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Four walls dont make a Church

So man, it has been a while since I have actually tried to sit down and explain what is going on in my head, but more importantly what is going on in my heart and put it into words. I would be lying to say that nothing was happening deep inside my chest.

The feeling I have is one we all have experienced as a child or maybe even an adult.  You know when you get that new toy, the one you have been waiting on for a while, or you get the new car you have always wanted, or the new house (which is currently where I am at). The feeling that overtakes you in these events is one of extreme pride, one that makes you want to tell everyone about it and show it off to as many people as you can.

This is where I am. No I don’t want to tell you about my new home, although I am very excited about it and eager to get into it, but this is far greater than a home or a new toy even a new car.  This is a feeling of God doing some major changing in my heart, remodeling if you will.

Take for instance when you are remodeling a new house what is your goal? Pick one of the following 

  1. Leave everything the same and just say you have remodeled.
  2. Tear down and remove everything you think is keeping your house from its full potential.

Ok so which one did you pick? 

If you picked number one you clearly are not remodeling your house. Your actions are not backing up your words. However if you picked number two then you are doing some work to your house to improve its potential. I used this example to illustrate to you what I feel God is doing in my heart, He is tearing down and removing everything that is keeping his house from its potential.

This for me is very uncomfortable to say the least, I mean honestly you go and stand in front of a bunch of people and ask them to point out things about you they don’t like, at some point you are going to get uncomfortable with that situation.  Although this is not what is happening exactly you get the point.

So God is removing and revealing things in me that are keeping me from being used by him to a greater extent. I mean I was raised in a Christian home surely I know the INS and OUTS of Christianity, can you sense the sarcasm? If you have been raised in a Christian home and believe you know the ins and outs of this Christian life I believe you are setting yourself up for destruction. And if you know it all there is probably no room for God to work in you.

So this is where I am at, God is teaching me that church is more than four walls. Yeah I know what you’re thinking that this is pretty elementary, but I would ask you is it really elementary? Cause if it is then why do so many people (myself included) and so many churches get this wrong.

So let’s go over what makes a church. Do pews make a church, what bout instruments, offering plates, programs, themes, walls, roofs, steeples, membership, lights, stages, I could go on forever listing things that make a church, but the fact is NONE of these make a church. These things make a great place for the church to have and meet in, but these do not make the church.

Here is where we have fallen guilty and why God is remodeling this part of my heart. We ( the church) have place a great amount of emphasis on the things mentioned above, we have made it our goal to be the nicest looking church in our towns, have the greatest stuff and have the most members and in doing so we have created a competition among each other. Is this what church is supposed to look like? Cause if not it sure is what the World sees.

So what makes “The Church” if it’s not the building, if it’s not the decorations, if it’s not the instruments, if it’s not all the things we put a huge emphasis on then what is it.

The church is not a place, the church is not a time, or a religion or a tradition, The church is you, the church is me, the church is a body of people who have made the decision to follow Christ and serve the world. The church is a group of people who at all cost will bring honor and glory to God.

The church is made up of people who no longer live, but Christ lives in them and through his power will turn the world right-side up for Christ. Whose desire is to put others before themselves, to preach the gospel, to go and tell the world about our savior!

The Church is not lazy!!!The Church is more than just 4 walls!!!  

We don’t go to Church WE ARE THE CHURCH!!!

Why is it? Why is That?

Why is it?

  • Why is it when you start a discussion about Jesus on Facebook no one really cares, but start one about Disney everyone wants a piece…Why is that?
  • Why is it we can scream holler, raise our voice and yell at sporting events and Concerts, but when we are in church we are zombies…Why is that?
  • Why is it we can sit down and read a magazine or the latest novel for hours at a time. But we find the least amount of time for the Bible…Why is that?
  • Why is it we have no problem spend money on things that we don’t really need, but when it comes to giving back to God we are such tightwads….Why is that?
  • Why is that we say we will pray for people who ask us to pray for specific things, but yet we never really find the time to do it… why is that?
  • Why is it that the Church says “we love everyone”, But we don’t want to get uncomfortable to show them…Why is that?
  • Why is it that we say we love God with everything we are, but we are afraid to give him everything…Why is that
  • Why is it that we thing sin is only doing what is wrong, but God says not doing what is right is also a sin…why is that?
  • Why is it that we tell out teenagers all we expect is for you not to do drugs, or alcohol or have sex or get in trouble…but don’t tell them, hey be a good influence, shine the light, speak the truth…Why is that?
  • Why is it that the church is ok with letting the Youth serve by mowing yards, racking leaves, washing cars, but wont them serve in areas where they come in contact with church members or visitors ….Why is that?
  • Why is it that Most people are willing to listen when you are talking about your faith, but we really never talk about it….why is that?
  • Why is it that 8 out of 10 people say that if asked they would come to church, but we never ask…why is that?
  • Why is it that I took the time to write this down…. why is that?…. You tell me.

it’s not about us, it’s not about us,it’s not about us, it’s not about us, it’s not about us, it’s really not!!!!

The Only Thing Good In Me Is…..

Man, where do i start? God is teaching me so much, but doing it in many ways:

  • Through his word
  • Through books
  • Through creations
  • Through People
  • Through Music

But one thing i am learning more and more, as people tell me, ” John your such a great person” ” your so good at relating to students” ” i don’t now how you do it”, ” you have a big heart”. ” Your such a great dad” You’re a great husband”

Here is what i have learned the ONLY thing that is GOOD about me is JESUS.

This is hard to swallow, to think that me myself is nothing but a pile nothing. That i have no Value by myself, that as much as i want to be dependent on myself i would still be nothing good, nothing great, just flesh and bones. meaningless

the song by Ronnie Freeman, also Micheal English, can sum up what i am trying to say.

I heard someone say the other day
They’d seen in me true love displayed
Blessed by something I had done for them
No sooner did they speak those words
I found myself somehow disturbed
Uneasy as I took their compliment
‘Cause I know the heart inside this man
I know the truth of who I am

The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus
The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus
I’ve lived long enough to know
No matter what this life may show
The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus

If you could walk the hallways of my heart
And see things as they really are
I wonder if you might be surprised
Seeing faded walls of pride and fear
Rooms I’ve filled with faithless tears
And corners where I’ve stood in compromise
But you’d see the work His grace has done
You’d know just how far I’ve come

The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus
The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus
I’ve lived long enough to know
No matter what this life may show
The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus.

Maybe now you have a better glimpse of what i am learning.

I maybe all those things stated above, BUT its only because JESUS allows me to be!

Growing up life was all about me, I had to make myself look good, i had to take care of me, that’s how we are trained as the world raises us.

But what God is showing me is that it’s not my turn to be front and center, But his, and i am learning more and more each day that is better for me to be in his shadow, than he in mine. (i tried that and i failed!)

So what is the Only thing Good is me….well i would say to you JESUS and only JESUS

Thanks For….

Well i could sit here and name off many things i am thankful for just like you could, you know the house, family, and everything else that we always give thanks for, dont get me wrong those things are amazing, but it just comes natural for us to be thankful for them

Well i am feeling a little different, lol, sounds funny but the truth is if i tried to write down everything i was thankful for the list would be long, and most of the things i would put would somehow selfishly benefit me.

So i just wanted to say this…. I am thankful for the things God gives others so that they can be thankful, I am thankful for the things i cant even think about, i am thankful for the things i forget, i am thankful for the things i don’t have because God know what is best.

Call me crazy but God has been challenging my thinking here lately and really be changing my perspective on things.

Try this on, seen this guy and said “Happy Thanksgiving Today”, he was like “what? it’s not thanks giving today” i was like, “yes it is my friend, everyday is thanksgiving to me!’

God, Thanks for…..everything

WHATS ON MY MIND? (read this)

OK, so its been a while since i have posted a blog, i will try to get everything out as quick as i can.

So here is what has been on my mind…

  • New Government Health Care bill will Fund Abortion, that’s Right Abortion ” You Lie, You Lie”
  • Oprah is calling it quits in 2011, seems funny that Obama will need a running for Mate for 2012, Maybe there is more to Oprah’s Madness.
  • New Moon Has been given bad reviews after bad review, however twilight fans seem to think it is the most amazing movie… Bad taste or Blind Worship?
  • I really need to lose some weight.
  • I am Terrified of Failure.
  • I am blessed with an amazing family!
  • I do not deserve what God has given me, not one thing
  • I have the privilege of having the best students on the planet!
  • I am planning big changes in the way i do student ministry.
  • I was upset with God, when Jake told me one of his students had Leukemia i at the age of 16… still wondering why
  • I don’t want to limit God’s ability to use me for his Kingdom by letting my flesh get in the way. Prayers appreciated.
  • There is one very important relationship in my life that is not were it needs to be, i pray God gives me the boldness to make it right!

God is bigger than all the things above! i will rely on him, and lean not on  my understanding. His ways are not my ways nor his thoughts my thoughts. I may not understand why things happen the way they do and at times it can be really frustrating, But i have to have faith and believe that he has things under control.

God less of me= More of You

Have Your way in Your servants life!

How can I stay Pure?

How can i stay pure? Maybe this is a question you have asked yourself, one that i have asked my self as well. To find that the answer was right in front of me was kinda a slap in the face.

So i was in a so-called “Funk” a few weeks ago, overly stressed and easily irritated. I was thinking about life and Ministry, looking around and seeing the hurts of those around me. I realized that more times than not i am the cause of my stress, i am the reasons for my trials. “How can that be?” you say. Easy it starts with a thing Called temptation.

When we give into temptation this is were out trials begin as a result of our sin. now keep in mind there are things that happen in which we are not in control of, Like death of a family member, or friends, some trials begin and we have no control over that.

But what i have found out is this, We can control the reaction that we have when things happen that are out of our control, But more importantly we can  minimize the trials that we get ourselves into.

How is this possible?

Lets look at psalm 119:9-16

9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.12 Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees 13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

As i read this God began to say to me, this is how you stay pure, this is how you defeat temptation, By rejoicing in my word, by keeping my commands, by meditating on His word.

So remember apart from the word of God we cannot stand against the enemies schemes!

As a great friend of mine said, ” When i dont read the word of God, i feel like a part of me is missing”

May we all get to the point to where when we dont read the word like we should, we feel like a part of us is missing.

So How can we stay Pure? answer is=Read and Apply the word of God to your Life!

One Love, John

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This is my PERSONAL blog. My views, opinions and taste of music should not be associated with those of Pioneer Community Church or of the student ministry. Please be nice in all comments.