What Does the Church Need to Be?

keep-calm-and-trust-in-god-54I was asked the question as part of my theology class and was moved to share some of my thoughts on what the church should be. One of the most interesting thing about the church is many people believe it to be a building you go to every Sunday, and for some Wednesday as well. For those of you who hold this belief let me tell you are wrong, and it’s not necessarily your fault either. The modern church is failing to spread this belief. The church as a building should be like a competent university for us all. A place we go to receive the tools to be better Christians. Our weekly routing should be a constant box of input and output. We enter every week and receive the word, and then leave and push these teachings to the community. We need to move out as active members of the body of Christ. By this I mean we need to be the hands helping the sick, poor, and weary. The voice which speaks up against injustice and the feet walking the extra mile in the name of God.

The church is an assembly of believers who come together for one common cause the worship and observance of our savior Jesus Christ. The church should function like a strong government and be a daily dose of checks and balances. We cannot let each other move around as heretics. Nor, can we allow ourselves to listen to only one voice. We need to be the voice of truth, and be the living image of this. A highly functioning church doesn’t just intake believers, but sends them out to do the work of the Lord, and this is a never-ending cycle. It should be the goal of the church to move together towards Christlikeness. We need to win souls for Christ, but it does not end there, we need to form their souls so that they can go out and grow as a body. We should be building disciples, stewards, and outreaching hands.

James 2:26 teaches us, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” As a church body, we need to build people to not only have a pure authentic faith in God, but also enable them to carry out the gospel to the world. Millennials are the generation which is knocking on the door of faith, but see hypocrisy within the church. They want authenticity from the church. Now it’s a bit foolish to write off the church because of hypocrisy because there are hypocrites everywhere. In fact, were all a little hypocritical occasionally, just like were all sinners. The church once cemented in a Christ centered role can eventually build on some more trendy things like music choice, coffee, and cool programs, but not without having Christ in the center first. The church should be committed to the community of believers first, because if the church is not committed to a Christ centered life it’s worthless.

There are plenty of people knocking on the door of pure and authentic faith and it will be up to the church to find them and form them in Christ. Once we can trash the false concept that a church is a building we can begin to grow. Matthew teaches us where two or more are gathered in His name we are representing the church. The church is not a place it’s how we carry ourselves as a body of believers daily. We need to be a moving function of the will of God making believers and forming them to be an asset for Christ.  Bottom line folks, Christ should be at the center of this all. The church needs to commit to this, and commit to building faithful, strong, and influential leaders in the name of Jesus Christ. After all we are second.

 

Call to Action: Fight Homlessness

blogpic.jpg.png.jpgMy brothers and sisters, the month is now November and this seems like the most effective month to ask for help on this matter. Homelessness is a major issue in this nation, and for those of you who may be weary to help, I am putting up links to the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities. These are two reputable charities that assist the homeless and provide food as well as care to millions of Americans. Now I am not saying these are the only two charities to donate to, but chose them because I like most people can personally vouch for their services. If there is a local charity you would prefer to donate to please do.

“Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”

Isiah 58:7

In 2015, 564,708 people were experiencing homelessness — meaning they were sleeping outside or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program. To put that in perspective that is just short of the population of Milwaukee, WI. If you were to combine the populations of Cleveland, OH, and Cincinnati, OH it would be about the same as well. Now keep in mind as well this is the estimate of people purely living outside or in a shelter. Keep in mind there are still millions of hungry Americans, and families living with family to survive.

“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

-Luke 14:13-14

If we want to live as Christians we have to help the poor, sick, and weary. It’s Christianity 101, and it’s part of our walk with Christ. When we agreed to follow Jesus it was not just a “hey, so now that I believe were good right?” No being as Christian is not a statement its a way of life. Even if you can only donate $1 please do so. If that is not possible go through your belongings and donate old clothing or items you are no longer using. Many charities have drop boxes, for those of you with Goodwill’s and Salvation Army’s in your area contact them if you can not make it many of them have a pick up service.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?”

-Matthew 25:34-40

Below are some more links to pages you can help you fellow man:

Salvation Army

Catholic Charities

National Alliance to End Homelessness

National Coalition for the Homeless

Feeding America

 

 

 

Election or Not the Nation Remains Divided

flagIn case you didn’t know it we live in a divided nation. It’s not going to change, America wanted Hillary Clinton and got Donald Trump. It’s not going to be an easy process for him to bridge the gap, and the protest following the election is a clear sign this is far from being solved. However, it’s going to be a lot bigger than most people truly understand. Not only are we divided behind social, economic, and racial line. Not only is it within political lines, it’s also partisan lines as well. Donald Trump went to war with establishment Republicans, and the Republican party which we knew before could be dead. The Democratic Party may have come out of this in better shape than establishment Republicans could. The American people voted for a man who is nowhere near what an establishment Republican is. 2018, is going to be a key for both parties to see if they can bounce back. I could expect to see a lot of changes forth coming in 2018. While two years away those who do not support Donald Trump, this is our next big moment to make a change. For the time being we need unity, make a scene will not make our cause advance. We have to put aside what we want and fight for what we need.

This nation was already feeling the divide between racial lines highlighted by the media, the election of candidate who has been spewing a xenophobic, racist, and divisive language is not going to help. My firm belief is that the issue had already been there and society had become ignorant to the issue, but as the media began to highlight it we back more aware. While some would say this is bad for our nation, we can not fix an issue we do not see. We have to accept this as an issue and as Christians we have to continue to fight for the rights of all people. However, if this election did not epitomize this, we are not so much racially divided as we are socially and class structure divided. This is how Trump gained steam. He saw middle to lower middle class white American’s losing their jobs especially in the rust belt and he offered them hope. It’s hard to believe a billionaire real estate mogul truly cares about them, but he made them feel important again. He found an enemy to blame and he made them feel like he cared for them. Where you stand on this matter can be argued, but the bottom line is there is a divide in this nation, and we must fix it. We have people who feel like they are not equals to others in this nation. After all the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence perpetuate this.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Now you can argue that even the founding father did not live by this, we are an advanced society. As millennial continue to press their influence intolerance will continue to be condemned. This is a time for change, and for those of you who believe in the legacy that Barack Obama will be leaving behind, then this is far more crucial than you would think. For those of you who do not, as a Christian, we must unite this nation. Where does this change begin though, we will have an inexperienced fool running the nation. This will come down to the individual change we can all make. The first is finding causes we care about, and this can be locally or on a large-scale. Volunteering our time to causes we care about is not only Christian, but will limit the damage a Trump regime can carry out. Show up and fight for that cause.

You have to be the change, and this change  begins and ends with action. One of the many ways we are blessed as American’s is that our elected officials work for us. We can write them, and we can threaten their jobs. Now I am not one to put someone out of a job, but don’t feel too bad as senators receive partial pension after serving just one term. Not to mention its their job to serve you the people. So write them for the things you care about whether that be racial divide, environmentalism,  education, gun control, health care, and much more.

While it may seem cliché, but the only way we accomplish anything is through prayer. God can make the change we need, but we have to be united in prayer. One prayer is good, but many prayers united as one is far more powerful. If God see’s us uniting as one united front He will listen, while it may not be a yes right away He is listening.

We can continue to complain about the election results or we can take action to ensure the future of our nation. God gave all of skills to make a change and this will be the time for us as Christians to step up and make a change. It doesn’t matter who is president, because Jesus Christ is King. As Christians are part of the body of Christ, then we need to be His hands reaching. We need to be His feet walking the extra mile. We need to be His eyes seeing a need, and His mouth opening to make the change. This could become a time of trial for our nation, and we can not sit back and not fight for the change for the betterment of all people.