Hi friends and welcome to my blog, “Everyman Jack.” If you are a regular follower of this blog you know that for the last couple of posts, I’ve been talking about several verses in the third chapter of Ephesians. You may be ready to say “enough is enough” to Ephesians, chapter 3 but there’s one more very important idea in these verses that I want to touch on before we move on. Are you ready? It won’t take long. In fact, to start with I’d just like you to read two teeny, tiny verses:
“ 17 I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 3:17,18
I’ve already discussed with you how “long and high and deep” God’s love is (you can read it here), so today I want to focus on these words: “With all of the Lord’s holy people.” Do you know what that means? It means that God never intended us to go through life alone. He wanted us to be with other believers. He calls this the church and God loves the church. In fact, Jesus calls the church His bride. If you are married, think about how much you loved your spouse on the day you married him or her. I think God loves the church more than that but this is the closest approximation for his love in our human experience.
There is a mystery to it for sure because if you look at us, we aren’t perfect (though some of us are for sure closer than others), but regardless of our imperfection God uses the church to do great things. When we come together as the body of Christ, we become something more than the sinful, imperfect people we are when we are by ourselves and because of that we can do so much more.
But can we take a moment and talk about the purpose of the church? I think we get it confused because we are living in a world that is all about entertainment, so sometimes we think of church like we think of the list of good movies we want to see, but this is not what the church was created for.
I’ve heard a lot of people say, “I don’t need the church for my spirituality; I can do it on my own,” but the fact of the matter is that scripture disagrees with you.
“This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 3:6
Together, together, together. The word “together” is written 3 times in this one sentence. Do you think Paul’s trying to tell us something here? God wants us to do this together.
There is No Perfect Church
Now let me help you understand something about the church: We are all imperfect around here. You will not find a group of more imperfect people. When you gather imperfect people bad stuff can happen. We’ll hurt each other’s feelings; we’ll make mistakes; people will see our flaws. That will happen. If you are looking for a perfect church, it’s not here. In fact, when you find the perfect church don’t join it because I know you and you’ll mess it up. When we come together we will hurt each other and make mistakes. But there are some powerful things that happen as well.
Look with me at Matthew 18. Jesus is speaking and he says:
“19 Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19,20
So if you like to get in touch with God by going on a long hike, or by watching the sunset at the beach, or writing in your journal, or by listening to worship music, or by reading this blog, or that’s great but it’s not what God calls us to do.
For Sunday Sports Fans
This is a sensitive subject and I’m about to make it even more sensitive. Chad, our youth pastor, sent me an article and I’d like to share it with you. Are you ready? Here goes. This is an article called “When Ball Becomes Baal. Is your sports involvement a family idol?” by Jim Elliff . Yikes! I know some of you already don’t like it, but humor me and keep reading anyway. Note that the words in brackets are mine.
“I love to watch my kids play sports. But making that decision means that you may be out four to five times each week during the season. Soon sports becomes all about calendarization and control of your life—especially if you have more than one kid. Perhaps nothing outside of a change in your job has so much potential to turn the family schedule upside down. ‘This man understands,’ you say. Now comes the part you won’t like: ‘Behold, I say unto you, you have made sports the household god.’ Too strong? OK, not all of you. But the deification of sports is happening to many. How does ball become Baal? [Baal was an Old Testament god people worshipped instead of the real God] How does ball become Baal? Answer: When it controls you, and you give it devoted worship. It is around your god that you order your life—and you can almost never say ‘no’ to it. When the team says, ‘We need you,’ we sacrifice to do it. But when it crosses the time allotted to spiritual edification and worship, the Ruler of the Universe is often sent to the bench. In the process, we teach our children that devotion to sports is more important than both devotion to God and loyalty to our spiritual family. Have you considered that you may be teaching your kids to worship sports?”
Here’s the point of gathering for church: In our youth services, sure, we have games and fun and in adult services, I’d like to think I have some okay jokes, but the reason we gather is to gather under the Word of God and to remind each other of God’s love.
And we do this by singing, preaching, and community. When we sing we are doing more than just singing to make ourselves feel better. There is something happening in the spiritual realm. When we sing we are affirming God’s truth into each others lives. It is called “corporate worship” and it’s power cannot be underestimated. We gather and we remind each other of God’s love because, let’s face it, we all need that sometimes. Have you ever come to church when you are just beat down and craving some encouragement? I know I have. And as soon as I would enter the church doors on those days, and heard the voices lifted in praise, I felt a peace, an undeniable calming presence. Have you ever experienced that at Sunday service? If you have, then you’ve felt the power of corporate worship.
We Are All Pastors
Same thing with preaching. Here is a defense for my job: When I preach, my job is to remind you of God’s love and to give you God’s word for your life so that you can minister. “Ministers minister to Ministers so that they can minister.” You get tools for your ministry at home with your kids, your co-workers at work, and your neighbors down the block. As we say at Canyon Springs: “It’s all about the One.” And when we say that our meaning is two-fold: of course, when you come to church it’s about building your relationship with Jesus, but it’s also about giving you the tools so that you can do what God has called us to do and reach the next person and help them come to know Him as well. And you can’t do that alone. You need to come to church for that.
[bctt tweet=”Ministers minister to ministers so that they can minister. Confused? Ask me.” username=”canyon_springs”]
God calls us into his royal priesthood. Not just the pastors; He calls all of us to this. We are ambassadors. These terms mean we are called to represent God to the people and the people to God. We are all pastors and we come together to hear from another pastor whose primary focus is to remind you of God’s love. And what you do with that love is called ministry.
We gather on Sundays to Worship, preach, and have community because it is in the context of community that Christ’s presence is apparent. But the sad part is, we put other things ahead of God so easily. This week I challenge you all to go to church; sing worship songs, listen to the message, and enjoy the fellowship of other believers. Your life will be better for it. I promise. Til next time…