Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Being the Church

I would bet that if you were driving down the road with your unchurched friends and passed a building with a cross on the top or out in front of it and asked them what it was, they would say that it was a church. As a matter of fact, most people would tell you that is what it was. Is it? No, it's a building. Lets face it, most of us that grew up outside of the church, perceive a building with a cross to be a church. We were taught that way, but why? I believe it was because there was no influence coming from within the walls of that building to the community that we were a part of and that surrounded it. We never saw the church being the church that God created it to be on the outside.

The community watches a countless number of people each and every Sunday walk in to all these buildings to hear about something, but they very rarely see what that something is outside of the walls of those buildings during the week. If we don't show them what that something is, the Gospel, they will always continue to think that our buildings are the church. How can we, as Christians, start to change the perception and mentality of what a church is to the community that we live in? Simple enough, by being the church. do we be the church? By being the community. It will have to take a totally different mindset on the way you view things. Instead of the church waiting on a community to embrace it, the church has to first embrace the community to reach it. Which means being a part of it, not apart from it. If there is a local food bank in your community, go and volunteer at it. If you have a local clothing donation place, take what you don't need and help clothe the needy. If someone is struggling spiritually, minister to them. Matthew 25:40 (NLT) says- "And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'

That is why I love calling Revolution Church home. We are not about a building, we are about a movement, or you could say, an action. A revolution in the community. We want to see a change in our city. We don't want to be apart from it, we want to be a part of it. We know that there are hurting people, homeless people and most importantly ...hungry people. I'm not talking about people who are just hungry for earthly food, I'm talking about people who need to be fed spiritually as well. But in order to fulfill the needs of thousands in our community, it's going to take more than just Revolution Church. It's going to take the combined efforts of all the local churches who have thousands in attendance every Sunday to be a part of the community on EVERY day that ends in "Y" and meet those needs. It's time to switch the mentality of the community's perception of the church from just a place where people gather, to a body of people who are among us and who care.

Revolution Church gathered in downtown Canton last Wednesday to pray for our city. We asked that when people came, that they would bring canned goods to support a local outreach called MUST Ministries who were about out of food in their food pantry. MUST is a local outreach who feed the hungry, clothe the needy, teach people skills to find jobs and much much more. We gathered in the park at 6:30pm and I was blown away at the generosity of peoples hearts as they came to pray. We filled the beds of four full size trucks with food and kept a local outreach food pantry stocked for the hungry. Amazing. You will never convince me that a building did was a church, a movement.

Oh...and we prayed. We prayed our hearts out for this community that we are embracing and call home. We are about to move into our new building (oddly enough) within the next few months and I can't wait to hear the stories of people who will walk through our doors for the first time and tell us how the people who call Revolution home met them where they were. Not in a building, but within the community. I pray that the people of Revolution meet people at a well (John 4:14), in a boat (Matthew 8:26) and on the shore fishing (Matthew 4:19), not just in a building. I pray that we are being the church and changing the mentality of the community that we are surrounding.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Fence

What do you see when you look at the picture to the left? I know the first thing you noticed was the tree, right? But then your attention quickly turned to that orange thing surrounding that tree and you probably stared at it to see what it actually was, didn't you? I took that picture today at our new Revolution Church land not because I just wanted to take a picture of a tree with an orange fence around it, but because it really grabbed my attention about our relationship with Jesus.
The orange fence was installed around that tree to protect it from getting damaged from all of the heavy equipment as we begin to build our new home at Revolution. I've seen the fence around it for a few weeks now, but today really tugged on my heart. All I could see when I looked at it was the relationship that Jesus wants to have with each and every one of us if we would actually let Him. Look over at that picture again and imagine yourself as that tree. Now imagine that fence as Jesus. It totally surrounds the tree! That fence is there to protect it from all of the bad things that could destroy it (bulldozers, people, etc.) and to allow it to keep growing. What if the tree was sitting outside of that same fence? It would get demolished because there would be no protection, right? Why would our relationship be any different with Jesus?
Psalm 32:10 NIV says "Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him." If we trust in him, he WILL surround us like that orange fence and he WILL protect us. As I looked around the property today, heavy equipment was tearing everything up, but there in the middle of it all stood that tree with the orange fence around it without being touched. Just imagine the security you would feel if you let that orange fence surround you as you went out into your busy every day lives. No matter where you work, there are always bulldozers just waiting for you to take that step outside of the fence and take you down.
You don't even have to lift a finger to build or carry this fence to where you are in life, its already been built for you and put in place. Pick up a Bible, contact a friend who you know is a Christian or find a church to attend. All three of those can show you how to take that step inside of the orange fence and get the protection that Jesus has to offer.