A New Perspective…from the Pulpit…the Preaching Life.

I’ve always been a part of the local church.

It’s always been an important part of my life.

For the last 19 years, I’ve been in worship leadership, from churches of 20 to churches of 2200…and everywhere in between.

But now, my leadership perspective is different from the preaching position. Every day is a new challenge. Every day, I am continually reminded and every day I see and feel the need to do everything I can to love, respect, and to a certain degree, protect the church that I”m so Blessed to serve. Yes I know, being the “church protector” is really not in any preacher’s written job description. But one thing I’ve learned in the short time (just over a year) that I’ve been preaching every Sunday (as opposed to leading worship), is that I see the relationships, the good, the bad, the fractures, the brokenness, and I’m brought into situations that are directly affected by and, in a sort of cycle, can directly affect the unity of the Church. And I seem to have this feeling welling up inside me that makes me feel like a big part of my responsibility is to do whatever I can within my “power” to help protect and unify Christ’s body, the church.

Combine that with the fact that I’m in a place where everything seems to come back to  Matthew 18, and the key teaching Jesus offers there. I remember the first time I ever really was challenged about this incredibly important word from Jesus on relationships, conflict, and the way Christ calls us to deal with each other as members of Christ’s body and as kingdom disciples.

One way Satan continually attacks the Church is through gossip…within, and outside of the church.

Guard your ears, don’t believe hearsay, and don’t contribute to it. Just because you hear something from someone who knows someone who used to go to your church and they say something, doesn’t mean its accurate!

We are the body of Christ. We need each other. The “world” is watching and sees when we are fractured by broken relationships, rumors, and by people who think it’s their place to “talk” about what they perceive to be correct about what’s going on “at church.” Church is People. Let’s love each other, serve each other. You want to know one reason the church finds itself in our current situation? When people look at us, they see people bickering, gossiping behind each other’s backs. Is that the kind of reputation Christ’s body is deserving of? Is that the type of Church that can make a difference in a community?

Be the difference you wish to see in the Church.

Fracture, Unity, and “Tradition”

While it’s absolutely true that we in America have NO real concept of what it means to be persecuted as Christians, or as churches, what it means to experience religious persecution, I think it’s startling at just how often we hurt each other and ourselves and our brothers and sisters within the church. We allow Satan to have a field day attacking us, taking us “off message” by getting all worked up over things that just don’t’ matter in the grand scheme of things…

Just in the last few days, I’ve heard of fractures and divisions that have led to members of the body of Christ wishing failure and hurt on another congregation just because they “didn’t get their way.”

And we wonder why people are tired of “the church” or why people consider Christians to be hypocritical.

I have my share of failures, sin, and lots of baggage. But that’s NO excuse for any of us to EVER attack the Church…Christ’s bride…Christ’s body, Christ’s witness on earth to the world…a part of Christ’s incarnation to help make life on earth more like it is in heaven.

It would also do us well to do a better job defining what’s sacred, what’s a sacred cow, what’s biblical, what’s tradition, and what’s traditionalism. As Jaroslav Pellikan once said, “Tradition is the living faith of the dead. Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.” Those are Two VERY different things.

Maybe a little “Fiddler” would help us remember the difference?