My Dream for the Church

I had a dream……………

…..that churches would share buildings, resources, and even staff to better reach their communities.

……that churches would not compare themselves to the church down the street.

…..that Christians would not view non-believers as the enemy.  There is one Enemy, his name is Satan, and he is much worse than someone whom does not hold same religious beliefs as you.

…..that the Church would focus on Jesus FIRST before any other doctrines and traditions.  Doctrines and traditions are nice……but if you do not have Jesus……you don’t have Christianity.  You now have _ _ _ _ _ _ ianity.  (no Jesus)

…..that we would be more concerned with pleasing God than in pleasing others.

……that we would be different from the world; however, we would not be distance ourselves from the world as “holier than thou”.

…..that we would invest in the children and youth of the church more in terms of programs, staffing, etc.

…..that our churches would be better with money.  Yes, tithes belong to God but people worked hard for that money in today’s rough economy.  Maybe we should actually pray before we make financial decisions in the church.

…..that our leaders would get along.  Enough said.

What is your dream for the Church?

Reflections on Advent-Out of this World “Peace”

Greetings friends.

We are in the third week of Advent.  This week’s theme is Peace.  I am a little behind in my writings but it is still the third week until tomorrow (Sunday).

Peace is something all of us desire but few of us find in today’s culture.  Our culture says, “more is better”.  The more gifts you give at Christmas; the more giving of a person you are.  The more apps on your iPhone, you are much cooler than your peers.  The more hours you work at work, then you must be really productive.  And my favorite one, the more you are at church during Advent/Christmas; the holier you are!! (Note: Can you sense my tone of sarcasm in the above paragraph?)

It is disruptive today to say “no”.

I am not implying that we be Grinches at Christmas.  I am not against gifts.  Or going to church.  Or iPhones.  We have an iPod and iPad in this home.  What I am against is the busyness that has become Christmas.  Just because someone may attend every special church event during this season does not mean they are benefitting from it.  Attendance does not always equate to spiritual fruit.  And doing all kinds of “Christmas things” does not equate to being close to Jesus.  However, if you are a Christian, your Christmas should look different than someone who does not know Jesus.  You should have peace and not chaos.

Peace.  Ah, where do we find it this time of year?

In Jesus.

Yet another Sunday School answer.  Yet…so….true.

If we are desiring out of this world peace, we must look to the Prince of Peace.  Peace this is of this world is temporary peace.  Temporary peace is when your children take an extra long afternoon nap.  Temporary peace is sometimes bought at the local spa or coffee shoppe.  “AHHH….this is the life”.

Out of this world peace (from Jesus)– focuses on the big picture.  Out of this world peace says “I will not lose my sanity this holiday season because I know the real reason for the Season”.  Out of this world peace says “I do not need to keep up with the Joneses to feel like I am somebody important”.  Jesus gives peace and life.

Find peace this season in not what you will do…but in how you will be…..finding peace……in the Prince of Peace.

Reflections on Advent-Hope

Advent began this past Sunday.  For those of you not familiar with Advent–Advent is a celebration of the four weeks (especially Sundays) leading up to Christmas Day.  Each week has a different theme.  Advent is celebrated because we celebrate the birth of Christ (Christmas) and we also anticipate the Second Coming of Jesus.

Hope is the first candle lit this year for Advent.

Hope.  What a perfect topic to address.

We just witnessed a Presidential Election in November.  People had hope in their respective candidates.  People had hope that…..either man could make changes.  Save issues with the economy, welfare, etc.  People had hope.

Hope deflated.

Our hope in humans will be deflated.  People will let us down.  People will move away or change jobs and no longer work in the same office as us.  People will die or they will forget your name when you run into them at the grocery store or mall.

Where do we place our hope these days?

Jesus.

Jesus is the Truth, the Life, Wonderful Counselor.

One thing that is very beautiful and disruptive during this Christmas season—-is to do some things different.  I know people have traditions and while that is fine and dandy–we must ask why these traditions exist.  Invite Jesus into these activities.  Should I do this and why am I doing this?  Some people do things just because it is expected of them.

Be different.

Look for hope.

However– looking for hope will make you vulnerable.

Being vulnerable is perfect because this is when we are most open to being changed by Jesus.  We are exposed.  Our weaknesses are known.  We will reach out and need assistance from Jesus and fellow people on the journey.

Advent season—should be a time of renewal.

Where are you placing your hope these days?