Imagine Your Church

church

Imagine your church….Not the building, the parking lot, the activities or programs. Just the people.
Whether there are 50, 100, 500, 5000.Imagine people living in a world of sin and rebellion, suffering and pain. A world where over three billion men, women, and children survive on less than two dollars a day, and a billion of those people live in absolute poverty,  where millions are starving and dying of preventable diseases. A world where billions of people are engrossed in false religions,  and around two billion of them have never even heard the gospel. They are all literally billions of people on a road that leads to eternal hell-suffering that will never, ever, ever end.
But you and the people in your church have been transformed by the gospel of Christ.
You know that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save people from their sins.
You know that He alone can satisfy people’s souls.
Your will abandoned to His ways, longs to be His witness throughout the world.God has banded you together as brothers and sisters in a local church with a global commission: (Matthew 28) make disciples of all nations.God has filled every single one of you with the power of His own Spirit to enable each of you individually and all of you collectively to reach the world with the gospel.

If you had nothing but people-no buildings, no programs,  no staff, and no activities and you were charged to spread the gospel to the whole world…
Where would you begin?

Would you start by pooling your money together so that you could spend millions of dollars on a building to meet in?

Would you get the best speaker, the greatest musicians,  and the most talented staff in order to organize presentations and programs that appeal to your families and children?

Would you devote your resources to what is most comfortable, most entertaining, and most pleasing to you?

If we really believed God’s word and were honestly looking at God’s world, I don’t think we would do these things.If we recognized that there are billions of people without the gospel, millions of people starving without food and water, we would probably not say
“Lets spend millions of dollars building a house of worship.”

In fact the Bible does not tell us to build houses of worship.
Instead the Bible says that we as God’s people are the houses of worship.
It never tells us to build a place for people to come to us; instead, the New Testament commands us to give our lives going to people.
If we really believed the Bible we wouldn’t limit ministry to a team of ministers who lead the church. Instead  since every single person in the church is equipped by the Spirit of God for the purpose of ministry, we would all go.

Every single one of us.

We would scatter as rapidly as possible to make the gospel known to as many as possible.

It would be difficult.

So even as we scattered,  we would come together periodically, the purpose being not to sit in a class, or enjoy a show, but to share our lives-to share the hurts and joys we are experiencing as we spend our lives spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth

Encouraging one another

Teaching one another

Worship with one another

Giving to one another

Sacrificing  for one another

And then we would scatter again to make the gospel of Jesus known to more people.

We would do this week after week and year after year, and we would not stop until the Good News of Jesus spread from our houses to our communities to our cities to the nations.

This is a portrait of the church in its inception. Twelve men responded to a life-changing invitation:

“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”

They watched Jesus, listened to Him, learned how to love, teach, and serve others the way He did.

Then came the moment when they saw Him die on a cross for their sins, rise three days later and then command them from a mountainside to
“Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20

Not long after they gathered together in a small group, about 120 in all and waited.
True to His promise Jesus sent His Spirit to every one of them,  and immediately they began proclaiming the gospel.
In the days to come, they scattered from Jerusalem, to Judea to Samaria to the ends of the earth,  and within one generation, they grew to over four hundred times the size they were when they started..

No extravagant buildings

No entertaining programs

Gifted leaders?

Sure.
But the spread of the gospel in the book of Acts took place primarily because ordinary people empowered by an extraordinary presence were proclaiming the gospel everywhere they went.
The Good News of Jesus spread not through extravagant preachers, but through everyday people whose lives had been transformed by the power of Christ.

House to house, in the marketplace and shops along travel routes, leading people to faith in Jesus on a daily basis.

Followers of Jesus were fishing for men and women.
Disciples were making disciples.

The great commission was not a choice for them to consider, but a command for them to obey.
And though they faced untold and unthinkable persecution,  hey experienced unimaginable joy as they joined Jesus in the advancement of His kingdom.
I want to be part of a movement like that.
From the book Follow Me by David Platt

I believe this is what the Lord Jesus is calling all of us to.

Not religion, not entertainment, not more and better programs, bigger extravagant buildings, but calling us to be the church.
Self-denying, Spirit empowered disciples of Jesus. Willing to give all to be fishers of men, and spread the Good News to the ends of the earth.
Are you ready?

 

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About messagefromthefield

“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”. I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. I believe everyone has a story to tell and more than we know, we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full. “ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”. ( 1 Corinthians 13:12). My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been. I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten. I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis. I remember the Civil Rights movement a time of great unrest and change. The dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that would lead me as Bilbo Bagging in the Hobbit wrote “there and back again” ( ironically the Hobbit was published on September 21st 1937 the same day as my birthday although not the same year). On that October day in 1978 when I was miraculously and wonderfully saved it would naturally follow that I would take that love of music and use it to serve the One who created music. But that is a story for another time. If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad. One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather. One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness. All part of a story that has had many twists and turns. I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs "As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles" And so it is true for me. But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed. The place where my story ends and the story that goes on forever begins! I love these words that will keep me going through good days and bad, ever headed to that place where the Spirit and the Bride even today says "Come". And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.... and the promise for all who follow Him " I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns". Philippians 1:6 My hope is that as we all run our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written. And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you. Further up and further in!
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6 Responses to Imagine Your Church

  1. Pingback: Imagine Your Church | scotterit

  2. ptl2010 says:

    ChristianBlessings is not a church building but a body of believers, has been and is involved from Singapore in
    – sending Bibles in the local languages to Senegal, Pakistan, Myanmar, Cambodia
    – teaching the Word in the orphanages of Myanmar, in installation of water filtration systems for the orphanages and a Jacob’s well in a Buddhist community, and we are there in prayer and support of Bible school students.
    -sponsorship of free tuition centers for poor students in a Nepal village and in the distribution of Nepali Bibles and church-planting and discipling in the villages of Nepal.
    – sponsorship of security infrastructure required for a Christian school in Pakistan to remain as a beacon of the gospel to preempt young jihadists and to train children in the ways of the Lord.
    – sending the Word and encouraging the body of Christ via internet through ChristianBlessings.

    We thank the Lord for the challenging opportunities we have been presented and for the prayers with worldwide support, and financial support from the Singaporean friends who have responded with the blessings the Lord has blessed them with. We praise and glorify God for His faithfulness and the satisfaction of being a part in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

    Pray for and with us as we speed the Light wherever hungry souls are found. Let us be found faithful.

    Thank you readers for your participation in ChristianBlessings.

  3. Always felt the church was Christ’s congregation of believers , the body of believers in all of history. I certainly do not accept Roman Catholic that their church is the “exclusive church or true church” of Christ.

    • Yes. The apostle Paul was clear that we are all past, present, and future members of the body of Christ, the ekklêsia, assembly of the saints. A living, breathing, active expression and continuation of the work of Christ (Matthew 28) on earth.
      I am struck by how symbolism the church “building” has replaced the church “body”.
      Thanks for your comments!
      Peace,
      Cliff

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