The Hope of The World.Let me tell you a story. Recently I had become pretty cynical, possibly even jaded. I let my frustration of what I thought were the faults of The Church (big c means the Body of Christ) take me into a place that I should not spend time. One of frustration, pride, and even anger. I let these feelings drive me into a new direction for my life, but they also messed with my heart a little. In so doing, I thought about how the grass was probably greener outside the church (little c means local bodies). During this time I asked God to confirm some things to my heart, and He did.
Recently I heard a certain mega-church pastor exclaim that "The Church is the Hope of The World". There is no where else on earth that Truth and Hope reside but in the Gospel, that should be brought out from the Church, because we're living proof that the Gospel is real. Even with all it's flaws and miscalculations I believe that the Church is the Hope of the World. I believe it, and I will not give up on it.
In his book An Unstopable Force Erwin McManus writes...
"Proverbs tells us, "Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much revenue comes by the strength of the ox" (proverbs 14:4, NASB). In other words, the church would be the perfect place if there were no people. Wherever there are lots of people, you will also find a big mess. Lives are messy; sin is messy; ministry is messy. When the ox messes up the manger, it accomplishes the purpose for which it was created. We are not called to have clean mangers. The same people who make the church messy also make the church meaningful. After all, peple are what God is about."
I believe that it's perfectly fine to question activities and be frustrated with what is taking place, but only when we are living out what we say is "the better way." There is often times a great deal of talk about "the better way," but instead of living it out, we just sit back and complain about how no one else is living it out. That's what I was talking about in my last post when i said the church becomes what it is meant to be when it is doing what it's made to do! You know how the Church will start doing those things? When we who say there is a "better way" put ourselves smack dab in the middle of a local church and start living out the truth of the Gospel. It does no good to sit on the sidelines and point fingers, and it does very little good to live it out on our own. WE are The Church, and so are all those people who we are sure "don't get it."
The Church can be seen in many different places throughout the week here in America. It can be seen in house churches, communes, rescue missions, Christian Schools (even colleges), traditional churches with steeples, mega-churches, and even middle schools. I believe that all these have a place in the living out of the Gospel, and all of these places ARE used by God to draw people unto Him.
I will not leave the Church or the church. I am here to encourage other believers to seek out the lost. I am here to Love my brothers and sisters, encourage them, spur them on to love and good deeds. I am here to worship together, break bread, share with those who are in need. I am a member of the Church of Jesus that has stood the test of time for 2000 years, has loved, labored, struggled, and reformed. How could it have survived this long with all the problems? What keeps it breathing today? Christ has built this Church, the likes of which the gates of hell shall not prevail. I am a part of this Church, and so are you. Let's stop hate'n and start working together as the Church (yes all 99 of us) to take the truth to the World. After all the Church is the hope of the World.