to reconcile with one another?
-trendiness concerns me- how are we setting ourselves apart?
-each one of us is accountable to the Lord, ourselves and others- how are we being intentional with one another? how are we being intentional in our time with the Lord? 

Our spiritual growth is our responsibility, not the pastor's. 

The Gospel is enough. The Lord doesn't need our cliches, trends or convenience to make His truth cool. Others will be drawn to our love for another, our authenticity, our joy in the sorrow and hard times. What does it mean to look like Jesus? And how are we striving for that daily? 

So please stop pointing fingers and blaming others for the way things are... The power is ultimately within us to make our churches a place where "awe comes upon every soul." (Acts 2:43) 

It’s the broken hearts that find the haunting loveliness of a new beat — it’s the broken hearts that make a song that echoes God’s. -Ann Voskamp 

Brokenness brings people together. Hard times tend to create community. But maintaining community takes work and effort. So let's start having these messy conversations about our brokenness, the things that make us uncomfortable, the things we like to keep hidden. And since when did church become competition? Us vs. them, him against her...

Helloooooo,.. We are all on the same team.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:23-25)

Let us be kind.
Let us be gentle.
Let us be real. 
Let us be Jesus to those around us.

Struggle well and carry one another. Rejoice in how the Lord is faithful. 
Perhaps if we strive for these things, we will then begin to see glimpses of His kingdom come. 

side note: I've been listening to this song on repeat. Enjoy! (thanks Julielle for sharing it with me!)