My pray for you and for myself is that we can build the Kingdom of God together. Jesus is the most extraordinary man to ever live and his message is flat out amazing and almost unbelievable but his way of living is even better. His message is what is going to free us to live his way. His message is not the end but rather the means to the end, which is a right relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and thus with all of creation. How Jesus lived is how we will live in the end. For far too long Christians have been stuck on the message rather than the way, but the message becomes foggy when the way is not witnessed. When we examine the life of Jesus we find him eating with sinners and strangers, doing life with people, and offering hope, encouragement, and healing where most needed. Jesus constantly teaches his disciples and others that if they want to be first they must be servants of all but then at the end of his time on earth he tells them they are no longer his servants but his friends. There seems to be a progression from subordinate to a responsible peer. And it is this responsible peer that is finally released into the world to make new disciples.
What we often find when we examine the the extraordinary church and even many not-so-extraordinary churches is a different process: one that goes from seeker to spectator to servant (of the pastor/institution). The spiritually curious comes in the door and engages in the message being pronounced from the stage. When she decides to believe she becomes a faithful observer and learner from the pew until she is moved to volunteer in some sort of program in the church. The programs are either the vision of the pastor or the latest conference he just came from. All the new servants time, attention, and energy is directed towards supporting the church and pastors in-house needs. THIS IS NOT BAD IN AND OF ITSELF, but when it becomes Kingdom Life itself the woman is broken off from the world she is supposed to be sent out to renew. Soon she will only have Christian friends, go to Christian events, and listen to Christian music. The way has been forsaken for the institution. Rather than being sent out to the world she is cut off.
What is lacking is the entrusting of the responsible peer to carry out their own work in the Kingdom. This is not what Jesus intended for you. We need to be discipled fore sure but this should take place within the world, not outside it. We need to learn to serve but eventually our energy needs to be focused outside the church, not inside it. The way of Jesus was to go to the world. "For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son..." We can now say through the Great Commandment that "Jesus so loved the world that he sent his only begotten people..." If there is too much to do in the church to focus outside of it, then maybe it is too much. Or maybe we are doing something wrong.
The church is the community of ordinary people who live out the way of Jesus and proclaim the good news that others can too through the grace and mercy of the Father. So lets be ordinary. Eat with sinners and strangers. Invite them to do ordinary things with you and go do ordinary things with them. Be willing to listen and learn and offer hope, encouragement, and healing. Together we can build the Kingdom through the Spirit and love of Jesus!
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