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Archive for July, 2014

My wife and I question these days whether we should consider ourselves Christians or not. We think it all boils down to what we mean by Christian.

If being a Christian is being part of a religion that meets in a building on a particular day and follows set doctrines based on what denomination we belong to, then no, we are not Christians. If being a Christian is considered being part of a group that is basically just a different interpretation and belief from Jews, or Muslim, or Baptist, Methodist, Charismatic etc., then no, we are not Christians. If being a Christian is being part of a group that is opposed to all other religions and only accept those who believe like we do, then no, we are not Christians. If being a Christian has anything to do with religion, then no, we are not Christians.

In Acts 11:26, the disciples were first called Christians by people in Antioch. I always heard that they were called Christians because they were acting like Christ. The people there were calling them little Christ’s because of the way they showed the love and power of Christ. Now, if that is what is meant by being a Christian, then we are all in.

There are many ways we can described ourselves…believers, Christ followers, disciples of Christ, Christians. Yet, the name itself doesn’t really matter. What matters is how we live our lives. Is Christ preeminent? Are we living as one with him? Are we allowing the love of Christ to live through us, accepting others, loving others and being little Christ’s to all we meet? If not, the name really doesn’t make any difference.

When people see us, they should see Christ. He lives within us and we should be known for the love we have for him and for the love we have for our fellow man. Don’t worry so much about the label we use. Let Christ live through us each and every day with everyone we meet.

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My wife and I have for years ‘gone to church’ Sunday after Sunday. We sat in a pre-planned service, being entertained, listening to one person tell us what God was saying, and looking at the back of the head of the person sitting quietly in front of us.

Each week we sat there, not having the opportunity to say what was on our minds, no chance to talk and get to know our brothers and sisters sitting all around us. We were told we were having good fellowship and teaching, learning more about God each week.

Truthfully, we were getting so tired of this religious social club environment. We were not getting anything out of this experience, and we certainly were not putting anything into it…..other than our money when the offering basket went past. We have become tired of the religious enterprise with its pre-planned services, the CEO and board of directors, along with the gimmicks and programs designed to ‘bring the people in’, especially when we were told to go out into the world. We were feeling a lot like what our friend Kenn Bruner said in one of his postings… people “who are tired of a predictable and ‘business as usual’ mundane and mediocre existence as a Christian; those tired of sitting in a church pew Sunday after Sunday in their “comfortable and safe” place, bored to tears”.

What we are finding is that true community is believers living their daily lives with one another by caring, loving, assisting, encouraging, and building one another up. This is what is known as the true Church. It is fellow believers living daily for Christ, not a once a week trip to a building and sitting there for an hour. As Ken Eastburn said in one of his postings… “Organic house churches are different than Bible studies or small groups as to fellowship and caring for one another. Meeting together once a week to study and discuss the bible is fine, but an authentic family of God is different. It goes deeper. Coming prepared to meet the needs of others, even when it is inconvenient, demonstrates the love of Christ”.

We are followers of Christ, going about our normal daily business, living with Christ as our head….not a pastor. We live as one with Christ, letting his life and love touch others each and every day. We assemble with our brothers and sisters in Christ any day, anywhere. Sunday is not the Lord’s day, every day is the day the Lord has made. God’s house is not a building where we gather with people who believe similar to the way we believe. God’s house is us, His people, those of us who have accepted His grace. We are called to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves, not just those who believe like we do.

It has been good for my wife and me to stop being part of the Sunday morning crowd at the building of our choosing. It has us looking to God more, listening for His voice and allowing the Spirit to teach us rather than one man. It has us loving and accepting people as they are, not just those who believe like us. The Church is meant to be a community, living, loving and caring for one another each and every day. Although we have not yet found what we are looking for, we are trusting God to lead us and bring us into a community of believers he has for us. As Dan Notti said in one of his postings… “Believe God for it. Authentic community is God’s intention for believers. He has made the provision for it through the work of his Son and the power of the Holy Spirit, and He has the patience and love to stand with us as we experiment with living into it. Can we believe him for that”?

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Do you ever have one of those days when you think, nothing changes. Everything is the same, day in, day out. We get up and go through the same routine, only to get up and do the same thing the next day. As it says in Ecclesiastes 1:9, ‘That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun’.

Sometimes I go through this, and it just makes me wonder why I am feeling this way. I guess sometimes I think living for God should be some type of extra special, out of the ordinary life. A way of living that is super spiritual. Of course I know that this isn’t the norm for us. God works in us most of the time in the little things, the regular routine of daily living.

I know God has a plan and purpose for us. Although good works are certainly not a way to earn our salvation, they do bring glory to God. I think we should daily ask for the Spirit to guide us through the day, and lead us into what he has for us to do. Ask God to love others through us as we go about our regular daily routine.

By doing so, we are allowing God to do supernatural things through us when He is ready. We might touch a person in a way we don’t even realize, just by allowing the spirit of Christ to do what he wants, when he wants.

I don’t have the answer to those feelings now and then of each day being the same. I do know that being open to let Christ love through us can make a difference. It may not be us who feels any different, but someone we have contact with during our regular daily routine may receive something special from God. Something they needed, something that makes them say, wow, that was really a different day.

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