Zombified Churches: Ways Churches Look Alive When They are Dead

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“I know your works. You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1b).

I’ve noticed over the last 10-20 years or so the revival of an interest in zombies, both in kids and adult genres of entertainment.  I know there’s a popular show which I’ve never watched called The Walking Dead which employs the use of zombies in their storylines as some sort of commentary on the American condition.  

What is a zombie?  According to one definition, “A zombie is a fictional undead being created through the reanimation of a human corpse. Zombies are most commonly found in horror and fantasy genre works.”  

What’s more horrific than watching zombies on TV go after their prey is seeing walking dead among the churches. At the end of verse one, Jesus tells the church at Sardis, “You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”  What a chilling statement!  It’s possible for churches to look the part and act the part, but actually be spiritually dead.  Vern Poythress rightly says,

The essence of a church is not its programs, buildings, past achievements, reputation, institutional greatness, or formal doctrinal correctness, but its spiritual life. This life comes only through fellowship with the living Christ, and is demonstrated through the seriousness of repentance.

It’s so easy to slide into spiritual deadness while thinking you’re spiritually spiritually alive. And it’s always easy to believe a church will always be around and go over-confident.  The city of Sardis itself was situated upon a nearly inaccessible hill. The residents grew overconfident, never believing anything nor anyone could penetrate. One day, thanks to an unguarded area, a crack in the rockwall, some skillful mountain climbers took a chance and climbed at night to crush the city.  As the city grew, the hill could not contain it anymore and folks began to move to neighboring cities. In 17 AD, an earthquake hit the city.  Nothing is impenetrable.  When John wrote this, Sardis was declining into a slow death.  

But the Holy Spirit, represented by the ‘seven spirits of God’ along with the seven stars, the seven pastors who deliver the Word of God to the church, there’s always hope for a church, for individual believers, and for those who’ve never trusted in Christ to be alive in Christ. We just need to remember and repent.  Remember and repent.  Remember and repent.  Every. Single, Day.  

In what ways can the church look alive but be dead?

 

In perusing the pages of Scripture, we find ways that a church can look alive, but is really dead.  

When we become ostriches rather than eagles.

Jesus said, “I know your works” as he had to every other church.  Jesus defines our reality.  He’s given us His Word to bring clarity and accountability.  He gives us the Spirit to convict us when we stray and to teach us to go the right way.   He goes on to tell Sardis that, “You’re in a dream state. You’re living in an unreal world created by your own false criteria of what is pleasing to God.  Shake yourself and get back to reality” (Storms).

Granted, it’s a myth that ostriches bury their heads in the sand in order to hide from danger.  They’d die.  They bury their heads in the sand in order to turn their eggs, making it look like they do.  But the expression lives: burying your head in the sand to the reality of things.  

Eagles soar over the landscape with their ‘eagle’ eye seeing all that’s happening. An eagle’s vision is 4-8 times stronger than a human’s and can see a rabbit from two miles away.  Proverbs says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  While some use the word ‘vision’ to mean a preferred future, this means a vision, or a word, from God.  God has called us all in general, and the leaders in particular, through prayer and the Word to identify reality as God sees it, and for God to give us eyes to hear and see and not bury our heads like Hezekiah did, who knew the enemy was coming, but could still sleep at night because all that mattered was that it wouldn’t happen in his lifetime and he wouldn’t have to deal with it.

When programs mean more than people.  Over 25 years of ministry, I’ve heard so many say, “Well church isn’t church unless you have _________________ going on.”  Yet, Scripture says that as long as you have the preaching of the Word, prayer, celebrate the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and abide by the Great Commission and Great Commandments in making disciples, you have a church.  In Mark 2:23-28,, Jesus and HIs disciples went out into the fields on the Sabbath and plucked some grain.  The Pharisees came about and said, “you’re breaking the Sabbath.”  They weren’t, only the Pharisee’s made-up laws about the Sabbath, which went outside of what God said.  Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”  Do we make up our own laws and add them to the non-negotiable list?

When pragmatism means more than the pages of Scripture.  “If it works, do it!  If it brings success, it must be right.”  That’s pragmatism. How often do we look at how well people respond positively to something, then it must be right.  If the numbers are robust, if books are published, if publicity comes, then what they are doing must be right because it’s getting results.  If something isn’t getting results, it must be wrong. When Jesus preached the hard sermon in John 6, he went from 20,000 followers to twelve because of his teaching. Did Jesus fail?  By our standard, the results aren’t there, so he must have.  

When past achievements trump the present mission.  All through the OT, the people of Israel lived on God’s delivering them from Egypt into the Promised Land.  But they struggled with the present mission of obedience. It’s wonderful to look over the history of a church and see all that God did. Yet, our culture has changed. No longer do the generations, especially here in Denver, have an upbringing of church.  It’s not on the radar.  We may think, “If we just do now what we did then, things will return to the way they were.”  Again, programs must never trump people.  We live in 2016 and must look to the past to learn, but we can’t live there. It’s getting further away every second.  We have a present mission to reach our present neighbors, not going into the future to look at past programs.  If we look back, let’s look back 2000 years to the Scriptures!

When we’re more citizens of this world rather than the next.  I am so brokenhearted to see how Christians are treating each other because of their political bent.  More brokenhearted than the selection of choices we have is how personal it’s gotten. If a Christian hears someone is going for Trump and they are in the #NeverTrump crowd (or vice versa), then many question the legitimacy of their faith.  So many forget as Christians that our citizenship is in heaven, not here primarily (Philippians 3:20-21).

How does Christ make us alive?  Tune in tomorrow!

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Ready to Go, Ready to Stay, Ready My Place to Fill

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22 Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out. 23 At the command of the Lord they camped, and at the command of the Lord they set out. They kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by Moses (Numbers 9:22-23).

The people of God sojourned from Egypt, where they were enslaved by the tyrannical Pharaoh, and moved toward the Promised Land.  In the meantime, they encamped in the wilderness, moving only when God told them to.  You see, as they set up camp, a cloud would go over the tabernacle and they would stay as long as the cloud stayed.  When the cloud lifted, they moved.  As Numbers 9:22 says, “Whether it was two days, a month, or longer time … .”– meaning they must stay ready to move the moment God was ready.  They had to stay mobile.  They could not settle.

Christ is the fulfillment of the Tabernacle, where the glory of God truly rests (John 1:14).  In Christ, we find our rest. The Spirit comes as that cloud by day, telling us where to go and where to stay (as we see all through the book of Acts).  We must never settle into our life, but always be ready to move when God says move, and to stay when God says stay. Abiding in Christ, finding our rest in Him, is the surest way for us to know when the Spirit is moving us.

Have you settled? Or are you ready to go and make disciples no matter what?  Stay settled in His Word, rest in His grace, and go through the gospel doors He perpetually opens (Colossians 4:2-4). We’re reminded of this in this old A.C. Palmer hymn:

Ready to suffer grief or pain,
Ready to stand the test;
Ready to stay at home and send
Others if He sees best.

Refrain:
Ready to go, ready to stay,
Ready my place to fill;
Ready for service lowly or great,
Ready to do His will.

Ready to go, ready to bear,
Ready to watch and pray;
Ready to stand aside and give
Till He shall clear the way. [Refrain]

Ready to speak, ready to think,
Ready with heart and mind;
Ready to stand where He sees fit,
Ready HIs will to find. [Refrain]

Ready to speak, ready to warn,
Ready o’er souls to yearn;
Ready in life or ready in death,
Ready for His return.

Four Reasons Why Christians Will Always Walk in Fear

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Christians walk in fear–but which kind, the fear of God or the fear of man?  Galatians 1:10-12 speaks much about walking in fear:

10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. 11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

From this text, we see four reasons why Christians will always walk in fear (in ways that are both bad and good).

  1. Christians seek either the approval of men or of God.  Simple?  Yes!  Accurate?  Definitely. Think about the times in private or public that you have disobeyed God–why did you do it?  The majority of times it’s to please other people, even if that other person is ‘self.’  It’s easy to have happen, for we cannot ‘see’ God with our eyes, but we’re surrounded by others we love and respect constantly.
  2. Those that seek the approval of men are not servants of Christ.  Servants of Christ serve Christ.  This is another aspect of Jesus being enough: the only true approval we seek on earth or in the universe is the approval of Christ. Is He our all in all?
  3. Christians are saved by the Gospel of Christ, not the ‘gospel’ of men.  The gospel is not made up by men (2 Peter 1:16-21).  We are not saved by following man’s principles, but by surrendering to His Good News:  Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised for our justification (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 3:21-26).  People give us ‘good advice’ (do this, and such-and-such will happen).  Christ gives us and is Good News (I did this, and that’s why you are saved.
  4. The gospel is a gift received by revelation of Christ, not men.  Gifts from those we love are those gifts we treasure. Christ revealed the gospel!  Christ is the gospel!  Another reason to say and show that Jesus is enough!

Christians (and it turns out, everyone) will walk in fear.  Dear Christian, who do you fear most today?

 

 

Christ Preached to our Affections, and So Must We

 
Josh Moody describes the affections as:

Affections are the movement of our thoughts, feelings and will towards a desired object, person or event. An affection is what inclines us to something (whereas an effect is what results from something).  Affections are what move us towards action. … When our feelings and our thoughts are combined with a decisive will-to-action, then the internal event that generates this movement is called ‘affections.’

Many preachers fall into pure intellectualism or pure sensationalism.  Intellectualism is all content with no power, persuasion, or passion. The idea is that the Spirit will do whatever work is necessary without any movement on our part.  Sensationalism runs on sheer emotion, appealing to the touchy-feeling notions with little appeal or connection to the sacred text of Scripture.  Both swing the pendulum too far in their respective directions.

Preachers must preach with both the mind and the emotions together, working as one.  Paul told the Corinthian church:

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart.

We fear the Lord because, one day, we shall have to give an account to him (2 Corinthians 5:10).  Later, Paul says that “the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

The persuasion and compulsion that takes place in the heart of the preacher is out of fear and love of our Lord–so that fear and love would rest in bringing reconciliation between the sinner and the Savior (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  The affection of fear moves us based on the truth of the judgment seat of Christ looming.  The love of Christ compels us because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, compelling all who hear to live for Him and not themselves.

Where the Notion of the Affections Are Best Found

The Psalm stand as the largest ‘book’ in the Book: 150 psalms mostly written by Solomon, but also by others by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Each of these Psalms hang their hat on certain nails found in the Old Testament; not the least of which are God as Creator (Genesis 1-2), God as Deliverer (with the Exodus in Exodus 14-15), and God as Judge and Reconciler (with the Exile and Return).  We see from the Psalms how our heart the writer’s soul pants for God “as a deer pants for flowing streams… My soul thirst for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2).  He recalled how he would go to the Temple, shouting and singing, and “keeping festival” (v. 4).  Twice, he calls God “his salvation” (v. 5, 11). As He rescued Israel from Egypt, so God will continue to rescue His people from their enemies.

Psalm 47 begins, “Clap your hands, all peoples!  Shout to God with loud songs of joy” [why?] “He subdued peoples under us, and the nations under out feet. He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves” (Ps 47:1-4).  The affections and effusion of emotions is not happening in a vacuum, but is fueled on truth that the people of God are His chosen people from the time of Jacob on!

The point is, all through Scripture, you could never see emotion and affections for their own sake, but only to compel and persuade others to Christ.

Five Ways the Gospel Helps You Stay Strong 

 

A gospel resilience sees the momentary afflictions in light of glory to come.   

We tend to despair and lose heart when it comes to our Christian faith.  Paul alluded to the afflictions, the perplexing, the persecution, and the striking down (2 Corinthians 4:8) that Christians receive due to their faith in that which is unseen and faith in the One who is now at the right hand of the throne, interceding for the saints.

Paul writes to the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

From the text, we see five components needed to maintain a gospel resilience in your walk with Christ.

Conversion

The key sentence in this passage is, “Therefore, we do not lose heart.” Notice who he includes. He does not say, “Therefore, I do not lose heart.” Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” We, our, our, us, we. Plural. More than one. Here, he refers to the church, the people of God, the bride of Christ.

The apostle Paul did not always identify with the church. In Philippians 3, we see that Paul identified with his Jewish heritage and his ascending the ladder of the Pharisees’ world. “Circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:5-6). He followed the covenant of circumcision, thanks to the obedience of his parents, both Hebrews. He even came from the tribe where Israel’s first king, King Saul, came from. But he was decidedly conservative when it comes to the law. Any heresy against the law of Moses had to go, and he had the zeal and permission to do so.

But something changed. Paul could then say, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” He wanted to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and share in His sufferings! Where did this change come from? Why did he go from wanting to identify with the Pharisees, to then identifying with the very people he tried to destroy—and spend a lifetime suffering for it?

Conversion! He had been changed! He no longer wanted to conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed. His mind had been renewed. He renounced the old self, the “outer man.” As he wrote the Ephesians, outside of Christ, “you were dead… but God made you alive.” You are no longer a child of mercy, but a child of grace—it is a gift, not of yourselves, not of your own works, but of His work in you.

Calling

Paul’s resilience remained through his calling from Christ. The phrase, “So we do not lose heart” is the second time we hear this, the first being in 4:1. The purpose of saying this was because this ministry he had from God was ‘received’—given by God. He did not ascend to this on His own. By God’s grace, God called him to salvation, and now God called him to service.

If Paul had decided to do this on his own, then when he grew tired of it, he would move on. When people began to afflict, persecute, and strike him down, he would see it as against him, and would be tempted to remove himself from situations where he would receive such grief. But God saw him, saved him, and sent him into His service.

When Paul (then Saul of Tarsus) encountered the risen Christ, he was led into Damascus because “for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank” (Acts 9:9). But the scene switched to another part of town to a follower of Christ named Ananias, whom God called to go and lay hands on him so he might receive his sight. As you may imagine, since Paul was a Christian-oppressor, he had reservations. The Lord then told him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name” (Acts 9:15-16). So he as a Jew would go to the ‘unclean’ Gentiles and preach to them the resurrection of Christ?

When God called me into the preaching ministry, I ran for about 18 months. Why? Because I worried. What about my music ministry? What if I have to leave my church? What about my students? Would I have to pack up and move to school? Where would God take me? I love these people—why should I have to leave them? My main issue was, who? Me! And He used those 18 months to bring me through much internal clarity about my motives. He brought me to a point to where I had to serve Him or I didn’t think I would make it.

When I surrendered, I felt this peace. I did not know what was in store for my family and me, but I know I had to surrender to God’s call.

Comprehension

Everywhere Paul went, he preached that which is of “first importance”—the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After Ananias’ visit, it says that “And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’” Later, it says, “But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ” (9:22). He did this everywhere He went. Why?

He recognized that Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection were the foundation of the Christian walk.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all of the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he also appeared to me” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

Paul received this teaching, but also experienced seeing Christ. There was a comprehension to where he saw and understood that since Jesus rose from the dead, Christianity stands. If he didn’t, then Christianity falls! So him saying, “We also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus” (2 Corinthians 4:14), this is not wishful thinking.

Consecration

Paul noted, “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

Our outer body, that is, our flesh, is wasting away. There are two ways to think about this. One, is that our flesh in the physical sense is indeed wasting away.

But we can also look at this from a spiritual aspect. In biblical terms, the flesh is often referred to in a spiritual aspect as well. The flesh often means our sinful nature.

Paul goes on: “For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Earlier, we listed off all that Paul endured for the sake of Christ. These, he calls ‘light’ and ‘momentary.’ Why? He recognized that the affliction and the tribulation and the persecution were the preparation. Consider how things are now:

  • Outer man wasting away –> inner man renewed daily
  • Light/momentary affliction –> eternal glory
  • What is seen in transient –> what is unseen is eternal

The more we rely on our ‘flesh,’ the more we rely on our outer man, the more we rely on what is seen, and the more we focus on the afflictions we face in this world, the less gospel resilience and perseverance we shall have. Yet, the more we recognize the treasure as opposed to the clay pot of ourselves, the more we focus on the unseen, this provides the perspective needed for gospel resilience.

Comfort

Paul continually brings in eternity. Our afflictions for Christ are preparing an eternal comfort in and through Christ. There are things for the believer that we cannot see. But it’s eternal and beyond anything we can compare with here.

At the beginning of this epistle, Paul begins the epistle with this beautiful passage:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

Notice how prolific the word ‘comfort’ is. False teachers said, “If you’re faithful, comfort will happen in this life.” The gospel comforts those who need comforting, so they in turn will comfort others with the gospel. A gospel resilience sees the momentary afflictions in light of glory to come.  What we seen here is temporary, so we comfort one another by that which is ‘unseen’—that which is eternal.

There’s an old hymn that I just absolutely treasure:

Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder;
Why it should be thus all the day long?
While there are others living about us
Nevermore rested, though in the wrong

Farther along, we’ll know all about it.
Farther along, we’ll understand why.
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine.
We’ll understand it all by and by.

When death has come and taken our loved ones;
Leaving our home so lonely and drear.
Then do we wonder how others prosper
Living so wicked year after year?

Farther along, we’ll know all about it.
Farther along, we’ll understand why. 
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine.
We’ll understand it all by and by.

The Spirit of God helps provide the resilience while we are here, giving us the mind of Christ and understanding the thoughts of God.  This line to the counsels of heaven, along with the revelation of His Word gives us that holy perspective.

When the Tears Won’t Stop

You know there will be days when the tears just won’t stop. Loss of loved ones; the sickness of loved ones, the pressures and anxieties of life–there may come a point when the tears come and they will not stop.

A theology of tears is seldom written on pages, but are certainly written on our hearts and souls.  Solomon tells us that there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).  Seasons of life will bring tears whose reservoir comes from the depth of our very being, tapped by joy or sorrow or anguish.  How comforted I am to know that “the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry” (Psalm 34:15).

Even Jesus wept, moved by the surrounding weeping of those grieving over the loss of Lazarus–leading Him to weep also (John 11:33, 35).  Jesus wept not only over the loss of a friend, but also over the clutches of the Fall that put all of creation under a curse, whose groanings are heard by those who have ears to hear (Romans 8:18-25).  One day, those tears will be dried, mourning will cease, hospitals will cease to exist, sicknesses will be a thing of the past, a hurt will never hurt again (Revelation 21:1-4).

This life is filled with tears.  But for many, the life to come will be filled with tears, along with gnashing of teeth, due to their rejection of the One who dries the tears of today. One day all will see.  Tears come when we realize that many will never see that Jesus is enough, never recognize the hope and joy that can only come as a disciple of Jesus, never clinging to the cross that forgives their sin and reconciles they to Jesus, never seeing the empty tomb that shows that the bonds of this life are broken and the path to the life to come with Christ is opened.

For the Christian, the presence of tears comes from being in a place where you have no one else to run to but to your Dad. Praise God for His Son, Jesus, who opened up a path of mercy and grace that enables us to run to His throne!  Christ understands!  He’s been there.

And He’s here with us.

And He’s here with me.

When Being On-Mission Goes from Just Trips to All of Life

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Pastors and Leaders Gathering, 24 September 2016. Theme: “Is Jesus Enough for Your Teaching?

I’ve been to Trinidad & Tobago eleven times–but this trip was far different from the other trips.  Rather than it being an extra mission trip added on to my life, this trip was part of the mission that already existed in my life.

Let me explain.

The first few trips to Trinidad & Tobago were idyllic. This was the land of my first international missions trip, stepping out on faith for the glory of God.  At least, I think it was. Looking back, I wondered if the missions trips were for the glory of God or more for me.  Maybe both.  Either way, every part of being in Trinidad taught me a bit more about myself that I would have learned otherwise.

And for good reason.

During one of our devotional times with the team… oh, have you met our team?

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From left to right:  Stella (Pastor Roddie’s wife), Kevin, Theresa, Carolyn, Dana, Nicole, Gene, Melissa, and yours truly.  Saying goodbye at the Piarco International Airport near Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.

Every morning, we would gather around the table in the dining area at Mt. Beulah Church in Point Fortin, read a daily card from a dear lady in our church, share our takeaways from the previous day, and leave with a devotional.  With missions trip, you find yourself in an interesting dynamic. No family, no job, no school, no anything of ‘regular life’ with which to concern yourself–you’re there for one task: to plant as many gospel seeds as you can.

The danger is, coming back and having to deal with real life, surrounded by folks who don’t ‘get’ what you encountered, don’t ‘get’ how God dealt with you.  Church services seem more worthwhile and ‘spiritual’ that you may find at your home church.

But are the church services different?  Is anything else really different?  Yes.  We are. It’s amazing when you have a week on-mission, relying on Christ in everything, praying for opportunities, asking the Spirit for strength to (in our case) stand before Trinidadian children in a school to share with them some about our culture but mostly about our hope in Jesus–those worship services become more and more alive!  You see how desperately you need those times for strengthening and challenging.  The Word becomes our food!

The goal is to see all of life as mission.  My home is my mission field to help strengthen everyone and plant gospel seeds for them to bloom and grow so my children will grow up to be godly men and women. My interactions at all points in my neighborhood are fueled by mission.  When you go to work or school, mission!  Hopeful, joyful disciples who believe Jesus is enough!  Mission!

For me, gone are the idyllic days of going to Trinidad and everything being ‘magical.’ Now, I see that Trinidad was just another stop in the ‘as you go’ part of the Great Commission.  God opened gospel doors there as He is here.  The difference so often is that on mission trips, we walk through them carefully and prayerfully.

Will we do so here where we live?