Monday, October 24, 2011
We talk a lot about modeling Someone better in the church that sometimes/kinda wants to be His Church.
Blah, blah, blah.
Aren't you tired of all the talk?
How about Him?
Look what we've done to His prayer for us (viz., John 17).
churches not Churches are filled with naysayers, nitpickers, and negatives.
Hey, I'm not being pejorative.
I'm being positively truthful; and you know it!
Start practicing what He preached/personified!
Self-convicting preceding section.
Yeah, I've got a mirror.
It's time to stop making excuses for our bad behaviors and start modeling Someone better.
Parenthetically, that's why I think too many pulpiteers/pewsitters prefer self-designations like Baptist, Catholic, Episcopalian, Independent, Lutheran, Methodist, Non-denominational, Presbyterian, and so on.
It takes a lotta guts to call yourself a...Christian.
That's heavy as in the Greek word for glory.
Yeah, it's easier - more loopholes/rationalizations/self-deceptions/lies - to label yourself with a franchise tag than true belief in Jesus confirmed by behavior confirming that belief: Christianity.
I believe that's what accounts for all of those emerging churches that can't stand the hypocrisies of the dying ones.
Younger generations with a spicing of geezers who get it/Him don't want church anymore.
They want Church.
They want to worship and work and witness like He expects/directs.
Hans Kung got it/Him: the agenda for the Church is "to discover what is permanent...originally meant, before it was covered with the dust and debris of two thousand years...This is not another gospel, but the same ancient gospel rediscovered for today!" (On Being a Christian, 1974).
Do we get it/Him?
We're gonna see if we get it/Him in our family of faith at First Presbyterian Church in Belvidere, Illinois; and maybe you'll join us as we pray and labor to love Him by loving like Him.
Specifically, we're going deeper.
We're tired of the blah, blah, blah and want to immerse ourselves into the beauty of His holy glory.
Two staff members have been inspiring my prayers about this in our family of faith for over seven years; and yesterday, during our Sunday afternoon prayer meeting in the chapel where He showed up in a very heavy as in glorious way, a revelation was resurrected to guide our desire for deeper discipleship.
Ron Rand: "There are many ways in which a church can experience renewal...[one way is through]...the development of a 'good report' system, whereby members of the body become accountable to only be a good report to others and give an upbuilding report about any other individual member."
I remember Ron saying that sometime in the late 70s when I attended a HELPER (How to Equip Lay People to Evangelize Regularly) conference at Cincinnati, Ohio's College Hill Presbyterian Church.
With deference to Ron and apologies if necessary, here's the amended version of "A Good Report Card" after the prayers of yesterday, this morning, and seven years:
A Good Report Card
In obedience to God's Word as exemplified in Jesus and explained in the Bible concerning my relationships with others as a reflection of my relationship with
Him (Matthew 22:34-40; 25:31-46), I promise to be a good report to others and to give a good report about others.
When I discover I have been an offender, I will be obedient to God: (1) I will ask God to search my heart and lead me in His way of reconciliation (Psalm 139:23-24); and (2) I will take the initiative to go privately to the offended, confess my failure, ask forgiveness, and seek reconciliation (Matthew 5:23-24).
When I discover I have been offended, I will be obedient to God: (1) I will ask God to search my heart and lead me in His way of reconciliation (Psalm 139:23-24); (2) I will take the initiative to go privately to the offender, share my feelings about the offense, seek understanding, and pursue reconciliation (Matthew 18:15); or (3) When appropriate, I will totally release the offense to God for His care and remain silent so I do not become an offender; remembering, "Sometimes it's better to talk to God about someone than to talk to someone about God."
Only if this process does not enable reconciliation - and only after I have been obedient to God and used this Biblical process reflecting God's will for my life - will I seek the counsel of others (Matthew 18:16-20).
If I violate this process and covenant as disobedience to God, I will promptly ask forgiveness from both God and the person that I have offended.
I sign this covenant because I love Jesus and want to love Him by loving like Him.
It reminds me of the older preacher who urged me so many years ago when I asked what I should preach about: "Talk about Jesus and the Bible! That'll shock 'em!"
Salt stings to heal.
Or as the old priest said to the young priest in Bernanos' The Diary of a Country Priest (1934), "Salt stings on an open wound, but saves you from gangrene."
We're gonna post this on some doors at First with signatures; and update it weekly.
It will be in keeping with John 3:19-21.
It will be a very Biblically practical accountability instrument to measure our true desire for deeper discipleship.
It will be used to guide our Nominating Committee, assist in identifying saints who are ready/called to serve, help focus our prayers, provide a framework for staff evaluations, and so on.
It will help us to go from blah, blah, blah to modeling Someone better for ourselves and others.
Talk about exposing the...
Blessings and Love!