March 13, 2011

New Spirit Church

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:03 pm by Steve

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
(Ezek. 36:26-27)

Imagine sitting around a campfire with a close friend. You talk about the day’s events – obstacles on the trail, unusual sights, and perhaps even about the trails you would like to explore. You talk about where the journey has taken you and where it may lead tomorrow. As the day draws to a close, you embrace the silence with grateful exhaustion staring into the crackling flames, quiet serenity envelopes you like a blanket. Although no words are spoken, you find you are at peace with yourself and your life.

Living the inspired life means living in moments like these. It means having a purpose so powerful that it guides even the simplest choices. It means choosing the path not because it is easy but because of where it leads.

Our lives are constantly in pursuit of a destination unknown to us. We feel like we’re late for a dinner engagement, but can’t remember the address. Frantically we try anything, go anywhere, or follow anyone who seems to know where they’re going. We’re lost and we know it. Where can we turn for help?

Engaging: I wish my church was a place where all people with all kinds of backgrounds, viewpoints, habits, hang-ups, hurts, successes and defeats felt welcome to belong and begin to imagine all God wants for them. I want to be in a church that encourages people to share honestly about where they are in life, their doubts and fears, as well as their hopes and dreams. Jesus was criticized for hanging out with “outcasts” and I want to be criticized for doing the same (Matt. 9:9-13). I believe that no true healing can happen until we’re honest about our faults, struggles and fears. (James 5:16).

Transforming: I believe church was created to see people transformed through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Church was meant to be the place where addicts find liberation, workaholics find fulfillment, and where life takes on the grand adventure. I do believe that church is a battle ground where our best ideals are confronted by our own destructive selfishness. It is where a God encounter is life changing and admirers of Jesus become followers.

Connected: Only in trusting, committed relationships can we let go of the past and risk discovering a new future. Without healthy relationships life becomes a series of tasks, but with them every meal becomes a banquet. . Our dream is not that every person knows everyone by name, but that every person know a handful of people so well that when one of them rejoices they all do and when one of them weeps, they all shed a tear. The word on everyone’s lips would be “I’m so glad you’re here!”

Poured out: When we feel spiritually dry, we’ll do just about anything to quench the thirst. I believe that belonging to a church is an invitation to be poured out in service to others. I believe the church is commissioned to fill the darkness (Matthew 5:14), quench the thirst (Matthew 10:42) and feed the hungry (Matthew 25:37) whether physical, emotional or spiritual. I pray we never stop pouring out our time, energy, talent and money into meeting the spiritual, material and emotional needs of others.

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