January 2009

One of the things I am hoping to accomplish this year is the ability to communicate what I am passionate about without causing division. It seems that when I start talking to folks about the revolution at hand I get several possible responses; eyes glaze over with the possible concern that I am from another planet, hearty agreement that is really an appeasement, tearful acknowledgement of the struggle at hand dreaming about how things could really be, an aha moment that cause them to join the cause and finally the angry response that considers you to be a heretic at best, or lost your salvation at worst.

The revolution I am referring to (if you have read any of my previous blogs you would know) is the work of Jesus in the midst of His people today that has nothing to do with a Sunday (or any day for that matter) meeting. But it is in regards to what He is doing through His Body all the time as we function as His church serving in His Kingdom in the midst of our lives. Now certainly this will effect what happens when we do gather whether it is in mega-churches, neighborhood churches or house churches, and there is much to be said about the avoidance of temple based worship. The form is not really the issue, the issue is the heart. It is Christ’s body being at work in our communities as so aptly described in the book “The Tangible Kingdom.” I think that is where I get into trouble. When I begin to talk about a revolutionary change within the Church, I seem to be critical of those sacred cows that we all have held dear one time or another in our life as Christians. So if your livelihood, identity and purpose is tied up in conducting a weekly meeting, I guess this talk of an organic, simple church revolution can be threatening.

This revolution falls into many facets of expression and categories. Fortunately there are a plethora of books being written to define what God is doing from “The Tangible Kingdom” by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay,  to Revolution by George Barna, to Reimagining Church by Frank Viola – not to mention Pagan Christianity by Viola & Barna, Organic Church by Neil Cole or The Forgotten Ways by Allen Hirsch.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg! All these books and others are a must read for those who are wanting to be challenged to join the ranks of these revolutionaries. But what do we do with what we have read?

Therein is my struggle. I can become critical, or I can become constructive, or I can just crawl into a hole with a few other discontents and wait it out. The best thing I can do is love the Bride of Christ regardless of her condition, recognize who she is in this sectarian context we live in, and be a prophetic example. Help me Lord!

Hopefully those who hear me will not think I am judging their motives. How in the world will I know their motives anyway! In fact, I would say that most of those who are in some capacity of leadership in the Church that are serving the old institutional sectarian system are doing so with very honorable motives and wanting to give the Lord all they have and all they can be. Plus, those in the congregations are there because that is all they know so to be discontent or a “change agent” would be seen as rebellious. It’s a tough spot.

So maybe you can join me this year to not strut around as if our understanding and practical application of truth is superior to others, but serve those who are under the guidance of the same Holy Spirit, but just not where I am. You know, I don’t like it when my motives are judged wrongly – let’s be careful not to do the same. There are many of those in Christ whose love for the Lord is unquestionable though they serve in a system that is far from what God intended. Let’s find out how we can serve one another graciously and with gentleness as we search daily for the will of the Lord and follow His will with all our might.

Have you ever thought about what is would be like to walk through life raising the dead, healing the sick, casting out demons – you know be just like Jesus? Well if you are like me, you would love to be just like that, but for some reason it just doesn’t quite happen that way. (Please don’t write me and tell me why you think it doesn’t!)

My point is that we can have such an impact on those around us without having lightening bolts shoot out from our hands. In fact, I believe that our fruit comes from when our spirituality is woven within the fabric of every day life. Many call this being incarnational. We CAN be like Jesus if we just love our spouses, love our children, not kick the dog, honor our employers, love our neighbors, encourage the downtrodden and simply enjoy the details of the mundane times of life and still be walk in the Spirit.

If we can only “touch heaven” by experiencing something spiritually new, or spiritually sentimental, then we have missed the point of walking with Jesus or living an incarnational life. The Holy Spirit is our comforter all the time. In fact, prayer is an all the time experience as we pray without ceasing. Or to put it plainly, talking to God, and listening to Him all the time is more of a prayer life than spending an hour a day filling a slot in some prayer program and meeting some religious requirement!

I am constantly being corrected by the Lord to stop seeking after the ecstatic experiences in order to hear him, and see him at work, but to look for him in the mundane, and in the midst of real life experiences and events. Simply by walking with Jesus where I live, and where my friends and neighbors live I will see his hand at work in a far greater way then attending a healing meeting or worship service.

Recently I read in Hugh Halter’s blog entitled “What is Incarnational Community” (author of “The Tangible Kingdom”) where he lists several things that reveal if we are incarnational. Take a few moments to jump over to Hugh Halter’s blog and see what he has to say – it will let you know that being a disciple of Jesus is not complicated and you can be one as you go about living life.

It is so freeing to just live life and see God work in the midst of what he has for us every day.